I am mostly a fiction reader, although I find that DK books are the exception. I love the fantastic photography and often take a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide on holiday with me. While as an education consultant and mum, I think the DK children’s books are great; even non-readers can access them due to the high quality pictures and labelling.
So imagine my excitement when DK launched a new free education resource for Primary aged kids, particularly aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils. DKfindout! is the books in website form. It is a fantastic interactive resource for both school and home – and the best bit is it is still being developed. It means DK are open to suggestions as to what is needed and can be added. This is especially perfect timing for the new national curriculum. Some of the new topic are proving difficult to research and share with kids as there is so little – and often unsuitable – information online.
Money and teacher resources might be quite tight in schools at the moment but teachers still need to teach The Iron Age - and good interactive resources are scarce. DKfindout! is so easy to use and it is free; just enter a topic into the search box and get back a list of easily accessible headings. So type in Celts and you get nine headings including Who were the Celts?, Celtic Lands, Celtic Warriors, and Boudicca. Then just click on a heading and get taken to a page full of information; unlike other website there is not reams and reams of text to plough through. The facts appears in small digestible chunks with links to further pages and images.
I also tried DKfindout! for my son’s homework as it has fun facts for kids and is a great place for homework help online. He was doing a topic on Polar Regions and had to do some research on the wildlife. He decided to find out about penguins and was so excited to find the button that allowed him to hear what a penguin sounds like. Also from an online safety point of view, I knew he would not stumble across anything I might not want him to see or learn about right now (he’s only seven). There is also the chance for interactive learning through the quizzes (which my son loves), with more interactivity to come as the website is built.
Most excitingly, I think, teachers can get their classes to be a critical voice and let the DKfindout! team know what they think and what subjects, topics and content they would like to see on DKfindout! to help them with school and homework (or for their general interest). This offers real ownership of the website to the kids.
I don’t often get excited about a website as I know there are a lot out there; usually I use one for a bit and then forget about it. www.dkfindout.com is different - I can see it being used for a long time to come, both at home and at school.
Written by Jacqueline Harris, Education Consultant