In what seems like a bygone era today, children used large, often dusty encyclopedias to help them complete school research projects. Reference resources such as encyclopedias, almanacs, and dictionaries can now be accessed much more online. These online resources provide a fantastic research tool and students may end up spending many hours clicking on links as their curiosity leads them to different topics and new intellectual horizons. However, with an incredible proliferation of online resources for kids to use, you can be sure which one best suits your needs. More importantly, which ones offer the most security to young Internet explorers?
There are generally two broad categories of online referral resources. One consists of unstructured websites, targeted at the general public. Perhaps the best example of such a resource is Wikipedia, which probably offers the largest database of information on the entire web. Wikipedia has already gained notoriety in schools and is regularly used by young students as an introduction to new and unfamiliar topics.
Although Wikipedia is breathtaking in size and scale, there are some reasons why Wikipedia and other general reference materials may not be the most appropriate online resources for school students. First, the language of articles is generally geared toward an adult audience, with technical terms that can be a little disconcerting to a young mind that is just beginning to understand a topic. In addition, the subject on general websites like Wikipedia covers a wide range of subjects, some of which may be unsuitable for children. Unfortunately, the ease with which a young person can click on a highlighted word and be confronted by a different page facilitates access to inappropriate material.
The second category of resources, covering child-specific sites tailored directly to their needs, avoids some of the problems found on sites such as Wikipedia. The language of the articles is written with a young reader in mind, which means that the fundamentals of the topic are spelled out in clear language without being obscured by technical jargon. In addition, the scope of information available is limited to appropriate subjects that, while allowing a wide range of topics to inspire curious minds, also keep children safe.
In addition to these benefits, the structured nature of sites like British Primary can really help children make the most of the search experience. Interesting information databases are complemented by custom workspaces, online classes, interactive media, and other cool features that engage students and optimize their learning. Thus, these personalized reference resources are a fantastic learning tool, enabling educators to complement classroom teaching with self-directed, self-directed learning opportunities, which can be a crucial skill as students progress in education.