Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tech Tips Tuesday

This guest post was written by education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes for PharmacyTechnicianCertification.com.

20 Free Summer School Resources for Students

Studies have shown that kids experience learning loss from grade to grade if they do not participate in educational activities on their summer break. Of course, convincing kids to study during the summer is no easy feat. Turning to the Internet may be one of the best ways to keep them engaged and interested in academic activities. When kids are online, they don't usually feel like they're studying--especially if they're having fun. Here are 20 sites your student can try throughout the summer.

Book Adventure - Designed for K-8 students, this free reading motivation program allows children to create their own book list, get reading recommendations, take quizzes about books they have read, and earn points and prizes for their efforts.

Big Universe - Big Universe is an award-winning site for both reluctant readers and creative kids. Registered members can read hundreds of books and take quizzes to test their comprehension. Big Universe also offers a unique tool that allows users to create, print, and publish animated e-books.

MeeGenius - MeeGenius is an online picture book library for kids. Library patrons can read books, personalize books with their own name, and share the books they read and personalize with other people.

Read Print - This online library provides more than 8,000 classic books, poems, and plays that can be read for free online. Children's favorites include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Little Women.

Librivox - Librivox is a good source for free audio books. The site's volunteers have recorded thousands of books that are in the public domain. MP3 and ogg files are available for many of the best-loved classes.

365 Pictures - 365 Pictures offers writing prompts to inspire creativity. A new photo prompt is published each day. Old prompts are also available in the site's archive.

Whyville - Whyville is a social learning community for kids. After becoming Whyville citizens, children can chat, play games, and learn about science, math, art, and more.

Seussville - Seussville provides a wide range of games based on Dr. Seuss' books. Site visitors can also listen to music and sign up to win free books.

Tutpup - This free, award-winning site provides a safe place for children to play educational games and challenge other students around the world. Game categories include spelling, times tables, basic math, and algebra.

Math Playground - Designed for elementary and middle school students, Math Playground offers math games, logic puzzles, word problems, math videos, and other resources to keep kids up-to-date on their math skills throughout the summer.

Arcademic Skill Builders - This site offers free single-player and multi-player arcade games that can be played online. All of the games are educational and designed to maintain and approve academic skills.

Canvastic.net - Canvastic.net if a web-based graphics tool for K-8 students. The free version has many useful features, but does include advertisements. An upgraded version without ads is available for a small fee.

Tux Paint - Tux Paint is an open source drawing program for children age 3 and up. The program provides easy-to-use drawing tools, sound effects, and a helpful cartoon mascot.

Crayola.com - Students can express their creativity and work on their art skills in Crayola's Creativity Center. The site offers a card maker, certificate maker, games, and more.

Stellarium - Stellarium is like a planetarium for your computer. The software is free to download and displays a realistic night sky on your desktop.

International Space Station - NASA offers a wide range of information about the International Space Station on their website. Students can view videos, photos, and details of current missions.

National Zoo Web Cams - Children can tour the Smithsonian Nation Zoological Park over the summer by tuning into the zoo's live web cams. Some of the animals that can be viewed include fish, otters, ferrets, cheetah, leopards, fishing cats, lions, tigers, pandas, gorillas, and flamingos.

FreeRice - This UN World Food Program site is good for older students who like trivia and community service. Every time a trivia question is answered correctly, rice is donated to the hungry. Trivia categories include art, chemistry, English, math, foreign languages, and geography.

Yugma - Yugma is a free web-based conferencing tool that would work well for students who need off-site tutoring over the summer. The tool allows users to share desktops and meet with up to 20 people at once.

BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper - BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper is an excellent place to find additional summer school resources. The site links to resources all over the web. Resource categories include art, music, computer science, English, math, science, health, foreign languages, and social studies.