Reference Shelf: Helping Students Learn about the Internet and the World Wide Web
Reese, Jean, Multimedia Schools
by Jean Reese, Associate Director
Education Library, Vanderbilt University
With summer approaching, this month's column takes a look at some materials for students to learn how to explore and even creating Web pages. There's also a video to teach high school students about the necessary research skills to get started writing papers.
300 Incredible Things for Kids on the Internet by Ken Leebow. VIP Publishing, 660 Village Trace, Building 18, Marietta, GA, 30067. 1998 (http://surf.to/300Incredible). 128 pp. ISBN: 0-9658668-1-5. Softcover, $7.95.
This is a little book with a lot of Web sites for kids--300 to be exact. The author's intent is to provide children with selected sites that are interesting and of value for educational as well as fun purposes. The sites are divided into 12 chapters on topics that range from sites of interest to parents, to subject-specific ones such as language, literature, geography, history, politics, and reference sources in the educational genre. For entertainment there are listings for pets, hobbies, sports, music, movies, holidays, and fun and games. Each chapter's subject contains sub-categories. For example in the chapter for parents, there are listings under "Trash on the Net," which features safety and filtering information, "Parent Time," on how to be a better parent, "Be Safe," safety tips for children and parents, and "Web Novice" for beginners to the Internet.
Interspersed throughout are some cute cartoons, but other than that there are no illustrations or photos. Each entry has a Web address and a sentence or two about the site.
This little guide is a handy reference for parents and teachers who want some "safe" sites on the Internet. For those needing more help getting started, it will be necessary to check on some other titles that offer more information about the Internet and World Wide Web.
Home Page: An Introduction to Web Page Design (A First Book) by Christopher Lampton. Franklin Watts, 90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT, 06816. 1997 (http://publishing.grolier.com/). 64 pp. ISBN: 0-531-20255-0. Library Binding, $6.95.
HTML or HyperText Markup Language sounds much more complex that it really is. Creating Web pages is a pretty simple process with HTML. To prove it, here's a book written for kids to learn to be Web authors. The author begins with a simple HTML document explaining the concept of tags and demonstrating how it looks. With some colorful screen shots, he shows what it would look like when viewed in a browser.
The book uses a step-by-step tutorial approach, making it easy for kids to follow and to begin creating their very own pages. The language is simple yet not condescending. Only the basics are covered. There is nothing about sound or animation, but images and hyperlinks are included so kids can spruce up their design.
While written for children, there's no reason why parents can't sit down with their kids and learn to create Web pages as well. Includes a glossary and an index.
Navigating the Sea of Information by the University of Pittsburgh. Media Inc., Box 496, Media, PA, 19063. 1998. 18 minutes. ISBN: 0-924580-94-1. VHS, $225 Sale; $50 Rent.
This 18-minute video from the University of Pittsburgh tackles the question of library research through a little scenario that takes place in a library. Zana, a student in need of help on a research paper, finds her way to the library where Nick, a helpful librarian, gives her a short course on library research skills.
Zana is clueless about where to begin or how to start her paper. Nick finds her staring at a computer terminal with thousands of hits on her topic of pollution. This sets the stage for an introduction on how to get started doing library research. Nick, takes her to the reference collection to explain how specialized encyclopedias and handbooks can help with background material for a paper. Next, finding some additional books means a search of the online catalog.
Nick gets Zana started but has to leave to go back to the Reference Desk. She uses the online help function to learn more. Now here's a unique help system: a talking sea captain who explains all about call numbers, subject headings, and more in a Spanish accent. This may seem a bit "too cute" to some teens.
Next Zana needs some peer-reviewed articles so she must learn how to search online databases. Nick returns to help her understand how to construct a search strategy by combining her most important terms. Finally, she has a grasp of how to navigate the "sea of information" in libraries.
The video is well done. The acting is pretty natural, with friendly and likable people. I especially felt good about the librarian's image. Nick was knowledgeable, helpful, and explained the technical information in a very easy-to-understand manner. It's also nice to see a librarian who is not portrayed in the age-old stereotypical manner.
For students who don't know what library research is all about, this short video can help pave the way. It touches on the key elements to get started with successful library research. But the price is pretty steep. At over $200 for an 18-minute video, libraries may have to think twice about purchasing this tool. Or perhaps renting would be an alternative.
Kids Webkit: The Coolest Way to Create Your Own Web Site! by Lisa Lopuck, Peachpit Press, 2414 6th Street, Berkeley, CA, 1997 (http://www.peachpit.com/ or http://www.kidswebkit.com). 64 pp. ISBN: 0-201-88675-8. Booklet/CD-ROM, $22.95.
Creating Web sites is something kids like to do. And why not? HTML really is simple enough for children to learn. This interactive CD/book package takes them through the necessary steps to create their very own Web site. Designed for the 7-to 12-year-old audience, the CD-ROM has a publication date of 1997, making it somewhat dated. However, the basics haven't changed much and it's still something kids can enjoy during their summer months out of school.
The flashy yellow pages use a spider's web as background and are quite eye-catching. In the more practical vein, they are also a bit more problematic to read. Spinner, a construction spider worker, leads kids through the Web page building steps. Various safety tips about the Internet are offered by the author in the introduction before beginning the construction of Web pages.
One thing to be aware of. Photoshop is not supported even though it is listed inside the cover as a choice for graphics creation. Choose another of the paint programs listed. And you are responsible for obtaining your own paint/graphics program; they are not included in the package.
The accompanying 50-page booklet is equally colorful and provides a visual support for kids to use as they work on their Web pages. The kit can be used with Macintosh or Windows platforms.
The World Wide Web (A First Book) by Christopher Lampton. Franklin Watts, 90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT, 06816. 1997 (http://publishing.grolier.com/). 64 pp. ISBN: 0-531-20262-3. Library Binding, $21.00.
Today, the World Wide Web and Internet are everywhere. For parents who would like to help their children learn all about this "Web," Christopher Lampton's book for kids ages 9-12 provides a look at the history and use of the World Wide Web. Kids will also learn how to "surf" and locate sites of interest.
The book's five chapters contain an introductory chapter on how the Web began. There is also a little about HTML and creating Web pages, but not enough to make children expert Web authors. Chapters on hyperlinks and URLs as well as how to navigate are also covered. The material is explained in kid-friendly language and there is nothing very technical. Most of the information is very useful and will help children get started exploring the Web.
"Sites on the Web" is a chapter with examples of interesting Web pages for children and includes a range of subjects, including museums, commercial sites, government sites. With lots of colorful illustrations, this book is a fun tool for kids (and even their parents) who want to learn all about the World Wide Web. A glossary and index are included.
Communications about this column may be addressed to Jean Reese, Associate Director, Education Library, Box 325 Peabody Station, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203; email@example.com.…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Reference Shelf: Helping Students Learn about the Internet and the World Wide Web. Contributors: Reese, Jean - Author. Magazine title: Multimedia Schools. Volume: 6. Issue: 3 Publication date: May-June 1999. Page number: 45. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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