Colleges General Interest Online learning

15 of the best online tools to support your student’s learning during coronavirus

Online learning is on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The great news for families is that thousands of tools and resources exist to support your student’s E-learning adventure, now more than ever. From curriculum building and organizational tools to archival records and online museums, it has never been easier to enrich your student’s educational experience. 

Let’s look at 15 of the best tools and resources available for your student’s digital classroom.

1. Bulb 

Bulb is an app that allows high school students to build a robust digital portfolio of their accomplishments and work completed. A portfolio is a fantastic way for your student to present a body of work to their college of choice when they begin applying. With its robust workspace and gallery features, Bulb can help them get a head start in creating one.

2. Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an online repository of 6,300 books and textbooks. They’re all available for direct download, with no need for a library card or login. Additionally, the library features over 37 million images, videos, texts, and audio recordings that span U.S. history. DPLA also features primary source sets—a fantastic resource for students who want to experience history through the eyes of those who lived it. 

3. Google Teach from Home

Google Teach from Home offers families a wide array of tools to support and supplement online learning. From organizational tools to coding activities and AI academic help, Google has you and your student covered.

4. Interactive Constitution

Interactive Constitution by the National Constitution Center is an online hub where your student can take civic learning courses and brush up on essential Constitutional knowledge. The Center offers sessions and courses in U.S. elections, Constitutional amendments, notable Supreme Court cases, and U.S. history lessons.

5. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free online learning portal with a wide array of subjects for students to study. Course materials range from pre-K through high school and cover all subjects, including college prep, entrepreneurship, and growth mindset. APⓇ courses, computer programming, and other advanced course options are also available.

6. Library of Congress

The Library of Congress catalog and digital collections are a great online resource for older students engaging in historical research. LOC’s extensive collections also include concert series, online library exhibitions, current news, and more. 

7. LibriVox

LibriVox is a library of free public domain audiobooks. They’re read by volunteers from all over the world. LibriVox’s books are available via mobile app and web browser.

8. MathGames

MathGames is a vast directory of math-based games for students from pre-K through 8th grade. The Math Games Arcade gives students a new perspective on math, helping them learn essential concepts in fun ways. 

9. MetKids

MetKids is an online introduction to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met’s galleries feature artwork, historical artifacts, clothing, pieces of architecture, and more. Students may click on the interactive map to view and learn about specific pieces of artwork in the Met’s collections and galleries.

10. National Archives

The National Archives offers an online library of founding documents, records, photos, primary sources, and other educational resources that support a well-rounded American history education. This resource is well suited to high school students conducting U.S. history research and parents who want to put together primary or supplemental materials for their students’ online learning curriculum.

11. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a great addition to any student’s science curriculum. The site features a wide array of scientific topics including space exploration, zoology, botany, biology, and more. Younger students will enjoy vibrant videos and games that reinforce their studies. 

12. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a collection of over 60,000 free published works in the public domain. The majority of the works featured on the site are literary works published prior to 1924. Books may be easily downloaded for reading via web browser.

13. Smithsonian’s History Explorer

Smithsonian’s History Explorer offers students an interactive look at artifacts, media, interactives, books, activities, and more. Parents can download lessons for their students, and students can spend time exploring the artifact galleries online.

14. Smithsonian Learning Lab

Smithsonian Learning Lab is a massive library of Smithsonian Institution resources and learning collections across more than 6,000 topics, including science, social studies, language arts, and many more. Teachers and parents can compile collections of specific resources for their students to study and experience. 

15. Storybird

Storybird helps students of all ages improve their writing skills through writing short- and long-form books, flash fiction, and poetry. Your student will have the opportunity to participate in writing challenges and flex their creative muscles, all while brushing up on composition.  

Wrapping up

Although this list is a great starting point, there are hundreds—if not thousands—more resources available for your student’s online learning. So let us know: are you going to give any of these resources a try? What are your favorite online learning resources? Leave a comment below!

