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There is, in the words of Mortimer Zuckerman, editor of U.S. News & World Report, a “classroom revolution” as students take to the Internet. To some extent, it’s a generational thing. “Students who have mastered the wonders of the Internet at home know that with a desktop computer they can do everything faster - take and save notes, write and do research. With guidance, kids can learn these skills at home, especially when high-quality interactive programming becomes more widely available in science, history, math, geography, and languages. There is much work to be done in creating these electronic assets, however. And it is critical for teachers to join the revolution - to adapt information technology to the methods and content of their instruction.” (U.S. News & World Report, October 10, 2005)

Worldhistorysite.com contains one of the web’s largest multilingual sites on history. Google currently ranks it #2 under the category “history of communication” and #1 under “predict the future”. The number of visitors to the site is fast increasing. Yet, it could do so much more to make itself useful to students and teachers.

What is it and what isn’t it? This website presents a particular scheme for organizing world history. It is quite unlike other schemes currently taught in our schools. Basically, the website argues that world history is a “creation story” about the development of human society. Its building block is the story. In telling the story of human society as a whole, it identifies “turning points” which are the beginning and end of chapters, so to speak. The chapters might be labelled “story of Civilization I”, “story of Civilization II”, etc.

You will not find a complete story for each chapter in www.worldhistorysite.com. The closest it comes to that is in worldhistorysite.com/predict3rdciv.html. The book “Five Epochs of Civilization” does present more detailed stories of the civilizations in chapters 4 through 7. Yet, even this is an abbreviated version.

Another deficiency is that “Five Epochs of Civilization” is currently available in the English and Chinese languages only. It has not yet been translated into any of the other five languages represented on this website. Also, the translations into French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian for the website were done by Babel fish, a translation machine, and so may contain errors. Even so, readers ought to be able to comprehend the basic message.

Worldhistorysite.com and the related book offer a particular theory of world history. Theories are meant to be debated and discussed, not be taken as Gospel truth. The idea is that history is a form of knowledge. Knowledge should be both interesting and useful. In this case, the website suggests that world history can be useful in helping to predict the future in addition to making the past more meaningful.

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Now it’s your turn to talk. This proprietor of this website would be interested in hearing your views about this theory of world history, the content of the website, and related topics. Does the website help to teach world history? If not, what criticisms might you have. How might the website be improved? We would be especially interested in the experience of teachers who have used the website in teaching world history. We would be interested in techniques that have been developed to use the website effectively. What thoughts might you have to share with others regarding best practices?

Depending on the volume of response, we will post comments received on this page. With their consent, we will publish the names, addresses, teaching positions, email addresses, and perhaps a small picture of persons who offer comments - or, as much of this information as the person desires. However, anonymous comments will also be acceptable. Ideally, it would be good to put a human face on this discussion. We hope you will not be bashful in offering your views and letting your identity be known.

You can send your comments by email to the following: mailto: 2wmcg@earthlink.net It would help to identify your email if you put the words “best practices” somewhere on the subject line.

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