Web-based Learning Resources
ABC Life Literacy’s “Who Wants to Learn?” research found that of those who state that they might take a literacy program in the next five years, just under a third are extremely interested in using the Internet to take an upgrading program, while an almost equal number are not at all interested in the Internet option. OLC’s “Seeing the Need; Meeting the Need” found that one of the top expectations (for 34% of learners) from enrolling in a literacy program was to gain better computer and Internet skills.
Using computers and the Internet can be very appealing to some. It can be a great hook to get people into literacy agencies and keep them there because they may feel more comfortable upgrading their computer skills than improving their literacy skills. As well, using computers is a highly tangible skill. People can experience learning and success quickly.
With web-based learning, the world is your oyster! Since using engaging learning materials helps with retention, be creative and find resources that will be of interest to learners in your literacy agency. You will find a wealth of useful learning resources on the Internet for learners. Some effective web-based learning materials recommended by literacy practitioners include:
This American site provides a variety of learning activities in reading and writing, math, social sciences, etc. Daily themes are also included. Although it is designed for school-aged children, the activities can also be used in literacy programs. You can view and print sample worksheets and activities, but you do need to subscribe to use all of the site’s features (including answer keys). Subscriptions range from $20 to $40US per year.
2Learn.ca (The Telus Learning Connection): www.2learn.ca/
This Canadian site supports both students and teachers. Like many other sites, it is designed for traditional school-aged children. It features interactive activities, so learning can incorporate both computer use and academic skill building. Many of the graphics may not be appropriate for adult learners, but not all activities use graphics.
How Stuff Works: www.howstuffworks.com
This site is a great resource for finding out all sorts of information. There is information about a wide variety of topics including computers, entertainment, money, cars and so on. It would be useful for adult learners who are doing research or who are just interested in finding out about things.
This is an online almanac, dictionary and encyclopedia all rolled into one. It is designed for children, so adults might not like the graphics. It is also an American site, so it won’t be useful for finding Canadian facts. It does, however, have some good interactive tools including flashcards, math games and hangman.
The Key Newspaper for New Readers: www.keynews.org
This American site rewrites current events in clear language and includes lesson plans to accompany the articles. All material is free of copyright for not-for-profit educational uses. The Key has been published monthly since 1988.
Many newspapers feature special articles and links designed for educational use. Although articles tend to be designed for school-aged children, they are worth investigating for activities that can be adapted for adult literacy student. Newspapers and other online media outlets may also allow for reproduction of their articles, but copyright rules will vary with each media outlet, so be sure to review them before printing anything.
The Quebec English Literacy Alliance: www.qela.qc.ca/
The “teaching and learning tools” link at this Canadian site provides activity sheets for eight themes, links to other useful sites and lesson plans. The themes include banking, hobbies, jobs, food, computers, basic skills, sports and a story of the week. Each theme offers interactive activities as well as printable activities. Some activities also include answer sheets.
Crossword Express: www.crauswords.com
This site offers a variety of puzzles from crosswords to sudokus. You can use the site free of charge if you do the puzzles online, but if you want to create and print out puzzles, you need to pay a registration fee. There is a light version available for $35 US and a pro version for $144 US. Before registering, however, be sure to try out the demonstration version to see if this program is what you are looking for. Crossword Express works on both Windows and Mac.
This British site provides a wide variety of free and family-friendly interactive puzzles, from brainteasers to jigsaws. They also provide links to other game and puzzle sites.
RHL School: www.rhlschool.com
This free site provides printable worksheets for reading and math. Answers are also provided.
The Owl at Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl
Produced by Purdue University in the U.S., this site provides online writing instruction, interactive activities, printer-ready handouts and answer keys. Topic areas include general academic writing, job search writing and grammar. It is useful for both ESL and higher level literacy learners.
Grammar Bytes: www.chompchomp.com
This site bills itself as “grammar instruction with attitude”. It provides grammar tips and rules and a variety of interactive exercises. You can also choose a printable format for the exercises. Answer keys are provided. This site is more suited to higher level learners.
Grammar Basics: www.englishchick.com/grammar/grrem.htm
This site covers all of the basic rules of English grammar such as parts of speech, writing sentences and so on. It is useful for learning the rules, but it does not provide any worksheets or exercises.
S&S Software: www.sssoftware.com/freeworksheets/
This site provides free mathematics worksheets for both whole numbers and decimals. Answer keys are also provided. New material is added weekly. The worksheets are printable.
Mrs. Glosser’s Math Goodies: www.mathgoodies.com
This site provides free interactive worksheets, lessons and puzzles. It has been operating since 1998 and has won a variety of awards. Users can subscribe to a free newsletter. Although some of the graphics on the site are more suitable for children than for adults, the worksheets print out graphic-free.
APlus Math: www.aplusmath.com
This interactive site features puzzles, worksheets, a game room and flashcards. When you first click on a worksheet, you are taken to an interactive page so that students can complete the math questions on the computer. You are also given the option of creating a printable page. Answers are also provided.
Money Instructor: www.moneyinstructor.com
This adult-oriented site provides instruction on topics related to money and personal finances. There are both interactive exercises and printable worksheets for many skills including counting money, spending money and saving money. Although this is an American site, you can have the worksheets developed using Canadian currency. You do have to register to access the worksheets. The site offers free registration which gives limited access or a full membership for $29.95 US per year.