Online learning

7 reasons why online learning is here to stay

The COVID-19 crisis will pass, but K-12 online learning could be here to stay for the long-term. Online learning has experienced tremendous growth recently—even before the pandemic—but now it’s exploding in record numbers due to school shutdowns all over the country.

According to Bernhard Schroeder’s Forbes article, “Disrupting Education. The Rise of K-12 Online and the Entrepreneurial Opportunities”: “Types of online education programs being implemented in the USA are state virtual schools, charter schools, multi-district programs, single district programs, programs run by universities, blended programs, private schools, and consortium based programs.”

As of mid-2019, according to Schroeder, more than 2.7 million K-12 students were engaged in online learning—many of whom were already attending online schools full-time. As online learning continues to grow, there will be a wider array of options, from full-time online school to hybrid school arrangements. 

Even when COVID-19 has passed and schools reopen again, it’s likely many students will continue learning online in some capacity. Let’s take a look at 7 reasons why online learning is here to stay.

1. Flexible schedule

For many K-12 students, flexible scheduling is possible. If online classes have been pre-recorded, students can—to some degree—structure their days in an order that works best for them. 

Although your student is likely to have some measure of structure implemented, they’ll likely have a greater chance at flexibility than students in a traditional school setting. For example, instructors may have structured lessons and online class times, but your student may be able to complete assignments on his or her own schedule, whatever that may look like.

2. Customizable curriculum

Online learning allows students—particularly older students in middle school and high school—to design a customized curriculum. Many high schools offer career development courses that allow students to explore the subjects and professions they’re interested in pursuing after graduation. 

Additionally, some community colleges allow high school students to dual enroll. Between an array of high school and college courses to choose from, distance learning students can build a curriculum that fits their strengths and interests. 

If a high school student has a part-time job, they may also be able to flex class schedules around work. 

3. More extracurricular options

When students are engaged in remote learning, they’re sometimes removed from many of the traditional aspects of school, including physical education classes, sports, clubs, band, and chorus. When students learn completely online, they can supplement their courses with extracurricular activities of their choice.

Beyond the basic activities typical at most high schools across the U.S., your student could engage in martial arts, dance, fencing, gymnastics, community theatre, one-on-one music lessons, or an array of community team sports.

4. Location independence

Online learning opens up a wide world of possibilities for students, including studying at schools outside their immediate area. The ability to learn from institutions all over the country—and even the world—is an exciting prospect for many students.

5. Affordability

All told, online learning can be much less expensive than attending public school. It all comes down to the activities your student is involved in and the course curricula you decide to invest in. Additionally, dual-enrollment courses are often offered to high school students at a low price or even no charge—so the students gain access to higher education at a dramatically reduced rate.

Parents with younger students engaged in online learning will save money on the supplies they would normally buy for an elementary school classroom throughout the year. Instead, they can save that money—or invest it in specific activities their kids are interested in doing.

6. Accessibility

Students with special needs can experience an online learning environment and materials that are completely accessible. While many traditional schools go above and beyond to accommodate students with special needs, parents have an extra hand in overseeing the accessibility of their materials and learning environments at home. 

Parents who enroll their students in online learning may also select the best tech and curricula for their student’s particular needs. Rather than relying on a traditional school to provide the accessibility solutions, they can tailor each detail at home.

7. Parental guidance and increased safety

Online learning also opens the door for increased parental involvement in the education process. Parents can help their students with assignments, comprehension, and review. They can also act as a guide through the curriculum each day.

Additionally, setting up a home learning environment is, in many ways, safer than attending traditional school. Students are more likely to be protected from many of the issues that arise from attending traditional school, such as bullying and peer pressure. As a parent, you can use distance learning as an opportunity to supervise your student’s friends and take a more active role in guiding them to healthy friendships. 

The bottom line

Online classes open doors for students who might have been limited by their location or the resources available in their areas. It’s likely that many more schools will continue offering online classes long-term, even after the pandemic has come to an end.

In the near future, parents and students will have more readily available access to online learning than ever before. This will open up a wide range of educational and career opportunities for students from every walk of life.