Send a class to Google and chances are, they will copy and paste something that they don’t understand from Wikipedia, or they will get lost in a sea of web sites that may not be appropriate for the topic being researched or beyond their comprehension. Maybe you are spending hours putting together a webliography that children and teens can use safely and effectively.
For citizens of Québec, there are the free databases available through the Bibliothèque Nationale. While it breaks copyright to have a whole class sign up to use the distance service and use it as a classroom lesson, it is certainly permissible for teachers and students to have their own memberships for research use. For teachers, this creates the possibility of having students search tried and true resources that are at the right reading level for their classes.
The Ressources En Ligne includes the World Book Online, Encyclopedia Americana, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Electric Library Canada, and Electric Library Elementary.
Here is a link to the Jing (video) that I made to show you how to sign up with a demonstration on what a useful tool it can be: http://screencast.com/t/fKp23O9IH
The link for the Bibliothèque Nationale’s form for signing up to this service is:
Please give these wonderful online encyclopedias and databases a try and please let me know what you think if you do try them.