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World Book Advanced

By Susan W. Hixson - Posted Sep 1, 2007
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Overall Rating:5 Stars
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Located online at:  

Company: World Book, Inc., 233 North Michigan Ave., Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60601. Phone: (800) 975-3250; Internet:  

Price: Approximately $800 per year for an annual subscription for an average-sized school.

Audience:  World Book Advanced was designed for students and educators in high schools and beyond, however the material has been used successfully by teachers at the middle school level.

Format: Online database.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a good Internet connection and any browser.

Description: World Book Advanced is a Web-based program that provides students with a variety of research tools, including access to a large collection of primary documents, encyclopedia articles, and multimedia resources.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The only requirement is a current browser and a fast Internet connection. Current media players are also helpful and can be downloaded at no cost. 

Students can set up private My Research pages that can be used to save any content from a search, including timelines, graphics, and notes for use in personal research. This feature is activated easily by entering an email address and creating a unique password. All saved information is stored on World Book servers. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: World Book Advanced is much more than an online version of the well-known encyclopedia. The site includes a dictionary, an atlas, special sections such as Explore the World and Today in History, quotes on many topics from famous people, and links to images and primary sources that can be incorporated into research.

It also offers an intermediate Spanish-language encyclopedia, research tools, encyclopedia and magazine articles, special reports, tables, timelines, audio clips, videos, and animations. 

Educator tools include curriculum correlations, lesson plans, and links to professional development resources such as education associations and educational literature.

The home page provides tools to guide students to the resources they need when doing research. Users can create and save a variety of information including notes, citations, and timelines they have created.

At the opening page, students enter a username and password. The program’s many resources are organized into several boxes.

The Research Tools box includes a dictionary, an atlas, and features titled Explore the World and Today in History. The Create and Save box links to My Research, Pathfinders, Citation Builder, and Timelines. The Pathfinders feature
provides links to information organized in topic areas, a good starting place for research. The Timelines section provides access to prepared timelines on many topics or enables students to create their own timelines as they gather resources and information.

The home page also includes current headlines, most viewed articles, primary sources, and an image search feature. All resources can be printed, read, or saved.

The site includes 270,000 primary sources, 25,000 encyclopedia articles, 5,500 ebooks, and thousands of editor-selected Web sites. A lesson plan section is available for U.S. and World History.

The Advanced Search function offers a prompt-filled research page that helps students to craft the best searches for their needs. Searches can be performed by words or phrases and can be limited by selecting pictures, sounds, or articles. A Browse option focuses on specific media on the site. A Boolean search feature is included. Spelling auto check helps with student searches. 
To explore the wealth of information on this site, I worked on an assignment on biographies of famous people in history.

An advanced search on George Washington located 232 encyclopedia articles and 203 primary sources. Some of these were selected and added to My Research. A total of 25 images were found. Three pictures were selected to save for the biography. They were marked with a check in a box and saved to My Research. A prepared timeline on Washington was available; it was saved. An original timeline could have been created from the material at hand.

After saving the selected resources, I selected the My Research feature to find each item listed by category. In this section, students can read gathered information and add notes to their research. The pages and pages of information I found could enhance a timeline and make it easier to write a biography.

The only problem will be that there is so much information available that students are going to have to learn to limit their topics and become selective when choosing material to use. Each of these challenges will lead to interesting lessons. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: World Book Advanced is easy to use. After a quick introduction by the teacher, students will be prepared to work with the program’s many tools. This site has been designed to meet the needs of more advanced students and help meet state standards for curriculum and achievement. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support:  Help links and a growing Frequently Asked Questions section are available. The company offers free onsite training to demonstrate the product, however your school might need to enhance that training. 

Computer-comfortable teachers will have no problem with the product, but some educators might need encouragement to use all of the features. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation:  Where was this kind of resource when I was in school? This product is great.

I highly recommend that schools subscribe to this package of reliable resources that can be searched, read, and used to enhance student writing and learning. The great benefit of the program is that it is so easy to organize and access. The My Research feature that enables each student to save material with research notes is wonderful.

I love the selection of photos and primary sources that make the experience of writing so personal and authentic. The timeline that can be incorporated into many reports can help keep students on task. Outstanding!

Reviewer: Susan W. Hixson, Integrating the Internet, Educational Consultant.

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