Coronavirus: Home education resources for schools, teachers and parents

3/24/2020

A range of resources and education services are being offered to schools and parents to help support the home education of students during the coronavirus crisis. Dorothy Lepkowska on behalf of SecEd Magazine looks at some of what is out there, including a number of free-access resources.

As the education sector unites in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and the partial school closures, a wide range of organisations are offering learning resources, technological solutions and other services – often free of charge.

One of the main considerations when seeking to use online resources is how well-equipped your pupils are to work from home using technology.

You may find that there is a mismatch among the pupils in your classes in terms of availability of devices, internet access and the conductivity of the environment for study.

One useful resource to help you gauge your families’ readiness for technology-use is a simple-to-use questionnaire compiled by the edtech company Edurio. This consists of a simple set of questions you can ask your parents to understand their readiness for a home schooling scenario and to identify where they may need support: https://home.edurio.com/parent-survey-about-the-coronavirus-covid-19

Meanwhile, the Department for Education (DfE) has said “more information will follow about what DfE is doing to support parents”, adding: “We are working with the BBC and others to provide resources for children to access while at home.”

Furthermore, SecEd published earlier this week two articles by former school leader Matt Bromley looking at how to support home learning and also what kind of provision we should be trying to offer in-school for those children still attending (see Bromley, 2020).

With that in mind, the following list includes companies whose services might be of use to schools or families, those organisations offering free resources, and firms offering free access to services in light of the current crisis.

The list is intended to help to guide and inform, but is not comprehensive and inclusion is not an endorsement by SecEd.

Cross-curricular resources
  • Adobe Education Exchange: Free resources, workshops and teaching materials. All ages: https://edex.adobe.com
  • Atom Learning: Personalised learning in English and maths, using teacher-led content. Key stage 2: https://atomlearning.co.uk/
  • BBC Bitesize: Over the coming weeks, the BBC will be offering daily content to support families with home learning and issues of wellbeing: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
  • BrainPOP: Cross-curricular resources using topics and themes. BrainPOP has offered “free, unlimited use of BrainPOP to any school, anywhere, that is closed due to the coronavirus during the period of their closure”. All ages: https://go.brainpop.com/accessrequest
  • Century Tech: English, maths and science resources for free to all schools and students affected by coronavirus school closures. All ages: www.century.tech/coronavirus-support/
  • Discovery Education: Videos, interactive activities, or complete, ready-to-use lesson plans in maths, science and social studies. All ages: www.discoveryeducation.com/virtual-learning
  • Earwig Academic: A package for teachers to support teaching evidence, making assessments, tracking progress and reporting. Parents and pupils can upload work and communicate safely with teachers. During the coronavirus crisis, Earwig Lite is free to “anyone who needs it”. All ages: https://earwigacademic.com/
  • Highlights Kids: Read, play games and conduct science experiments. Primary age: www.highlightskids.com
  • Hungry Little Minds: Government supported. Activities for parents with children aged under five: https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/
  • Twinkl: Learning resources, planning and assessment materials. The company has created free home learning and school closure packs. All ages: www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/covid19-school-closures
  • Seneca Learning: A free online learning platform. Key stages 2, 3 and 4: www.senecalearning.com
  • Tassomai: Bite-sized learning, using quizzes and short videos. Key stages 3 and 4. Free access to schools affected by coronavirus closures: www.tassomai.com

Other home learning support
  • Firefly Learning: Provides access to online learning. Offering free access to its platform until the end of the summer term: www.fireflylearning.com
  • HomeLearningUK: A curated resource for schools, students and parents designed to share ideas, solutions, plans and support: https://homelearninguk.weebly.com/
  • Kaligo Apps: Handwriting resource, designed to teach students how to write using a stylus and tablet, built on an AI machine learning platform. Ages 3 to 8: www.kaligo-apps.com
  • Microsoft Family: Family-led learning ideas and activities for children. Ages 3 to 12: https://education.microsoft.com/en-us/resource/755e5a8b
  • MyTutor: Matches students with tutors online to provide one-to-one tuition: www.mytutor.co.uk
  • Spaghetti Brain: Offers real-time strategies for children to support homework and understanding: www.spaghettibrain.co.uk


