Sites for serious (and not so serious) study


Education Network Australia
This portal site covers a huge range of educational resources for Australians. You’ll find information on all types of training — from school to vocational — as well as links to a vast variety of education sites.
This directory/kids search site is easy to use and offers resources for kids of all ages. There’s also good coverage of hobbies.

Piano on the Net
Although this isn’t, strictly speaking, an education site, learning a musical instrument can be a great way to stretch the mind. Piano on the Net hosts many lessons to get you started. All you need is the piano!

Ancient and Modern Olympic Sports
With the Olympics due to be held in Athens this year, the games are sure to be a topic in the classroom. This site was created for the Atlanta games in 1996, so it’s a little old, but the tour of the ancient site is interesting, as are the comparisons between the modern and ancient sports.

The Children’s LiteratureWeb Guide
This site has resources for everyone — kids, teachers and parents — for reading. It also lists awards for children’s books around the world, which could be a good method for finding new reading material.

Fact Monster
Although a little overly American, this colourful site is a useful stop on the Net for kids. Skip the US history stuff and go to the more relevant sections like the maps and encyclopedia.
Nearly everyone will find a use for this dictionary site. It has the regular word meanings plus a host of specialist dictionaries and glossaries.

Kids Health
This colourful and cleanly-designed site has dedicated sections for parents, kids and teenagers, with articles of interest to each group.

Periodic Table of the Elements
Here’s a site that will come in handy for science students: a clickable table of the elements. Click on one and you’ll open a page with details on the element, such as history, properties and usage as well as essentials like atomic number and atomic weight.

Countries of the world
Whether it’s a geography assignment or a project on different cultures, sites that detail various nations are useful starting points. Aussie kids won’t be able to visit the Canton (in the US) library in person, but the site offers loads of help on various countries ( has news from around the world as well as details on flags, national anthems and country profiles ( For details on different cultural holidays go to the multicultural calendar at

Are your young ’uns in love with dinosaurs? This site profiles over 300 known dinosaurs — you can even listen to how their names are properly pronounced (good one for parents hoping to look knowledgeable).

The Official Spot Website
Most parents of young kids will be familiar with Spot and his cheerful stories and videos for small children. This Web outpost has lots of fun, simple games (Shockwave) and activities that extend Spot’s domain.
Trick your kids into learning by getting them to play games! This site has games for many skills, including maths, memory and vocabulary. Some of them are trickier than others so it may pay for mums and dads to see which are suitable for smaller children.

Nova Online Medieval Siege
This site accompanies a TV program that recreated a medieval weapon, the Trebuchet — those big slingshot contraptions used to battle castle walls. As well as info on the project, the site has details on life inside a castle and a Shockwave game to create your own Trebuchet based on the lessons learned in the project (physics in action!).

The Official Roald Dahl Website
Roald Dahl books are beloved by children, who are drawn to the author’s dark, messy sense of humour. This site is a little painful (with buzzing cartoons flying everywhere), but has some interesting info for fans, including a great biography.
This site groups its links under topic areas (horse crazzzzy, fun food, etc.) so kids can explore an issue of interest using some vetted links. Some of it is getting a little long in the tooth and some is a bit American, but it’s a supremely easy way to find some sites on a topic of interest.

Questacon on the Net
This site, from the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, has science stuff for young kids as well as teenagers and teachers. There’s a lot here, but sometimes it can be tricky to work out what the front page links will take you to.


The Ancient Greek World
Students of ancient Greek history will find this site worth a visit. There are sections on various essential topics like economy, daily life, and religion and death. The site is run by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in the US.

World War I Trenches on the Web
This site is not the easiest to navigate (keep scrolling!) so we suggest you start at the library page ( Here, you can look at the who, what, when and where of the Great War, as well as search multiple sites.

Jane Austen Information Page
What this site lacks in graphics (it’s very plain jane, no pun intended), it makes up for in information for Austen readers. There’s lots of serious stuff for study (hyperlinked texts, for example) as well as some fun stuff like a ‘photo’ of Jane Austen lounging by a Hollywood poolside, from Entertainment Weekly.

The Dickens Page
As well as links to Charles Dickens e-books, this site will point you in the direction of all sorts of Dickens information. Many of the links focus on Dickens himself, his work and understanding the environment in which the books are set.

Guide to Grammar and Style
Although it often seems that grammar isn’t particularly emphasised at school, teachers do notice when you’ve gone really astray. To get to grips with the basics, take a look at this site (good for parents, too, checking over English assignments!).

Theban Mapping Project
Take another step into the ancient world — this time to Egypt. This site chronicles the attempt, started in 1978, to create a comprehensive archaeological database of Thebes. The Valley of the Kings is a treasure trove for archaeologists, and this site makes it easy to get a glimpse of the riches (it’s ultra-detailed).

Guide to Writing a Basic Essay
Here’s another one for your writing assignments: a primer on essay writing. It’s a step-by-step guide to working out what you’re going to say and then structuring your essay. The sample given clearly demon-strates the points discussed.

A Guided Tour of the Visible Human
The Visible Human Project, which runs this site, has generated over 18,000 digitised sections of the body — so you can really come to grips with anatomy! Some of the cross-sections have clickable summaries so you can delve deeper into the information.

Take a Challenge
This maths site would suit younger high school kids. There are sets of cute challenges to get you thinking and number problem-solving. There’s also a section on families, with information for parents.

Don’t buy it!
It’s never too early to help kids under-stand how advertising works — and that they shouldn’t always trust what they read on packets or see in shops. This colourful site looks at how advertising tries to convince you to buy, buy, buy!

Human Genome Project Information
Although this project to identify all the approximately 30,000 genes in human DNA ended in 2003, it has loads of information on gene science. You’ll find basics as well as more advanced topics like ethics at this site — on one of the biggest scientific developments of recent times.

Tips for parents: who’s watching your kids?

If the Web can be a dangerous place for responsible, savvy adults, imagine the risks for children. Here are several tips to ensure that your kids surf safely.

Set limits: restrict your child’s time online, and be familiar with sites they visit. Consider using a tool that filters or monitors your child’s Internet use, especially if you have younger children. Many ISPs let you set parameters for online activity — ask your provider about such services.

Talk to your kids about the Internet’s dangers: if they are old enough to surf the Web on their own, explain that people online aren’t necessarily who they say they are. Never allow them to arrange a personal meeting with someone they meet online.

Teach them not to share personally identifiable information: tell children never to give out their last name, address, or phone number, or the name of their school, for example. Also, never allow them to e-mail or post a photograph of themselves online.

Teach kids never to open e-mail file attachments: most viruses and worms propagate that way and may be sent inadvertently by people you know. If you expect something via e-mail, scan it for viruses before opening it, to be safe. Instruct kids to tell you or a teacher if they receive a file or a Web page that they’re uncomfortable with.

Monitor instant messaging and chat rooms: know who your kids are IMing with. Limit or monitor the chat rooms they can access; tools such as Net Nanny can help.

Regularly check your children’s PC for new programs: popular file-sharing applications and the like often come with adware or spyware, which may collect and then report information about your kids’ surfing habits. A program such as Ad-aware or Spybot Search & Destroy (see the cover CD) can eliminate these unwanted apps.

Skim the privacy policies of sites your children often visit: glance through the text to see what information the site collects, and with whom it shares that data.

- Anne Kandra and Andrew Brandt

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Deanne McIntosh

PC World
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