Favorite Free Websites for Teachers. It was a compilation of websites that had been submitted to me on Facebook, and I thought I had checked every single link carefully. I also posted the document and asked for others to check the links. Several people said it was fine. Imagine my surprise (and horror!) when I received an email yesterday saying that one of the links on that document went to an inappropriate website! Furthermore, I was at a hotel about to head out to the beach with my daughters and I had no way to remove the offending page from my site. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it wouldn't be downloaded too often before I could return home and correct the problem. Needless to say, that was my first order of business this morning. I found the correct link and uploaded the revised document. Whew! If you downloaded the old one last month, please delete it and download the revised one from my original blog post, Favorite Free Websites for Teachers or by clicking the image above.
What in the world happened? I'm not really sure, but it might be a case of ".com" carelessness. You know what I mean ... you've used a website before and you can't remember the URL. So what do you do? Instead of Googling the site to find the correct link, you take your best guess at the site name and add ".com" to the end. If you've ever used this strategy, you know that it can be risky! Years ago, teachers who were attempting to get to a website about the White House would enter www.whitehouse.com and they got quite a nasty surprise! That site has been taken down, but it taught many of us the importance of not guessing at a website URL, especially when kids are watching!
In this case, the offending link was for an interactive game for telling time called Bang On Time. I had played that game with my students before, so when a teacher submitted the link, perhaps I accepted it without checking it because I recognized the game name. But as I found out yesterday, BangonTime.com is NOT an educational site! The correct URL is http://www.oswego.org/ocsd-web/games/BangOnTime/clockwordres.html and I updated my list accordingly.
The other plausible explanation for how this link ended up on my list is that maybe last month that link DID go to the game for telling time. Perhaps the site owners stopped paying for the use of the URL and it was bought by another company. This happened to one of my favorite sites for creating Bingo Games. At one time it was a free site for teachers and later the same URL went to a very inappropriate site!
Who knows? I guess the point here is that we must continue to be vigilant when it comes to checking website links before using them with students. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused you. I cringe to think of the thousands of copies floating around cyberspace that still have the incorrect link in place. The only thing I can can say is "Beware of the Dot Com!" It will sneak up and get you when you are least expecting it! Have you ever been bitten by the "Dot Com" bug? Tell us about it, but please don't include any offending links in your comment! Thanks!