National Geographic Online

By Kurtz, Alice | MultiMedia Schools, January/February 2000 | Go to article overview

National Geographic Online


Kurtz, Alice, MultiMedia Schools


I"ated online at httpJ/www national geographic.com/

Source: National Geographic Society

Access Fee: None

Audience: Middle and high school students, teachers, adults. Note that there is a Kids' area for 8- 10 year olds.

Format: Web site with text, graphics, audio, and video.

System Requirements: A computer with modem, sound and video cards, and a fast Internet connection. A 4.0 browser or greater is needed for some segments.

Description: National Geographic Online is a huge site that offers a cornucopia of information, including excerpts from its latest magazines and video and audio clips from its National Geographic Explorer television program.

Teachers can find lesson plans for geography, as well as interactive expeditions to enhance classroom topics. Users can search an index of publications and the main Society library. A site menu allows quick access to nine

areas: Interactive Features, Maps, Photography, News, Kids, Education Forums, Live Events, Exhibitions, and a shop for online purchases of Society publications and videos.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The site loaded in a reasonable time. All areas were easy to access. Installation/Access

Rating: A

Content/Features: This ever-changing comprehensive Web site offers a host of opportunities to discover indepth information about various topics covered in National Geographic publications and on the National Geographic Explorer television program, The highlight of the site is the Interactive Features area that covers a wide spectrum of information, including biographies of important figures such as Jane Goodall, details of archeological discoveries, examinations of world locales, and topics that support social studies curricular areas.

The Underground Railroad feature offers students the opportunity to choose whether to "follow the North Star" or remain on a plantation in the South. Each choice brings a different page of information about the trials of runaway slaves or the tribulations of slaves who chose to stay where they were.

The Interactive Features segments were developed from 1996 to the present time. Each month, several of the features are highlighted on the home page. At the time of this review, a 1997 feature on the Salem Witch Trials and a new feature on Alaska were in the spotlight.

The site's maps require a 4.0 browser or greater, but offer a rich array of physical and political information for viewing or printing. Students can also access star charts, a biodiversity atlas, and images from the Hubble telescope.

A News section offers recent world science information, such as the latest dinosaur discovery The Photography area provides pictures and links to photographic images, as well as links to articles about the photos. At the time of this review, a photo essay on Voodoo was highlighted.

The Kids section offers younger users diverse information, such as a tour of the White House, habitat investigations, and other interactive opportunities. In this area, unfortunately, the reviewer ran into quite a few script error messages. …

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