A New Look for Encyclopaedia Britannica

Hopefully, you’re all already aware of the amazing resource we have at our fingertips: Encyclopaedia Britannica School Edition. Britannica is the gold standard for encyclopedias, and its online content (available through the Applewild library website) is the perfect starting point for any and all research projects. The site has recently undergone quite the facelift, though, so I thought I’d point out a few things.

The Home Page

Home Page

It’s pretty easy to spot this change: the home page has been refined and simplified. It’s now so easy to choose a level and search from the home page. Hovering over each level reveals a search box, so you don’t even need to click through to start searching! The middle level replaces what used to be Compton’s Encyclopedia.


Tabbed Search

Search results and articles are now tabbed, so even if you selected the elementary level (level 1), you can still see what comes up for middle (level 2) and high (level 3). This is really handy, because if you’re reading the middle level entry on Halloween and finding that it doesn’t quite cover what you need, one click will take you to the more detailed Halloween entry in the high level.

Content Types

Content types

There is now a sidebar that allows you to sort your results by content type. If you’re specifically looking for images, this is where you can easily narrow your search. This new sidebar also highlights a feature that was always there, but got little attention: the “Web’s Best Sites” feature. In addition to having its own content, Britannica has curated several outside websites that have good-quality content. Selecting this content type will give you a list of non-Britannica websites with content related to whatever you’re searching.



Britannica always had a built-in dictionary, but now it’s even easier to use. Simply double-click on a word, and a definition (from Merriam-Webster dictionary) pops up.

Table of Contents button

Table of Contents

To help with navigation, each heading within the article is accompanied by a button that will display the entire article’s contents, so students can easily skip to another section.

In general, the new layout has much less “noise,” so students should have a much easier time finding what they’re looking for. All the content in each article displays on one page, so students no longer have to click through several pages to find what they’re looking for (or neglect to see the multiple pages and miss out on lots of content). The interface is cleaner and more modern, and the content really shines through.

A great improvement! Go check it out!


Everything You Will Ever Need for Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Image via Wikipedia

I’ve found the motherlode. A website so comprehensive, I didn’t think such a thing could ever exist. Cybraryman has put together an exhaustive collection of MLK resources, from lesson plans, to exploration sites, to articles, and even puzzles. Check it out here!

Fun fact: Often, we assume sites with the “.org” domain are reputable. Sometimes, people use this to their advantage. One example of this is martinlutherking.org (I won’t link to it here). It’s a site I use in my lessons on evaluating websites for bias; it’s a propaganda site by a white supremacist group! 

The First Thanksgiving by Scholastic

First of all, this is Applewild Technology’s 100th post! Woohoo!

OK, now that that’s out of the way…

One of my favorite go-to places for high quality educational resources and activities is Scholastic. Their feature on the first Thanksgiving includes a virtual field trip on the Mayflower, a look into the daily lives of both Pilgrims and Indians, and a Web Quest. There is so much here, and much of it was produced in association with Plimouth Plantation. This is a really great way to get your students thinking about what the world was like back then.

YouTube for Schools

Though it is one of the most commonly blocked websites at schools across the country, YouTube is trying to get into the education game. A new channel on the video service website curates videos that can be used in classes, sorted by grade level and subject.

The quality of the videos varies, but there are some good resources here. The organization is also really helpful, saving you lots of time by making it easy to find videos on the topic you’re looking for. As a matter of fact, the slogan of YouTube for Schools is “Spend more time teaching, less time searching.”

Take a look at this video on magnetic breakfast cereal!


Bartleby provides reference books, fiction books, and nonfiction books for free. You can browse the famous illustrations in Grey’s Anatomy, or learn about proper grammar in Strunk’s Elements of Style. This is a great way to access thousands of well-known and reliable resources quickly and easily. Since the information is all online, you can easily search the text for specific parts.


Google Crisis Response

Google Crisis Response aggregates valuable research tools and resources that can help in response efforts after major disasters. Their most recent effort is in response to the New Zealand earthquake, and features Google Person Finder, incident reporting, phone numbers to emergency assistance and local officials, and Google Earth maps with the latest data. This is a really fascinating way to keep on top of current events, and to watch how a natural disaster unfolds.


If you’re a Google Earth fan, you can also find additional maps to download and view in Google Earth. These maps include interactive time-lapse animations, trajectories, and aerial photographs of each disaster.

You can also view their coverage of previous disasters. Check out their coverage of the DeepWater Horizon oil spill, or the Australian floods.