This site receives over 20,000 hits per day and has been featured in several print and online publications:
- The New York Times: “The Future of Reading: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update”, February 16, 2009.
- Toni Buzzeo’s book, Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships K-6 (2nd ed.)
- Pearson Education Canada’s grade 8 textbook Literacy in Action 8: CyberSense, by Sharon Jeroski and Kathleen Gregory.
- Alan November’s list of recommended websites at the November Learning website.
- School Library Journal blogs on October 28, 2008 and February 17, 2009
- The TechChickTips podcast: “The Golden Episode: Links That Make Us Think
- Silvia Tolisano’s Langwitches’ Blog: “Teaching Information/Research Skills in Elementary School”, February 21, 2009.
All About Explorers was developed by a group of teachers as a means of teaching students about the Internet. Although the Internet can be a tremendous resource for gathering information about a topic, we found that students often did not have the skills to discern useful information from worthless data.
So we set out to develop a series of lessons for elementary age students in which we would demonstrate that just because it is out there for the searching does not mean it is worthwhile.
A typical novice strategy for searching the Internet is to type the topic into the address bar. For example, if you are researching Christopher Columbus, you naturally would look first at www.columbus.com. Unfortunately, as you will see if you click on this link, that is not helpful. Neither is www.columbus.org, which takes you to the Columbus, OH, Chamber of Commerce.
There are many less benign examples of site names that do not relate to the topic they appear to be about. While we could use many of the existing sites that make this point for us, we did not want to run the risk of finding out in a year or two that the site had new, undesirable content. The only way we could guarantee this would be to create our own site in which we could control the content ourselves.
I’ve done all coding and design work on the site since its inception. The original site was hand-coded HTML, and I created all of the original graphics. Later, I rebuilt the site using Drupal to ease updating of information and adding new content. I found Drupal to be difficult to maintain, however, and the latest iteration was constructed in WordPress using a custom theme built on Canvas by Woothemes.