Chapter 6.............Fostering Online Learning with Educational Websites and Apps


Key Topics

Educational Websites...........

Educational Apps.............

Virtual Schools & Online Learning..................

WebQuests and Virtual Field Trips


Computer.pngGo to Common Sense Graphite for reviews of the best apps, games, websites and digital materials.

external image US-LibraryOfCongress-BookLogo.svg

Educational Websites



external image Smithsonian_logo_color.svg
National Jukebox from the Library of Congress offers historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge.


Thinkfinity from Verizon Foundation selected as top website for free educational resources.


Annenberg Learner Interactives offer engaging online activities for all grade levels and subject fields.



Click here for an e-Comic on Asian American history from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

9 Amazing Math Websites You Should Explore

Screen Shot 2016-09-10 at 1.47.42 PM.pngClick here to go the Digital Library of America (DPLA).

external image Stack.pngFor a range of resources, see Online Interactive Learning Resources, a tag bundle we created on Delicious


Different Types of Educational Websites
  1. Lesson Plan websites
  2. Student-to-expert communication websites (for example: Ask a Stat from BaseballAnalytics.org
  3. Real-time and recorded data websites
  4. Archival and primary source websites
  5. Skills/Practice websites
  6. Exploration and discovery websites

Educational Apps

Screenshot Wikimedia Commons app
Screenshot Wikimedia Commons app

Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved by Teachers from New Canaan High School in Connecticut librarian Michelle Luhtala (2014)

Favorite Tech Tools for Social Studies Classes from Mindshift

Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators (December. 2012). This report concludes that while digital products aimed at building literacy skills in young children are a significant segment of the market, many of these products may not be providing the educational benefit they claim.

4 Great Rubrics to Help You Select Educational Apps from the website Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Different Types of Educational Apps

The 10 Types of Educational Apps and When to Use Them, Carolina Nugent, posted on KinderTown, July 28, 2012 provides a useful framework for categorizing apps. Teachers and students can investigate different apps and assign them to the category they best represent.
  1. Classroom and Educational Best Practices
  2. Playful Learning
  3. e-Books
  4. Workbooks/Worksheets
  5. Puzzles and Games
  6. Hobby and Themes
  7. Interactive Encyclopedias
  8. BYOC (Build Your Own Content)
  9. Expressive Play
  10. Content Exposure

4 Great Rubrics to Help You Select Educational Apps from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog/

Virtual Schools and Online Learning


Clicks and Bricks
The immediate future of education will include systems that combine "bricks" (school buildings and traditionally arranged classrooms) and "clicks" (computer-based and outside-of-school learning opportunities).

Research on Online Learning

Virtual, Blended Schools Growing Despite Struggles, Analysis Finds. Digital Ed Blog, April 20, 2016

Online Charter School Study 2015 from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, Stanford University.
  • Students who take classes over the Internet through online charter schools make dramatically less academic progress than their counterparts in traditional schools
external image Reports.gifKeeping Pace with Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (2012) from Evergreen Education Group.

  • Blended learning involves students learning through a combination of online and traditional methods.
  • 619,847 course enrollments (one student taking a one-semester-long online course) in 28 state virtual schools in 2011-12, an increase of 16% since last year.
  • Two-thirds of the nation's 14,000 school districts had some form of online learning in 2012


K12 Faces Plenty of Criticism, from The Recorder (June 29, 2013) reports on issues facing the cyber-school contractor K12 in states around the nation.

external image Reports.gifDigital Learning Report Card, 2012 gives state by state rankings for the use of online and blended learning in K-12 schools.

Eighth-Graders and Algebra: Making the Case for Online Learning. Peggy Clements & Jessica Heppen, THE Journal, July 2. 2012. This study found that "students who took the online course knew more algebra at the end of eighth grade than did students who took the usual curriculum (in what we call control schools), with an effect roughly equivalent to moving from the 50th to the 66th percentile in algebra achievement."

The Portland (Maine) Press Herald did a series on virtual schools in 2012.

external image Reports.gifOnline K-12 Schooling in the U.S.: Private Ventures in Need of Public Regulation. Gene V. Glass & Kevin G. Weber, University of Colorado Boulder, October 2011.

See also Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools. Gary Miron & Jessica Urschel. University of Colorado Boulder, July 2012.

external image Reports.gif"Interaction is crucial to student satisfaction in online courses. Adding synchronous components (virtual classroom technologies) to online courses can facilitate interaction" is the key finding of a new study: "Examining Interactivity in Synchronous Virtual Classrooms." International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 2012;13(3):228-261.

How the Big Three Publishers are Approaching iPad Textbooks from THE Journal (November 2012).


WebQuests and Virtual Field Trips

What Google's Virtual Field Trips Look Like in the Classroom (July 23, 2015)

20 Wonderful Online Museums and Sites for Virtual Field Trips (January 27, 2014).

Guide to Virtual Field Trips from the site Simple K-12.

10 Web Resources for Digital Field Trips to Museums from Edudemic (October 2013).

5 Ways to Make the Most of Virtual Field Trips

Selected sites for Virtual Field Trips (from Teacher Advocate Magazine, Spring 2013)
  • Google Art Projects
  • Google Sky
  • Smithsonian
  • Panoramas
  • Oxford University of Museum of Natural History
  • 360 Panoramic Tour of the United States