Interactive learning used to mean little more than a hands-on science experiment. While those still have value in today’s classrooms, technology has allowed a greater level of interactive learning than ever before. Children are playing games on computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices to learn everything from how to bake a cookie to the details of practicing dentistry.
Check out some of these interactive opportunities from across the web to bring more “doing” into your child’s education:
- It’s not easy teaching a child about space just by sitting in the backyard with a telescope. Luckily, the NASA Kids Club features interactive games that teach little explorers all about astronauts and space missions. NASA also has the Exploration Design Challenge for kids to take their crack at designing ways to protect astronauts from radiation as they venture to explore an asteroid or even Mars!
- For artistic kids, experimenting with technology can provide great inspiration. Want to expose your virtuoso to a new approach beyond yet another cartoon? Let him make his own drip painting online, recreating the abstract, expressionist style of famous American painter Jackson Pollack—without the mess!
- Minecraft, one of the most popular computer games of all time, has the potential to be an incredibly effective learning tool, especially for budding engineers. Players explore, find natural resources, craft tools and build entire worlds. Minecraft touches on everything from probability, physics, art, language and history. At its core, it's almost an interactive version of LEGO.
- Is social studies your kid’s bread and butter? What budding history buff wouldn’t want to tag along with Paul Revere on a time-traveling trip? Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride brings American history, specifically the founding of the 13 colonies, to life for elementary-age kids.
- Help bring writing to life with the story-making app Toontastic. Kids create their own cartoons through technology, but they also get a thorough how-to guide on literary elements: setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution. Kids can even record their own voices to truly make their stories their own.
- Looking for something more broad? K12’s award-winning online curriculum features an extensive catalog of courses in all subject areas with several interactive activities. K12 also offers educational mobile apps for all ages in reading, math and science, as well as tracking online attendance for its students.
“Technology has the ability to make content more engaging through interaction and simulation—and this process is just in its infancy," says K12 founder and CEO Ron Packard. "In a decade we will we wonder how we ever learned without it in the same way my children wonder how we lived without mobile phones, Google or MP3 players.”
Deanna Glick is a senior writer for K12. She has nearly two decades of experience as a journalist covering many topics, including education, youth and family issues. Deanna has also served as a volunteer and staff member for children's school-based nonprofit organizations. For more information about K12's tuition-free, online public schools in one-third of the U.S, please visit the K12 website.