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  • Writer's pictureTheresa Capra

Going Remote with Young Learners: A Few Tools Worth a Look

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Going remote with young learners this Fall? Whether you're a teacher or a caregiver, there are great sources with reasonable price tags to augment the free ones in your toolbox. #remotelearning #onlinelearning #distancelearning #technology #theresacapra #teachingtips #Covid19


Teachers and caregivers are preparing for remote learning for the approaching school year. Free tools are of course the best, but sometimes more support might be needed for young learners. With an ocean of sites and sources to choose from, which ones provide the most bang for the buck? Here are four digital platforms that are reasonably priced and worth consideration.

Epic! Early literacy is critical for academic success and today, more than ever, many people prefer digital media instead of print. And even though there’s something magical about curling up with a book (can you really read a Harry Potter eBook?), we can’t deny that our society is becoming more driven by technology so using it to promote early literacy may be the way to go.

Epic is an extensive collection of virtual books, including cheristed titles, which visually engage children while teaching literacy. Epic even includes selections for upper grades. A subscription runs about $8 a month, but if you have a young learner who will be remote, this might be worth the price. Educators may be eligible for a free subscription and many early childhood institutions already have paid plans in place. In addition to the books, the are lesson plans for teachers and formative assessments to track individual progress and interests. Epic also works with smart devices and tablets.

Zearn. What could be as important as early literacy? Developing early math, of course! Zearn is a wonderful math site that provides interactive lessons and assessments for grades kindergarten through five. On-the-spot feedback redirects children to the correct methodology to avoid repetitive mistakes.

Zearn has become popular so many school districts already have subscriptions. But hold on, breaking news (not really, but everyone says that)—through donations, Zearn is offering a free parent/caregiver pack that includes curriculum and digital lessons available through the pandemic. It's a resource worth the time to evaluate, especially the free materials.

BrainPOP Jr. Everyone loves BrainPOP--what's not to love about a robot and his human friend Tim who are excited to learn? Brain POP Jr. is no exception. This interactive site is already in use in classrooms all over the world. It contains videos and quizzes covering all subjects as well as delicate social topics such as bullying. Moby is the star, but there's also Annie, the smart youngster who bring the topics to life.

The videos can hold the attention of any young learner with engaging dialogue and rich animation. It’s also a wonderful tool to facilitate independent work and encourage students to dive into a variety of content.

It's not the cheapest, but there are homeschool options that might be feasible for some families. And teachers, if your school does not already have a subscription, now may be the time to ask! It’s hard to find a site that can provide interdisciplinary lesson plans with a variety of digital (and printable) sources to support teaching and learning. But pulls it off. It’s a digital repository of lessons, worksheets, activities, games, and much more.

Worried about the summer slide, especially post emergency shutdowns? Well, there is a summer boost section to prepare youngsters for transition to their next level of learning. It's very organized so caregivers do not have to devote extra time to curate the most appropriate sources.

The best part is that the content is created and vetted by educators. Again, there's a price tag, BUT there are monthly membership options, which can be canceled anytime permitting a low-risk test drive. Maybe sign up for the remainder of the summer and pick it up again during breaks. It's really an extensive collection.

Hope this information helps my fellow educators and caregivers get ready for the upcoming school year!

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