English/literacy/reading
  • Audible: Free audiobooks. All ages: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
  • Bedrock Learning: Resources designed to broaden children’s vocabulary including Tier 2 words, root words and academic verbs. Free access for all schools closed due to coronavirus. Key stages 1 to 4: www.bedrocklearning.org/coronavirus-support
  • Chatta: Teaching approach linking images with language for communication development. Early years to key stage 5: https://chattalearning.com/
  • Englicious: Free English language teaching resources, including exercises, projects and games. All ages: http://englicious.org/
  • Happy English: English, grammar and phonics. All ages: https://happyenglishuk.com
  • Hopscotch Books: SecEd’s sister publishing house is offering free activities and resources for primary-age children (https://bit.ly/2WKNE3E) and a free download to help families plan home learning via books (https://bit.ly/2QCEylO). More resources will become available in due course: www.hopscotchbooks.com
  • Literacy shed: Animations on different topics to inspire children to write. Mainly key stages 1 and 2: www.literacyshed.com
  • Litfilmfest: Writing resources. To support schools and families, Litfilmfest is releasing videos every weekday at 10:30am. Key stages 1 to 3: https://litfilmfest.com/playlists/
  • National Literacy Trust Family Zone: Advice and information for parents teaching from home during school closures. Ages 0 to 12: https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/
  • Oaka Books: Resources for pupils who have dyslexia. Key stages 1 to 3: www.oakabooks.co.uk
  • Phonics Play: Phonics learning for early years and key stage 1. Free access for children during the coronavirus crisis: www.phonicsplay.co.uk
  • Pobble 365: Provides a photo stimulus for a writing task every day. All ages: www.pobble365.com
  • Zaprendo: Personalised learning tools and experiences for English and phonics learning. All ages: https://zaprendo.com/
STEM
  • Kide Science: Scientific thinking through play-based learning. For parents or teachers. Ages 3 to 8: https://kidescience.com
  • Knowledgehook: US website offering maths resources to help teacher lesson delivery. During school closures, all teachers get premium access for free: www.knowledgehook.com
  • MangaHigh: Game-based learning in maths and coding. Free access for at least 60 days to schools affected by Covid-19. Ages 7 to 16: www.mangahigh.com
  • Mathigon: US website offering interactive maths resources designed to achieve mastery. Key stages 3, 4, 5: https://mathigon.org/
  • Mathspire: An app to support the teaching and learning of A level maths. It is offering schools free access to independent learning content: https://mathspire.com/
  • Maths-Whizz: Online maths tuition for five to 13-year olds: www.whizz.com
  • MEL Science: Free science experiments that can be carried out with kitchen ingredients. Key stages 1 to 4. Free home learning webinars for the next three months: https://melscience.com/GB-en/articles/ & https://melscience.com/GB-en/academy/
  • MessingAroundWith: Educational apps that encourage children to learn through play and solve problems. Key stages 1 and 2: https://messingaroundwith.com/
  • NatureBytes: Kits to help anybody develop digital skills and reconnect with nature. All ages: http://naturebytes.org/about/
  • Numbermix: Maths activities and projects. Ages 3 to 14: www.numbermix.com
  • Prodigy: Engaging young people in maths through games. Ages 6 to 14: www.prodigygame.com
  • Siemens: Student zone includes DIY science experiments and interactive games: https://new.siemens.com/uk/en/company/education/students.html
  • STEM Learning: In light of the outbreak, STEM Learning is offering remote teaching support, CPD and online access to its STEM Ambassadors. Free access. All ages: www.stem.org.uk/home-learning

