Site seers

12th March 1999 at 00:00

Here's a fine example of academics using the Internet to create a new "virtual community".

In this case, it's a community of classics teachers in the US who, with a little help (well, $190,000) from the National Endowment for the Humanities, have developed this treasure-chest of resources for teaching Latin and Roman culture.

The site, say its creators, is "to some extent" modelled on Rome. It is certainly well populated. Here, the letters of Pliny the Younger (in Latin and English); there, a database of hundreds of Roman images.

There seems to be a regular supply of new material, and plenty happening on and around the site. Not bad for the devotees of a supposedly dead language.

Department for Education and Employment:

For what should be the mothership of British educational websites, this is rather a cheerless place. The DFEE has ditched the old family-friendly design in favour of this utilitarian dispenser of operational information.

The aim, presumably, is to enable hard-pressed teachers to keep up to speed on the latest guidance from on high with the minimum of fuss. No more distracting purple backgrounds, no more attempts to divert teachers, students and parents. Everything is now lumped under one enormous index. The sheer volume of information is breathtaking. Here are consultation documents, performance tables, publications lists, and (at last!) up-to-date press releases.

Bill Hicks,

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