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. The result is what you are exploring right now.
To stay current on the site and hear about developments as they happen, follow @aaexplorers on Twitter.
A Note About the Content In This Site:
Because we wanted to make a point about finding useless information even in a site which looked at first to be fairly well put together, all of the Explorer biographies here are fictional. While many of the facts are true or based on truth, many inaccuracies, lies, and even downright absurdity are mixed in indiscriminately. As such, it is important that you do not use this site as a source of reference for your own research!
Any references to outside source materials, however, are quite accurate to the best of our knowledge. Books and other print materials are listed throughout. In most cases these are the references we give to our students when they are looking for reliable information about these explorers. Links to other web sites have also been evaluated for accuracy and usefulness.
Our lesson plans have also been incorporated into this site along with an Explorer WebQuest which we use with our own students to do valid research about these same explorers after showing them the pitfalls of poor planning and searching. In both cases, again, the information we include will be as accurate as possible. All of our lessons have been tested with students in the upper elementary grades.
All About Explorers Has Been Featured In…
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.
ISTE’s Learning and Leading, August 2011 issue: Learning Connections: Find the truth about the Pacific tree octopus by Keith Ferrell.
The Bucks County Courier Times: “Site helps kids determine what’s real vs. what’s fake“, June 9, 2009.
The New York Times: “The Future of Reading: In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update”, February 16, 2009.
Kim’s Ventures in Educational Technology: Exploring AllAboutExplorers.com, July 26, 2009.
Lifelong Learning 2.0: Another Webquest on History… or Is It More Than That?, July 21, 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.
School Library Journal blogs on October 28, 2008 and February 17, 2009
teachbytes blog: “11 Hilarious Hoax Sites to Test Website Evaluation”, November 1, 2012
Classroom 2.0 LIVE! broadcast: Exploring AllAboutExplorers.com, August 8, 2009
Alan November’s list of recommended websites at the November Learning website.
The University of Missouri’s eMINTS facilitator guide: Evaluating and Using Internet Resources
Teachers.tv lesson “Teaching E-safety”