How Educational Websites Can Boost Your Child’s School Performance - dummies

How Educational Websites Can Boost Your Child’s School Performance

By Amy Lupold Bair

The dangers of the online world have been greatly debated in educational, medical, and parenting communities for years. While concerns about too much screen time, social media addiction, and a sedentary lifestyle are certainly valid, there are also many positive effects of raising children in a digital world. The Internet has provided parents and children with countless educational resources, all just a click of the mouse away:

  • Scientists at the University of Rochester have found that online games can actually improve certain aspects of cognition. They also believe that these skills translate from the online world to the real world including providing gaming kids with an advantage on tests of skills such as attention and multitasking. This same research indicates increased creativity in students who spend time engaging in online games, both educational and entertainment based.

  • The online educator, K12, Inc., has found that education games in particular help engage students with the content they are learning both offline and online. Their research looked specifically at areas where students were struggling, such as science and math, and found that educational games helped them grasp difficult concepts.

  • Educational websites also provide parents with an opportunity to engage with their children around the concept of learning in a new and fun way. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop found that when children and adults play educational games together, the child’s offline learning was supported in a new and effective way. In fact, many teachers are embracing this concept by including time on educational websites as part of homework assignments. In this case, the practice time online via teacher-approved educational sites reinforces the skills taught in the classroom during the day. The educational sites provide the same type of at-home practice as worksheets, but in a much more dynamic and interactive way.

As with all digital topics, be sure to screen the educational sites ahead of time before allowing your children to utilize them. You should also check the site for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance and talk to your children about the dangers of sharing any personal information online. Ask your child’s teacher or guidance department for a list of education websites that are most in-line with your child’s school curriculum and ability level.