Sunday, February 10, 2013

No Cost Online Education Resources for Young Students

By Sean Scarpiello

As the internet is quickly becoming more and more integrated into our society, it is evident that education will follow suit. In light of this, online education is quickly finding its way into the classrooms of high schools and colleges. With such an increase in society’s use of the internet in the past several years, why aren’t young students, in middle and even elementary school, utilizing the internet in class? Recently, I discovered two such websites which are geared towards younger students. Websites such as Weebly and Collaborative Classroom are sure to be the future in educating elementary and middle school students. While each website makes learning easier for the students, teachers and parents can also benefit.

First, the website, Weebly, allows teachers to have a class blog for students and their parents. The program is completely free for both teachers and students. In addition, it works with each student’s email address or their parent’s email address to send daily or weekly updates to parents. This allows parents to easily understand what is going on in class, and what can be expected for homework. It also allows parents to form open or closed discussions to talk about struggles that their children may be experiencing directly with the teacher. The fact that Weebly makes communication between parents and teachers easy is its biggest asset. Studies have proven that students with parents that are more active in their children’s learning process are more likely to succeed in school. This type of program makes it easy for teachers to reach out to parents, while making the parent’s job much easier to remain involved in the learning process.

Another benefit that programs like Weebly have is that teachers can assign homework and give daily updates to their students. This is extremely beneficial because it gives the teacher the opportunity to post simulations, videos, and other links that can be used outside of class to continue or supplement learning. In my experience, I had high school teachers who would give us a worksheet with a link on it to complete for homework. Once we attempted to complete the homework, we found that the link was no longer active and had to wait until the next day in class due to the poor amount of communication between teachers and students. Weebly on the other hand, would allow students to simply log on and directly click to a link and answer questions on their computer. If there was a problem with the homework or link, it could be resolved quickly and easily.

Another website that allows for better communication between teachers and students is Collaborative Classroom. This program has already won several awards and has been given some great reviews. Teachers who have used this program in their classes report that class participation and willingness to learn increases substantially. By allowing students to access class material and ask questions more easily, learning comes almost effortlessly. The program also allows teachers to assign, collect, and grade homework assignments all through the internet. This allows both teachers and students to avoid the hassle and expenses of printing out worksheets and homework. The program also comes with a free online topic library where students can easily access a database of articles to use in homework assignments and class projects.

In all, while the internet is being utilized more and more in society, education is following suit. With this, it is important to integrate younger students into the online world early on in their educational career. Websites such as Weebly and Collaborative Class offer many different resources for teachers, students, and parents to access for no cost. In addition to using technology more in school, the learning process is also made easier by increasing the amount of communication available in school as well as providing more accessible resources.


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