When I first started writing this blog, I had links to several kids’ sites that had a lot of great information. However, the more I wrote, the more uncomfortable I became with just providing these links. In authentic teaching and learning, you want the student to own their research. Providing links to educational sites, even wonderful sites, takes that ownership away from the student. Ownership is a HUGE part of authentic learning. And students finding their own information on line is part of that ownership. Even the youngest students can be guided through the steps to find good information on line.
So, after much deliberation, I took the blogs with the links off of my site. It just seemed like it made it too easy, it took the ownership, and excitement, of finding a good source of information away from the kids. Honestly, some of the best sites I knew about were sites my students had found themselves, and introduced me to. Like some really, really phenomenal sites!
Kids do, of course, need guidance and often need help to find the information they need for a project. They need to be taught how to evaluate the source of their information. Also, be careful to look at what they have found. Many sites, even with the best of intentions, dumb down their material. Finding a site about space that has games where you are simply blowing up aliens to score points does not teach a child about space. (It doesn’t teach math either, contrary to what some of these sites claim.)
I have found that government agencies usually have great kids’ sites as part of their website. For example, go to a government site for weather, and you are bound to find a great website for educators and kids. Many universities also have great education sites on many topics.
If you and/or your students are really stuck finding some good sites for information for a project, please email me through this blog. As I have stated often, I am passionate about authentic learning, and am happy to help out.