On Supporting Educators: Ken Barbalace and EnvironmentalChemistry.com

Following the publication of Ken Barbalace’s comment on a recent post that mentioned the site EnvironmentalChemistry.com that he founded and has edited for several years, I paid the site a visit.

It contains a wealth of information about chemistry and the environment, and clearly demonstrates that Mr. Barbalace has invested a great deal of work in organizing it and keeping it going it over the years.

But what struck me most was that if you read down the rightmost column then near the bottom you will see a little box that says:


This website is a great teaching resource!! Pages are printer friendly, making them easy to use as classroom handouts.

Notes about using this site in the classroom.

You know what? This is the one of the few — if not the first — times I can recall visiting a web site not specifically devoted to education and seeing a specific notice that the creator had a special interest in supporting the use of the content in the classroom, providing some instructions on the use of that content, and in so doing making clear the content was edited and reviewed to be acceptable to the classroom. For example, you find the following:

This site designed with the student in mind, so rest assured that all pages on this site are suitable for general audiences and the entire site has RSAC, ICRA and Safe Surf content ratings.

Bravo, Mr. Barbalace! Keep up the good work, work which reminds us all, including the author of this post, that while it is important to find a good business model it is even more important to find and support a good model for education.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 18, 2007 at 15:41 | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for the kind words in regards to my site.

    Apparently my reply to this post yesterday got lost, so I’m reposting my comments.

    I do no know if you did a “print preview” of any of my pages to see what I meant by “printer friendly” but basically using a special CSS stylesheet with the media=”print” attribute I am able to instruct the browser to totally reformat pages and turn off detritus like menus such that pages print cleanly. This is a relatively simple method of making printer friendly pages if one designs their site layout with this in mind. The benefit to the user is that if they want to print out a page it prints cleanly and uses a minimum of paper. If these printed “handouts” are used in the classroom, they become a form of “viral” advertising for my site. This means printer friendly pages are a win for the teacher who has easy to use teaching aids, a win for students as they have additional study aids and a win for me as more people become aware of my site.

    In regards to site ratings (see http://www.icra.org/ to learn more about them), these are simply a smart way for a site to ensure users including those in academic settings do not have problems accessing one’s site due to content filters.

    Printed handouts and classroom use may not generate much in the way of advertising revenue, but they are a fantastic medium for viral advertising as one student or teacher can quickly share a good site with dozens of other students and teachers and teachers who in turn share the site with hundreds of others.

    One still must not discount the importance of advertising revenue as it is the ads that pay for the content.

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