Six Excellent Sites to help with Cultural Studies


A candid review of six sites that might prove helpful in the Montessori classroom as students explore cultural studies:


Library of Congress.

This is a great source of information. It is easy to browse and look up information. The website contains a huge collection of books, documentary films/videos, photos, prints, drawings, etc. However, as with many other online libraries, the information is not always up to date. For educators and students, this is also a very good source for teaching and learning. The online library "offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections". This resource offers a lot of books for different target learners (kids, teens, adults, educators, and parents). These can be found from read.gov, which is linked to the library of Congress website. For students who like poetry, history, and science, this is a good source to look up. Teachers also can find many useful classroom materials such as lesson plans, presentations, and activities. However, this online library contains more materials related to history, culture, and arts, so most of the provided classroom materials for teachers are related to these topics.


Smithsonian Education

This is an awesome source for educators and students. Educators can find many helpful lesson plans of Art and Design, Science and Technology, History and Culture, and Language Arts that can be used in their classrooms. The learning materials are designed very nicely. Teachers can download the materials and use them directly in the classroom. They also made some videos for learning materials that educators can show to their students. For students, this is a great website in which to learn and play. The website offers different topics, such as Everything Art, Science and Nature, History and Culture, and People and Places. Besides providing learning materials, Smithsonian Education has games and activities for each topic. Therefore, students can both learn and play on this site. Also, the information is usually illustrated with pictures that are more appealing to students and help them to understand the learning materials better.


Khan Academy

This is a great source for teaching and learning. Khan Academy supplies a wide range of topics from math, science, engineering, and computing, to arts, humanities, economic, and finance. However, math seems to be the primary focus on this website. The lessons are delivered in the form of videos, which are easier for students to follow and understand. Both students and teachers can find many good lessons from this website. Even college students can find many lessons they need from this website. For parents, who want to use this website to teach their kids, they probably need to be aware that the website brings the best benefits for kids with "procedural help" rather than "conceptual understanding". Teachers can use the videos from this website to provide more informed lectures and help their students to better understand the lessons. Students can find many lessons being taught in a face to face class. However, they can review again if there is something that they still don't understand.


TED Ed

TED Edu can be one of the greatest source for learning. However, most of what posted here targets high school students. However, that doesn't meant students of pre K-10 cannot find lot of useful and interesting lessons and subjects there. Ted Edu creates explanatory animation videos on a wide range of topics from arts, science, and technology, to social studies. Unlike like many other learning websites that offer lessons for teaching the subject, materials from this site are more supportive in nature. They provide information that is "great to know", so teachers can use the lessons and videos from the site to complement the classroom instruction. The topics being taught in this website are up to date. Teachers can pick some videos that relate to the teaching content, and let their students watch and discuss the topic content afterward. Students can find many interesting topics related to their classes in order to expand the knowledge or get a better understanding of an issue. Short animation videos help to answer lots of questions in many subjects for students in a creative and fun way that really engages them in learning. One interesting feature from this website for educators is that it allows teachers to create an account. From here, teachers can create a lesson and let their students join and discuss it.


CK-12

This is a wonderful source for K-12 students. It provides quality lessons in STEM subjects. Math and science are the focus of this site. The content is very interactive and makes use of multimedia tools. Students engage in more active learning on this website, as it allows them to interact and practice what they have learned immediately. They can watch the video and do the quizzes afterward. The FlexBooks system allows users to save, contribute, and share the content with the others. Teachers can also download FlexBooks and edit their content if needed to be suitable for their students. Students also are able to save or bookmark the content where they left off and come back to it later. In addition, if students want to study with the others, they can create a group to share, discuss, and learn with their teammates. For educators, Dashboard is a great system that allows them to create a class group on the website. Teachers can add content, assign homework, track student progress, and even have class discussion. They also have free K-12 Apps for tablets and phones that allow students to access from anywhere, anytime.


Google Arts and Culture

This is an interesting app that "created an experiment that matches your selfie with art from the collections of museums on Google Arts & Culture" (Google). For education, the App contains a great collection of artwork, videos, and photos that is a great source for learning about arts and different cultures of the world. Google Arts and Culture help to enrich the lesson with some highlight features, such as 360  videos that allows students to experience culture in 360 degree video or virtual reality tours that allow students to step inside world-class museums. Those features can make the experience similar to going on a field trip for students. In addition, students can take virtual reality tours of historical sites and museums to learn about history.



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