Coding and IT
  • Acorn Aspirations: Activities for bridging the digital skills gap. Ages 12 to 18: http://acornaspirations.com/
  • Blockly Games: Educational games for pupils who have not had prior experience with computer programming: https://blockly.games/
  • Blue Shift Coding: One-to-one tutoring in coding for 7 to 14-year olds: https://blueshiftcoding.com/
  • BT Skills for Tomorrow: Tech skills to prepare students for the workplace. Resources for teachers as well: www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/
  • Codecademy: Web development and data science skills activities. In light of coronavirus, it is offering 10,000 scholarships to Codecademy Pro for free to high school and college students for the rest of the school year: https://pro.codecademy.com/learn-from-home/
  • Kano: Coding and design. All ages: https://kano.me/uk/education
  • Snapplify: Resources to support digital education for students and schools: www.snapplify.com
  • Swop Bots: Stories and games for schools and families to encourage the next generation of coders. Age 8 and over: https://swopbots.com/
  • Twin Science: Teaches basic coding and programming. Ages 8 and over: www.twinscience.com
  • Tynker: Encouraging children to create, code, make websites and design games. Free access to its premium service during the school closures. Ages 5 and over: www.tynker.com
  • Creative and arts subjects
  • Charanga: A library of songs, topics, instrument courses and creative apps for music education. All ages: https://charanga.com
  • Chrome Music Lab: Builds on children’s creativity and musical ear: https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/
  • Creative Bug: Offers craft lessons, such as knitting, jewellery-making, drawing and origami: www.creativebug.com
  • Culture Tree: Cultural and recreational resources to promote and preserve African arts, languages and culture. All ages: www.culturetree.co.uk
  • Musemio: Offers a cultural curriculum using virtual reality. Ages 8 and over: www.musemio.com
  • Musical Futures: Has published a blog listing 10 useful resources for music education: www.musicalfutures.org/musical-futures-blog/top-10-resources-music-teachers-planning-students-working-home
  • Musitude: Play a musical instrument using a qwerty keyboard: https://musitude.com/
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Big History Project: Explores the past, present and the future through a series of resources: https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive
  • Duolingo: A free language-learning website offering short daily lessons: www.duolingo.com
  • Preply: Online modern foreign languages tutoring: https://preply.com/
  • Mr Allsop History: GCSE and A level resources: www.mrallsophistory.com/revision/
  • World Geography Games: Learning about the world through games. All ages: https://world-geography-games.com/index.html
  • Exercise, mental health and wellbeing
  • imoves: Home learning resources to help young people stay focused, active and mentally healthy. Primary-age: https://imoves.com/the-imovement
  • Ketka: Audio experiences to promote good mental health and wellbeing, social and emotional growth: https://ketka.co.uk/
  • PE with Joe: Daily exercise classes live on YouTube with a qualified fitness instructor: www.thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html
  • Young Minds UK: Offers advice, information and blogs on promoting good mental health during times of isolation and lockdown: https://youngminds.org.uk/
Specific coronavirus advice/teaching
  • Covid-19 anxiety: SecEd author Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers support for mental health and wellbeing via her YouTube channel, including a recent post on ways to guard good mental health in light of the coronavirus outbreak: https://bit.ly/2wxCAMO
  • Elsa Support: A coronavirus story for children: www.elsa-support.co.uk/coronavirus-story-for-children
  • Little Puddins: A coronavirus story aimed at students with autism/SEN by Amanda McGuiness: https://littlepuddins.ie/coronavirus-social-story/
  • Just For Kids: A comic exploring the coronavirus, based on a radio story from NPR education reporter Cory Turner: https://n.pr/3dssaOW
  • Public Health England: A range of resources to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene. Key stages 1 to 3: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools

Dorothy Lepkowska is a freelance education writer.

Further information & resources
Bromley/SecEd: Coronavirus: Supporting families and pupils learning from home, March 21, 2020a: https://bit.ly/39eBJho
Bromley/SecEd: Coronavirus: Provision and teaching in school during the crisis, March 23, 2020b: https://bit.ly/2y5nXkp

Author: Dorothy Lepkowska on behalf of SecEd Magazine