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6 Sites that Help Students Learn

Americans live in an increasingly plugged-in world. A 2009 study by the Pew Research Center found that 93 percent of teens and young adults age 12 to 29 use the Internet. Of that number, 68 percent use the Internet to get news about current events and politics, 73 percent use social networking services, and 38 percent share content online. Given how wired today’s students are, campus-based and online colleges are also seeking to leverage Web technologies to help students learn.

From Internet-based research to classroom Web sites that mimic social media platforms, professors and teachers are looking to take learning to where students are spending their time–online. However, these new technologies do concern some folks. The wealth of information available on the Internet has led to new issues with plagiarism and copyright violations, and students and teachers alike sometimes worry about privacy in a world in which everything from grades to dating news is online.

Top 6 Web Sites for Students

Successful online learning requires knowing which Web sites to use and how to use them. Some sites may be great for research while others offer practice tests or opportunities to collaborate with classmates. Check out our top 6 Web sites (in no particular order) that help students learn, and find out if your favorite sites made the cut:

      1. Wikipedia. An oldie but a goodie, this popular online encyclopedia is free, and all the content is created by users. The downside of free knowledge? Some of it can be outdated, opinion-based, or simply inaccurate. Scroll to the bottom of each page to find links to primary sources that most instructors will accept in a typical research paper.

     

      1. Amazon. Curious about the Crimean War? Want the basics on DNA? At this pioneering online bookseller, you can find a wide range of new and used books available for purchase, including textbooks or out-of-print academic volumes. With one of the many e-readers popping up (seemingly on a daily basis), you can take your personal library with you.

     

      1. Grockit. Test prep meets social media. At this site, you collaborate online with other students on lessons and diagnostics. The site fuses the interactive fun of Facebook with the high-level learning of a focused study group.

     

      1. Knewton. This adaptive learning site assesses what each student knows and how each student learns best. Gone are the days of struggling to get through an impossible textbook chapter to catch up to other students in the class. Students now learn using videos, dynamic lessons, and an adaptive learning engine. They are bringing data mining to education.

     

      1. EducationalRap. Remember School House Rock? The old school style of learning songs gets a timely upgrade with catchy hip-hop beats. Winner of two 2009 Parents’ Choice Awards, this site features raps on everything from the 50 states to fractions.

     

      1. BlackBoard. For college students, this online learning platform is a simple way to interact with classmates and teachers on the Web. Teachers control the way content is delivered, and students can submit assignments, chat in private forums, and read what others are saying.

     

    As the Internet evolves, the next generation of learners will be even more Web-savvy, with heightened expectations with regard to how to learn online efficiently. Certain sites will rise to the challenge while others go the way of Lycos, Alta Vista, and other platforms that couldn’t stand the test of time. These sites seems to be making a difference now.

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