Navigating the sea of information about online learning is not easy at the best of times, and even less so this week given the tsunami of information that has suddenly appeared in everyone’s social media feeds and emails. There seems to be an infinite range of different activities that can be done from home simply with a good wifi connection and smartphone or laptop. So, where to start and how to navigate this space?
We thought we’d share a list of a few key resources that you can use to ensure your kids stay engaged, happy and entertained while at home that we have found to be a useful source of inspiration as we define how to support online learning and maintain the high level of socio-emotional connection and strong personal relationships with our learners. After all, let’s not confuse online learning with online schooling. We won’t talk about the latter today nor the difference between these two concepts but suffice to say that online schooling is no guarantee that learning is actually happening.
If we can keep students, happy and engaged while exploring the things they love, chances are there is some solid learning happening and the cognitive wheels will be turning. And if you would like to support them as a parent and keep them engaged, here are a few ideas and resources you may find helpful:
1. Travel from your Living Room
Over 2,500 museums and galleries offer virtual tours so there is no excuse not to let your mind travel, even if you are physically confined to the sofa during the confinement period! Many of these tours offer very informative and inspiring visits while at the same time providing a fun learning experience for the whole family. See our pick here.
3. Reading and audio books: Audible is offering free audio books for children and families during the confinement period and a number of authors, such as David Walliams, have shared their top audio books for free.
4. Get Crafty! Here are two sites that provide a range of activities for kids to help them make fun crafts and activities.
Or even make your own Face Masks at home. Although not clinically sound, the kids will find it fun to make and personalise their own masks using only paper towels or oven paper, two elastic bands and a stapler.
5. Learn new skills through games Educational games for K-12 - there's no harm in some educational games for kids as long as they are having sufficient time to "screen detox" and engage in offline, manual activities throughout the day https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome
6. Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults - brush up on your knowledge of history and test your critical thinking skills while at it to ask yourself who authored this, from which perspective are these historical account related and what have we learned or changed from history in how we behave? https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive
7. Explore STEM (no lab needed!) Nasa and home science lab challenges: Introduce numeracy as a fun part of your daily family routine- http://bedtimemath.org/
- Learn to code- https://www.codecademy.com/
- Listen to astronauts read stories from space- https://storytimefromspace.com/library/
- Maths games galore- https://gridclub.com/
- Lots of science experiments that you can do at home - https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/
8. Get your body moving!
Here are a series of movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts- https://www.gonoodle.com/ or if you want a more cardio intense workout, The Body Coach Joe Wicks offers great family-friendly HIIT and PE classes.
9. Present your Own Creative Project or Idea
For older children and teens, invite them to work on a project or set a specific challenge about how to respond to the current situation and keep people feeling connected while in social isolation or distancing:
- Make your own animated videos with Go Animate- http://goanimate.com/
- Prezi (make your presentations zoom) http://prezi.com/
10. Become a Music Maestro
Set up your own music lab and record your own songs, podcasts and videos at home https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/About