the web as a means to an end
the printed word about to be replaced by the
computer? Of course not. Without large daily doses of
the computer, and the web specifically, will a
rewarding future pass you by? Not likely.
computers are not about to go away. They will change
and evolve in ways we cant imagine. Getting
caught up in the nuances of how to navigate the
latest version of this software or that is becoming
less and less important. What we need to know, and
what we need to teach our children, is the simple
fact that computers and for the purpose of
this column, the net are tools. Using
these tools as a means to an end is what its
The five web sites
reviewed here are just that tools.
Theyre resources designed to encourage the art
to assist in learning.
Professional learning providers: As part of its commitment to
life-long professional learning, the College is
expanding its web site to include a catalogue
of professional learning providers in the province.
While the College does
not endorse and has not yet accredited any
professional learning programs offered to its
members, the catalogue will provide teachers with an
opportunity to benefit from the services of many
organizations that offer professional learning
Forms on-line: The College is making many of
the forms we use available on our web site. In order
to ensure consistency and complete information, the
forms sit on the site as "portable document
files" or PDFs. In other words, theyre not
true on-line forms, rather, theyre
"images" of the forms used by the College.
Accessing the forms does require an additional piece
of software Adobe Acrobat Reader and a
printer. The reader is free and can be downloaded
directly from the Adobe site. We have a link on the
Colleges web site to Adobe, which includes
step-by-step download instructions.
A dictionary, thesaurus, translator and currency
converter. This nifty amalgam of search engines will
also pluck rhyming words (still nothing for
"orange"), pronunciations, anagrams and
acronyms. It also provides biographical data on
"notable citizens," Bartletts
quotations and a host of geographical tools,
including maps, facts and telephone directories.
The Art Gallery of Ontario
While an actual in-person visit to the AGO is
preferable, that isnt always possible for
students and teachers outside of the Greater Toronto
Area. The AGO offers a dazzling interactive site.
Some pages on this site require the Shockwave Flash
plug-in, software required to experience certain
web-based animation. But its free and easily
installed, making your "trip" to the AGO a
The Elements of Style
The everlasting, and original, Elements of Style by
William Strunk is now on-line courtesy of New
Yorks Columbia University. English usage can
often lead to interesting and vigorous debate.
Arguments about "which" and
"that," the use of semicolons, and how to
avoid the passive voice are each addressed here. This
site could be sub-titled: "Writing with
This handy reference tool provides a list of
"every country of the world," including
population, area, climate, religion, trading
partners, currency and modern history of each nation
listed. The one drawback is the lack of maps.
Itd be nice to see where the country in
question sits in relation to others. Then again,
thats a good reason to put a globe in the hands
of a child.
Still Going On: An Exhibit Celebrating the
Life and Times of William Grant Still
Designed to also work as a travelling kiosk, this web
site provides some terrific insights, sounds and
images of William Grant Still, "the dean of
African-American composers" and the music he
created. Still is credited as the first black
composer to have a symphony performed by an American
orchestra. There are numerous links to sound files,
as well as a complete biography of Still. Worth a
look for any student interested in music, its
history, its theory and its legends.
Brad Ross is a communications officer and web
editor for the Ontario College of Teachers. His
e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org