Authentic Assessment Toolbox: In his introduction to this useful site, psychology professor Jon Mueller presents two arguments. First, he claims that our current educational system fails to teach the need for critical skills for success in the 21st century. Second, he posits that the reason for this is, at least partially, due to confusion about how to assess those skills. The website is an answer to that confusion. Here educators will find Mueller’s program of Authentic Assessment. Readers may like to begin with the first three sections of the site, “What is it?,” “Why do it?,” and “How do you do it,” before moving onto sections that explain such topics as Standards, Rubrics, and Tasks. Throughout the site, Mueller makes a genuine attempt to provide both a philosophical backdrop for his assessment techniques and the sorts of down-to-earth tools that educators can easily use in their classrooms.
Center for Genomic Gastronomy: The Center for Genomic Gastronomy thinks of itself as “an artist-led think tank that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems.” As such, it hopes to provide readers with information about food controversies, offer alternatives to our culinary cultures, and “imagine a more just, biodiverse, & beautiful food system.” The site has a youthful, tech-savvy feel. Here readers will find lectures about food politics (under the Talks tab), tracts dedicated to “experimental eating” and other tropes (under the Texts tab), and a backlog of hundreds of Blog entries that outline the activities of the Center, from presentations in Moscow to hosted dinners in Sausalito. For readers who are fascinated by the cutting edge of food culture, the Center for Genomic Gastronomy is worth exploring.
Data Snapshots: Reusable Data Maps: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate education site provides “timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate” in order to “promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events.” While NOAA provides a wealth of information on its site, the Maps & Data section is unique for its visual representations of complex patterns. Here readers will find continually updated maps of the United States, including depictions of average monthly temperatures, temperature outlook, severe weather climatology, and a drought monitor. The color-coding makes interpretation relatively easy, while the explanations that accompany each map fill out the story of what is happening around the nation. Readers will also find four data-related sections (Data Snapshots, Dataset Gallery, Climate Data Primer, and Climate Dashboard), each of which explicates the interpretation of climate data from a different perspective.
Medical Dictionary: Comprehensive Medical Terminology Search: While this visually simple service leaves something to be desired in terms of aesthetics, it is a powerful tool for readers who may sometimes find themselves befuddled by the multitude of terminologies in the medical world. Readers who have a confusing medical word or phrase that they want to understand may simply type or paste it into the search box. For instance, entering “kainic acid” returns the explanation that this substance is “a glutamate analogue that exhibits powerful and long-acting excitatory and toxic activity on neurons.” The search engine also allows readers to select “fuzzy search” when they are not certain how to spell a term. This activates an Internet-wide search that clarifies the search. In addition, readers may scout the dictionary by letter, which can make for hours of entertainment as one scrolls through definitions of C factors, C fibers, C genes, C group viruses, and so on.