The term education reform is very broad. It encompasses a lot of different models of pedagogy from the flipped classroom to formative assessment to mobile learning. And while these models are distinct, they are all intuitive in nature.
Interactivity, whether it be between peers or between students and the education technology that they use, is crucial to make the learning process more engaging. However, crafting a lesson plan that takes full advantage of interactive tools such as games and videos can be daunting. Fortunately for today’s educators, there are many online-based interactive learning sites that make learning fun and engaging.
8 Interactive Learning Sites:
If you’re looking for one-stop shopping, this is the site. With interactive options that encompass the core curriculum and more, this website is an invaluable resource for K-5 teachers. From multiplication problems to quick brain teasers that jump start the cognitive process, you’ll find it all here. The site even has games in Spanish. While the site is rather plain aesthetically, the games are vibrant and function smoothly with little lag. However, all content is online-based, and it must be noted that the site functions as a portal to content on other websites, and does not produce its own original content.
Funbrain is a vibrant and intuitive website full of rich learning content for grades K-8. While it doesn’t cover a wide range of subjects, the basics are represented well. What it lacks for subject range it makes up for in grade range and original content. Funbrain offer interactive flash cards, a newsletter and links to teacher resources.
While we mostly think of gaming when it comes to interactive learning sites, Scholastic.com is much more than that. The site has daily starters, which are prompts to start students off on the creative track while taking some of the pressure off of educators. The Storia service on the site provides unlimited access to e-books, an essential part of interactive learning. The site also dedicates an entire page of resources to interactive whiteboard use, another staple of interactive learning.
SMART Exchange is a website where educators can download a plethora of interactive resources. The site provides games, lesson planes and even virtual-workspace templates to facilitate interactive learning. The website itself is stark and simple, which makes it easy to navigate. Educators can download and share resources easily. There is a community section to facilitate collaboration between educators. Smart exchange is a free membership-based service, which means that to take advantage of the community and training services, you have to sign up. However, the benefits are worth it as you will have access to a global community of educators.
PBSKids is an incredibly rich and vivid site with a focus strictly on game-based learning. Featuring both original games and those based on popular PBS series, the site demonstrates a good balance between games that solely serve to entertain and those with educational value. The site takes it a step further by allowing students to create their own virtual avatar. The most progressive feature on the site is the PBSParents section, which allows parents to see the new games in development, as well as real-time feedback on their child’s activity.
Much like PBSKids, ABCya! is focused on game-based learning, providing options for grade levels Pre-K to 5. With family as well as classroom login access, it facilitates game-based learning via classroom or parental collaboration.
e-learning for kids has many of the same features as the previously mentioned websites. Educators can access interactive and engaging lesson plans that cover a range of subjects such as life skills, computer skills and the standards like grammar and math. Where e-learning for kids sets itself apart is with its offline access. Educators can download the e-learning courseware and access some of these lessons offline, which can be beneficial for students who can’t always rely on internet access.
While most of the entries on this list have provided educators and students access to interactive games or lessons, this one is a little different. ReadWriteThink’s printing press is just that, a virtual interactive printing press. It gives students across different grade levels the ability to create their own newspapers, brochures and flyers. Students can choose the font size and colors of the text they use.
Interactive learning sites provide an entry point for educators looking to make the classroom a more collaborative environment. With LiveTiles Mosaic, teachers have the ability to compile these interactive sites into one instantly accessible digital classroom. As the screen shot below shows, all one has to do is embed the appropriate links to the digital classroom, or direct students to these links in the Yammer feed. Within minutes, student can take advantage of these interactive learning sites.
The lives of our students have grown with the technology around them. They are incredibly connected, crossing borders and social barriers with smartphones and tablets. The classroom shouldn’t be inoculated from this process. It should benefit from it and grow with it. Interactive learning sites are one step closer to achieving this vision.