The Best Resources For Digital Learning With School Closures
Confronting the challenges of distance learning can be scary. Adding a full-time job, existential anxieties, and trying to be a support system for our kids can make it seem practically overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
The internet provides a multitude of free services that you and your kids can take advantage of in the event of nationwide school closures. These can act as supplements to your child’s daily learning or, if their school is closed completely or you choose to pull them out, work as an effective way of homeschooling in the digital age.
If you’re a teacher trying to navigate the world of digital instruction for the first time, these tools are a helpful way of supplementing instruction and providing the best range of activities for your students.
Blackboard is a streamlined digital learning platform that allows students to access and manage all of their courses in one place. Once you get the hang of how everything is organized, completing tasks on Blackboard – and grading them – is extremely simple and straightforward.
Although primarily used by college students, Blackboard may also be helpful for older students, or if you are managing a lot of kids. If your child is in a homeschool co-op, they may enjoy interacting with other families through their discussion board resource. If you’re a teacher, and your school doesn’t already subscribe to Blackboard, you can create your own classes for free on the site.
Regardless of what age your children or students fall under, Khan Academy offers something for students of all learning levels. Offering short video lessons on nearly every topic under the sun, their programs allow children to progress their learning at their own pace.
If you’re concerned about whether your child’s class is moving too quickly for them (or not quickly enough), use Khan Academy for supplemental instruction. They also offer daily schedule ideas for children in preschool all the way up to the senior year. Talk about free, personalized education for everyone.
Unicef Psychosocial Tips
Concerned about your child’s emotional well-being and mental health? You should be. Social-emotional development is considered to be just as important for a child’s overall health as physical development is.
And right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. Odds are, whatever you are feeling, your children and students are feeling it as well. Fortunately for you, you may not have to spend thousands of dollars on telehealth or a therapist.
Unicef offers 8 tips that, when followed, can provide adequate emotional support for your child to ensure that they feel like they are not alone during this lonely time. However, you should still take your child to a mental health professional if you are genuinely concerned and the at-home tips don’t help, in the same way, you would take them to see a physical one.
Duolingo is a fantastic site for learning a second language. First of all, it’s completely free. Second, it doesn’t matter what age or language background your child comes from. It’s paced and personalized, and it offers small, bite-sized grammar and culture lessons at the start of every language lesson.
It is also three-dimensional, providing developmental opportunities in grammar, culture, vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax. Not only is it a fun supplemental learning opportunity for parents, but it can also be a great supplemental homework assignment for foreign language teachers attempting to teach digitally.
If your school doesn’t already use Canvas, it’s free for individual classes if you’re a parent or teacher. Canvas is similar to Blackboard in its design and usage, except for one factor that makes it slightly better: you can tailor instruction to individual students’ needs.
This is especially helpful for highly diverse classrooms or, if you’re a parent, for children of wide age ranges. Although typically used in the college and upper high school settings, Canvas is a helpful tool for any grade or learning level.
Have a child that enjoys technology, video games, or browsing the internet? They may highly enjoy code.org, a website that is designed to teach students coding step-by-step. As the world evolves, coding skills are becoming more in-demand than ever.
As coding is considered a type of language, the younger kids are when they start learning, the faster they will be able to pick it up. It is an extremely useful skill to put on a resume, and can help them obtain a high-paying job or internship even straight out of high school, or allow them to complete any type of computer science college degree a step ahead of other students in their program. Best of all, the site is completely free and can be utilized by children of all age levels.
If you have a younger child or teach preschool up through third grade, your child or students may enjoy interacting with the ABCMouse Early Learning Academy. Offering more than 850 lessons over ten learning levels and nearly every content area, all learning through ABCMouse is self-paced and low-risk.
Use this as a form of supplemental instruction for students aged two through age eight, or simply as a fun break from learning without sacrificing any learning! Additionally, ABCMouse also offers a program for English Language Learners, providing teachers who have ELL students with content geared for them, as well as ESL parents with accessible content.
These are only a handful of virtual learning programs that are offered for free on the internet. There are hundreds of free opportunities for children to learn all sorts of skills and subjects, all at their own pace.
From math to coding, to foreign languages, to social-emotional support, these sites can ease the burden of navigating distance learning all on your own. They can act as supplemental instruction or as a full homeschooling set. However you choose to use them, they are always there at your disposal.