E-Resource Feature Focus: Humanities

July 20, 2010 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Each month, the Kong Chian Library Club will feature the online e-resources available to teachers and students at Hwa Chong Institution, grouped by academic subject. The aim of such a feature focus is to shine attention on the variety of resources available in order to increase exposure and usage. This month features an additional review (the first concerned Biology), and will pertain specifically to Humanities e-resources.

World and I (login required) features four areas of primary interest: Social Studies, Language Arts, Science and the Arts. The site contains articles of a wide variety, ranging from Economics and Education in the Social Studies category to Worldwide Folktales and Poetry in Language Arts. The articles are numerous and rich in information, and reward patient and critical reading; those texts that may be dense in meaning challenge the reader in one’s interpretation, and encourage one to slow down and concentrate to gain understanding. For those hoping to navigate the plentiful number of articles in each topic, the site has kindly organized the articles into different subtopics for relevance.

Opposing Viewpoints deals mainly with current affairs, although several articles do touch on historical topics. The topics covered are diverse and plentiful, including those such as Abortion, Education, Islamic Fundamentalism, and Women’s Rights. The resources, as the name “Opposing Viewpoints” suggests, come in the form of articles and commentaries on societal problems or issues, and most are paired, such as “Religion is Essential to a Moral Society” and “Religion is Not Essential to a Moral Society.” The articles themselves are interesting and comprehensive, and, like other scholarly articles, include references which could be used for further reading on the subject. With comprehensive categorisation into subtopics, degrees of difficulty, article length and others, the website is easy to browse and to search in order to refine one’s scope. Many other options are also available, such as downloading an article as a PDF, which adds that extra convenience for the user that many other services lack. Undoubtedly, Opposing Viewpoints is an intuitive resource that will meet the needs of both academics and casual information-seekers alike.

Mdm Chan May Lun, one of several excellent humanities teachers at HCI, has found World and I very helpful for her teaching, and has the following to say:

World & I Online Magazine is a great site for History and Social Studies teachers. It is well-designed, easy to use and offers great content. It is graphically attractive and the particular appeal of this site is the good balance of Arts, Science and Culture information, which offers a great platform for Interdisciplinary Lessons.

The articles are comprehensive and very useful to develop critical thinking through the use of “Paul’s Wheel Activity” (please see example below) and preparation for class debates.

For example, one of the articles I used was: “Why our Vietnam Strategy Failed,” by Bruce Palmer Jr. Seven dimensions assessed from the article:

  1. Identify and summarize the problem at issue (Vietnam war)
  2. Identify and present your group’s OWN hypothesis, perspective and position as it is important to the analysis of the article
  3. Identify and considers OTHER salient perspectives and positions that are important to the analysis (the American & Vietnamese perspectives)
  4. Identify and assess the key assumptions
  5. Identify and assess the quality of supporting data/evidence and provide additional data/evidence related to the issue
  6. Identify and consider the influence of the context on the issue
  7. Identify and assess conclusions, implications and consequences

In conclusion, this is a highly usable and content-rich resource that has no difficulties in staying abreast with latest works/analyses. In my opinion, it is indispensable for students and teachers who are seeking documents for their research.

Thanks to Jeremy Yeo (3P1) and Matthew Lee (3I1) for their write-ups of the two e-resources featured above. And especial thanks go to Mdm Chan May Lun for her testimonial about World and I.

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Entry filed under: E-Resources.

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Library Club Leadership

Teachers In-Charge:
Mrs Rosalind Lee (SC)
Mdm Chan May Lun
Mdm Shieh Le-shiang
Mrs Kris Koo (Senior AO)
Mrs Wang Meng Juan (AO)

2011-12 ExCo:
Foo Yang Yi (Chairman)
Kervin Tay (Vice-Chairman)
Ian Wong (Training & Recruitment)
Zach Wang (Public Relations)
Joel Lee (Welfare)

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