I recently covered some positive uses of technology at home.
Continuing on that theme to discuss some favorite apps and sites, I recruited a couple people from Adventure to Fitness who support learning: Elisa Hinojosa, a former teacher and current mother of 2 -- the oldest is a National Merit Scholar and just started pre-med on a full scholarship! – and Colleen Henckels, a former high-flying executive, now "super mom" to 2 young boys.
Here's a brief summary of our collective favorites…
We now have information instantly available on our computers or smartphones.
Free Translation -- translate between English and over 40 languages
Manuals Online - manuals for toys, appliances, and electronics
How Stuff Works - simple answers on lots of topics
Khan Academy - online lessons across a range of academic subjects
NASA - interesting info & videos about space from the US agency
National Geographic - geography, archaeology, and natural science at your fingertips
Smithsonian - info from the museums, zoo, and research centers
Games and Entertainment
We often dismiss digital games as "shoot 'em up" products that have questionable educational value. The truth is that "gamification" has become a huge focus in education, with the idea that kids are more likely to do something if it's fun and engaging.
Elmo Loves ABCs - helps young kids learn letters and how to write them
Stack the States and Stack the Countries -- fun apps to teach your kids US and world geography
Minecraft - promotes creativity and teamwork among older kids while teaching spatial relationships and more
Adventure to Fitness - we have direct involvement here, working with world-class doctors and educators to develop active minds and healthy bodies; it's now used by over 100,000 teachers nationwide
Digital advances have dramatically improved our ability to get advice or work with our children's teachers.
Teacher Lists - an automated way for teachers to share their individual class needs, which you can even check on your cell phone. (Remember when teachers used to send home paper lists of supplies at the beginning of every year or tried to buy what they could from personal funds?) They currently have a contest for "wish list" items, which can help a few lucky teachers fund their purchases this year.
What sites and apps do you use with your kids? Let us know on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.