A friend of mine brought to my attention a company that makes absolutely fantastic interactive Web sites, many of which are educationally/academically based in terms of content. A lot of their projects use geographic information systems. It is called Second Story. When I browsed through some of their projects (Monticello Explorer and the Theban Mapping Project) and online porfolio available on the company’s home site the wannabe techy and history nerd in me was blown away.
The Monticello Explorer is an interactive, exploratory map of Thomas Jefferson’s plantation complete with 3D animation, a virtual tour and all sorts of other features I don’t know the names of.
The Theban Mapping Project site portrays the results of decades of archaeological work at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It lets users tour the archaeological dig sites and reconstructed ancient sites. It takes you into the tombs of the pharoahs, lets you watch videos about each tomb or read transcripts.
Also of note is Second Story’s DocsTeach, a site the National Archives uses to help teachers instruct using its documents.
These sites are a great teaching tool. Unfortunately for us and our skills, often the more technologically advanced such Web sites are, the more impressive the content seems.