It is probably obvious that sending elementary students off on an Internet search is not a really good use of class time. First of all, a student on an Internet search will get links for millions of websites. Rocks and Minerals, the topic we were studying at the time of this post in April 2012, got 3,670,000 links at the time of my search!
I regularly search for appropriate websites and then use links on my class website to direct my students to them. What are some guidelines for choosing appropriate websites for students? I ask myself the following questions as I review websites for use by my students:
- Is this website readable by my students?
- Is the content appealing and engaging without too much advertising?
- If there are interactive activities (aka games) are they educational or just distracting?
- Is the information accurate and from a reliable source?
- Do the activities work on the computers where students will be using them?
- Will the activities require me to provide a lot of assistance to the students or can they figure things out by themselves, or with a peer helper?
Teachers don’t have to do all the work of previewing sites on their own, thanks to other educators who have begun the vetting process for them. I use some of the following websites when I search for Interactive learning games and other online research resources for my students.
This BBC site offers some of my favorite science experiment simulations.