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Tripping the light fantastic;Geography;Cover feature

3Schools are connecting to the National Grid for Learning and teachers are being trained, but what software, materials and support will be out there for them? George Cole investigates the role of good content for the cyberschool generation, followed by a subject-by-subject stock-check

On the face of it, there is a lot of good geography content around, both on CD-Rom and on the Internet. But Dave Hassell, chair of the Geographical Association's IT Group, concedes there are gaps: "We need more information on Third World countries and better access to data. Geographers like up-to-date information." Another problem is that many sites are not designed for teachers, and issues such as copyright mean that good content, like detailed maps, is hard to get hold of or use in the classroom.

There is also a shortage of multi-mapping software, and Dave Hassell would like to see publishers releasing cut-down programs: "It would be good to see small programs that illustrated how something worked, like rainfall or diffusion or plate tectonics. Something that went just a little further than a straight simulation." There is also a lack of good graphing software: "It would be nice if you could mix bar charts and line graphs, so that you could show say, rainfall and temperature together," he says.

10 websites

Virtual Teachers Centre

Staffordshire Learning Net site

BBC site containing revision materials

Ordnance Survey site

Site of On the Line project

US earthshots site

Thornes' geography resources

Home page for BBC Education

Channel 4 education site


Site for Nasa's Earth Observing System project offering earth images and data

10 resources

Changing Environments, pound;94 from Granada Learning. Tel: 0161 827 2887

Interactive Atlas of GB, pound;25.52 from Ordnance Survey. Tel: 0845 050505

Encarta 99 World Atlas, pound;42.54 from TAG. Tel: 0800 591262

Smudge Discovers the World primary title pound;39.14 from Storm

Educational. Tel: 01935 817699

Rivers primary title, pound;19.99 from Ransom. Tel: 01491 613711

Oxford Talking Infant Atlas, pound;20 Sherston Tel: 01666 843200

Earth and Atmosphere, pound;69 AVP. Tel: 01291 625439

My First Amazing British Isles Explorer, pound;19.99 from Dorling Kindersley. Tel: 0870 0100 350

Local Studies, from pound;49 from Soft Teach. Tel: 01985 840329

Distant Places interactive atlas CD-Rom, pound;80 (site licence) from ACE. Tel: 01707 266714

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