This is a guest post by Catherine Ross, a full-time stay-at-home-mom who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. A former elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can easily grasp the seemingly difficult concepts of learning different subjects. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding.
If there’s one thing that I have realized about online learning, it is that the internet is essentially just another classroom. It may be a brilliant classroom, equipped with state-of-the-art teaching tools and incredible resources, but it still needs a teacher to run it. And unless the teacher is aware of the facilities available and knows how to use them, all of those extra resources will never be put to good use.
To really make the most out of the learning resources online, parents and teachers must be aware of what is available and how they can help with student learning. Here are just a couple of the essential skills your children can learn online:
Skills Kids Can Learn Online
Scholastic skills – With its engaging presentation of learning material, the internet is an invaluable resource for acquiring scholastic skills. There are educational videos, documentaries and websites that do an excellent job of explaining and simplifying complex concepts and lessons. Learning games keep kids engaged, motivated and entertained, and have proven their effectiveness as a teaching tool through improved student retention and higher grades. Educational games, videos and websites are popularly used with the core subjects:
- Basic literacy – Reading games, songs and videos help kids with letter recognition, phonics and sight words. There are also many resources that motivate kids to read books and that test reading fluency and comprehension without compromising on fun. Starfall and Raz-Kids are my particular favorites.
- Math – Math games are incredibly successful in getting students excited about math and encouraging them to practice their math skills, with a marked improvement in grades as a result of playing them. You can also find instructional videos that break down math concepts and explain them with fun visuals. Math is Fun has a lot of useful math teaching resources, while Math Blaster is excellent for convincing your kids that math is cool!
- Science – Science games are all about learning through experimentation, though many a times the lessons are masked in the form of fun tasks and missions. Online documentaries and science videos do a great job of teaching kids about concepts that they could not learn about as easily otherwise. BrainPOP has a lot of cool science games and videos, while NASA has a great section just for kids.
Presentation skills – The internet is an excellent platform for learning presentation skills, both oral and written. In fact, many teachers encourage their students to upload their work online so that they can benefit from the outreach and confidence that the experience provides. By maintaining blogs, creating online videos and uploading their writing on publishing websites, kids can get an immense confidence boost and learn from the feedback that their content generates.
Social skills – Online interaction may differ in form from face-to-face interaction, but it still relies on the same basic skills and etiquette. Communicating with other kids provides them with an opportunity to learn how to interact with others, resolve conflicts and manage a wide variety of social situations in a mature manner.
With official meetings, social and political movements, retail businesses and even university courses taking place online, children will benefit greatly from being familiar with the workings of the internet. By letting your kids spend time learning and playing online, you can teach them how to use the internet responsibly to their advantage without letting it control them.
For more information about online learning games, visit Catherine’s blog Learning Is Fun!
What is your favorite website for online learning? Share the knowledge with a comment below.
Photo by Tim & Selena