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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 16:52 GMT
Webscape

By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

Starfall website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

I thought we would start today with something for the very young surfers among you.

Anu from India suggested Starfall as a great place to allow your children to play on the web, where they will not only have fun, but will learn to read as well.

It is not always possible to sit and participate in your child's time online, although they should always be closely monitored. But if your child is learning about words and letters, this website does a really good job of helping them out when you do not have the time yourself.

The layout is colourful and simple.

There are four sections, from the basic ABC's for complete beginners, right up to assisted interactive books under I'm Reading.

In this section you can choose from a large selection of books in various categories. Any word that presents a problem can be clicked on to hear an audio file of the word being spoken.

As well as the books there are plenty of games and interactive activities, all designed to help children understand the sounds letters make, and how the words fit together.

Although the site is only in English, there is plenty of audio assistance on hand, albeit with an American accent, which might not suit some of you, but the principles are still the same.


The Carbon Gym website

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With all the reports of extreme weather conditions across the globe, more people are becoming concerned about the impact of modern living on the environment.

If you want to know how eco-friendly your lifestyle is then get yourself along to The Carbon Gym. This is a UK website, but the principles work across the globe.

From the opening page select the virtual gym, then head on in to the changing room to learn about greenhouse gases and their effect on the planet.

This section is written in really simple terms, and does an excellent job of explaining the problem of global warming.

At the bottom of this page you are given the option of taking a carbon emissions health check.

It requires a bit of research on your part in terms of how much power you use, and how many miles you travel each year. If you cannot work out your bills in £ then you can choose to enter your amounts in units instead.

Once you know what your carbon footprint is, it is time head into the gym and learn about ways you can improve your lifestyle. There are loads of areas covered, from low-carbon travel to managing waste.

The café section was not working when I last visited, but it should contain case studies to further illustrate the points and personally, I do not think this takes anything away from such an eye-opening site.


Skyscraper page website

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At the other end of the spectrum, a viewer called Mohammed Raizuddin sent this next website in, and it seems he has a passion for skyscrapers.

Regardless of whether tall buildings fascinate you, the pure artistry of the pixel illustrations on SkyscraperPage is well worth a look.

At first I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information here, but the search options are logical and clearly laid out which makes it all a lot easier to digest.

You can check out the skyscrapers in each city by using the cities link at the top and working your way through to the navigation system to the building you want.

On each building's page you will find details of its height, purpose, when it was built, and where an illustration is available it will be displayed here too.

I think these pictures, using pixel art, are amazing. Special note should be given to the Evolution of a Skyscraper and World's Tallest Buildings sections, which are both accessible from the opening page.


Stick Cricket website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Finally, another viewer suggestion. M Aasim Q, from Sokoto in Nigeria, thought the world would like to see his website, Stick Cricket.

The popularity of this sport in the UK has certainly received a boost with England's long-awaited victory in the Ashes this year.

If you are missing the cricket season and want to keep it alive in the office, then the multi-player game on this website should do the trick.

It will take a bit of getting used to, but the instructions under How To Play are clear and to the point.

Personally I advise taking the time to practice on your own before setting up any matches, by operating both the batting and the bowling for a few games. Picking the right moment to take your swing is a very fiddly art.

Once you have the controls mastered you can set up your own office league.

You will need to register for this part of the website. Once registered you can create a new league, then invite other people to sign up for it, thereby creating your own office scorecard.

Alternatively, you can join one of the existing leagues, and play with other members of the website.


Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World.



SEE ALSO:
Kate's downloading advice
01 Jul 05 |  Click Online


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