The internet can be a great resource or a great distraction depending on how children use it. For this month’s Ilm o Amal, Ayesha Umair has compiled a list of ten websites that teachers and parents should be aware of and that will add an element of interactivity to the learning process.
Over the last few years, the internet has really expanded on the concept of helping children study through educational websites. The introduction of tablets and smart phones has specifically aided the process and nowadays, it is not uncommon to see teacher and parents accessing a massive number of educational resources that are often freely available on the internet.
However, given that there are so many websites on the internet; most parents find it difficult to decide where to start. Here we have compiled a list of ten resourceful websites that will add interactivity to the education process and that teachers and parents should be aware of. Most of these websites are interactive and game-based so often children won’t even be aware that they are learning.
1. Ted Lessons
Ted Lessons is an extension of Ted Talks, an organisation geared towards spreading innovative ideas through video lectures. Ted Lessons, is similar to Ted Talks, since it also features video lectures but these lectures are meant specifically for students and educators. The website features a big database of free videos on different topics including Technology, Business, Mathematics, Social Studies and many more. Most of the videos are short and beautifully animated, and before the viewer realizes it, he ends up watching five or so videos. Apart from videos, the website has also created a Ted-Ed Club though which students can network around the world to share their own inspiring ideas.
Wonderopolis is a must-visit website for curious kids. Teachers and parents often have no answer for the unexpected questions a child may ask, but Wonderopolis has come up with the perfect solution. The website answers the most random questions and is a good source of unstructured learning for children. By exploring topics such as how frogs hibernate and how CDs work, the website allows children to expand their knowledge and ask question that are outside the box. Questions are answered through multi-disciplinary content (mini-videos, pictures and text) to make the learning process as holistic as possible. Students can also join free online summer camps at the website to jumpstart their creative learning process and earn Wonder Cards during the process.
3. Nat Geo Kids
Nat Geo Kids, as the name suggests, is a website that focuses entirely on geography and animals. The website isrecommended for both students and teachers since it contains information pertaining to all topics and through different formats. Children can watch videos, take part in quizzes, learn fun facts and even participate in polls. For teachers, the website offers good resources on a number of topics to make teaching more fun and engaging. The only downside of the website is that it may be confusing at first; with too much information on the home page.
Make me genius offers a lot in terms of content. It contains videos, presentations, quizzes, jokes, facts etc. The website is meant for elementary kids and even teachers who can benefit from the presentations on different topics. Most of the content offered on the website deals with either Science or Social Studies. The downside of the website is that there are many ads running on it, which tend to confuse the average viewers and especially for children, the website can be quite distracting. Thus, parents may need to be present to guide children when learning from this website.
Time for Kids is an offshoot of the famous magazine, The Times. The website is meant for older children and offers a variety of features to aid learning. Apart from informative articles, the website offers homework help in the form of flashcards, grammar exercises, writing tools and much more. ‘Around the World’ is another feature on the website that allows students to gain information on all countries of the world. Students and teachers can also subscribe to the magazine and even become Kid Reporters for it.
6. Kids Spell
Even though spellings have become a thing of the past (for adults) what with text predictors installed in every place, students still need good spellings to excel at school. Kids Spell provides the perfect platform for this. The website offers more than 400 spelling lists for both students and teachers. These spelling lists allow easy usage, since these lists are divided into class-based levels. Users can also create their own customised spelling lists. To make spelling fun, the website also features a few games meant for younger children.
7. Study Ladder
Study Ladder is an online literacy website that is used by schools around the world. The website can be used by students,teachers and even homeschoolers. The website is beautifully and simply designed, thus allowing better navigation for the users. In 2012, the website was awarded the best website for Teaching and Learning. It contains a library of resources divided into ten major topics: English, Mathematics, Science, Financial Literacy, Health and Safety, Music, Arts, Technology and even theme-based learning. Users can browse through the library and enter their respective grades and topics to access the required learning materials. Learning resources are available from preschool level till Grade 7, and each resource is designed to make learning fun and captivating.
Discovery Kids is the ultimate website for science-based learning. A brainchild of Discovery Channel, it comes as no surprise that the website is equipped with a large database of resources. Learning Science can be made fun and this is what Discovery Kids aims for with a variety of channels including games, puzzles, applications, books and even videos.
Help My Kid Learn is a very aesthetically pleasing website, mostly because it is meant for young learners below the age of 12. The resources on the website are categorised into age-appropriate lessons. With a number of different activities, the website aims to aid talking, playing, reading, writing and counting skills of young learners. This website is a must visit for parents who visit to contribute towards their children’s early learning without the use of computers and tablets because most of the activities on the website are hands-on ideas that parents and teachers can try out with their children to make learning more fun.
10. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a website developed and run by educator, Salman Khan. The idea behind the website is to allow free access to educational resources everywhere in the world to anyone with an internet connection. The website covers the five main subjects: Mathematics, Science, Economics, Arts and Humanities, and Computing. Students and Educators can access mini lectures relating to their preferred subject on the website, free of cost. The website can be quite resourceful for teachers and parents of homeschooled children as it allows educators to create groups and conduct tests, while at the same time charting the progress of their students.
The internet, with all its expanding resources, can either help children perform better in their studies or serve as a great distraction from real life. Teachers and parents need to be aware that the internet offers all kinds of distractions and this requires careful monitoring on the part of the parents. Parents need to keep an eye out whenever their children are on the internet, because just one wrong click can send the children into undesirable areas. If used sensibly, these websites can stimulate children’s true capacity. These websites will help teachers and parents to expose their students and children to international standards.
Ayesha Umair is a blogger and a freelance writer. She maintains her own educational blog which is called Ed-Digest.