By Tiffany Kwong
In this day and age of technology, more and more web-based resources are becoming available at our fingertips. Apple’s iTunes App Store, for example, has hundreds of applications specifically geared towards children’s learning and enrichment. Likewise, more e-learning websites are cropping up all over the Internet, offering a seemingly endless amount of educational lessons and tutorials in the form of short videos. Such educational resources are great for homeschoolers, teachers looking for ways to differentiate in their classrooms, and the life-long learner in all of us. While some parents may frown upon the use of web-based videos as a learning tool for their kids, I believe that these can be great resources for supplementing one’s education when used in moderation.
Some of the benefits of e-learning include:
- The freedom to discover and explore. With all of the information available online, your child has the opportunity to discover new subjects and delve deeper into topics that interest him or her.
- The freedom to learn at his or her own pace. Your child also has the freedom to decide on the pace of learning based on his or her ability in any one subject. In regards to videos specifically, your child has the freedom to control (literally) the speed of the lesson by pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding through content if he or she desires to review or skip specific segments of a lesson.
- The freedom to learn practically anywhere at any time. Since these are web-based resources, your child can learn anywhere you have access to the Internet and a computer or mobile device and at times that are most convenient to your family’s schedule.
With all of these benefits of e-learning in mind, I did a little research of my own to pinpoint which websites out there are the most gifted kid-friendly. Each of these websites is devoted to providing accessible, user-friendly educational tools; and best of all, these resources are free to the public! So here are my picks. Enjoy!
NeoK12 is a website that offers educational videos and lessons, including games and quizzes, specifically geared to Kindergarten through 12th grade students. According to its mission, NeoK12 promotes learning through educational videos because they “believe that kids learn best when they ‘see’ how things work, when, where and why they happen.” Through its comprehensive collection of videos, kids can learn about areas of study such as geography, social studies, physical science, English, math, and the human body. The site even hosts segments of the Discovery Channel show How It’s Made.
- The States of Matter – Learn about the properties of the four fundamental states of matter: solid, gas, liquid, and plasma!
- The Circulatory System – Check out this lesson on how our organs, vessels, and muscles work together in our bodies’ circulatory systems.
- And for fun, How It’s Made – Toothbrush
2. Khan Academy
Khan Academy seeks to “help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace” via video tutorials and lessons. It currently hosts a library of over 4,200 videos on topics ranging from chemistry, physics, trigonometry, and even humanities.
Students can create their own profiles to track their activities and earn achievement patches and badges, while parents can track their child’s progress over time. There is also a community aspect to this website, where students can ask questions about a concept they didn’t understand and have them answered by other Khan Academy students.
- The Golden Ratio – Get an introduction to one of the coolest numbers in math! It also informed the IEA logo.
- What Are Genes? – Learn about the nuts and bolts of our DNA in this video about cells, chromosomes, and genes.
To learn more about the origins of Khan Academy, view creator, Salman Khan’s TEDTalk, Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education.
An offshoot of TEDTalks, TED-Ed delivers “Lessons worth sharing” through brief videos on topics ranging from the arts and literature to mathematics and psychology. Each lesson also includes multiple choice and open-ended questions for your child to engage with the content, as well as a “Dig Deeper” section, which provides additional information and resources for your child to further explore the topic.
- How Did Trains Standardize Time in the United States? – Learn about how the invention of the train shaped the invention of standardized time zones.
- How Bacteria “Talk” – Check out this fascinating video on bacteria and its chemical language!
(Please note that IEA is not in any way affiliated with Apple, Inc., NeoK12, Khan Academy, or TED. We just wanted to share some of the great resources we’ve found with you!)
What’s your child’s favorite online resource? Please share in the comment section below.
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