Advantages Good value for what it is
Disadvantages not free
EducationCity.co.uk (or educationcity.com as it now is - if you write co.uk you will be redirected to the site) is an interactive learning site for children aged 3-12. It is a subscription only site; more of which later, and I am writing about it as a parent and user of the site and also as having a background in education.This website is widely used in schools, according to the site themselves about 10,000 schools. My child uses it in her school and so was familiar with the site, though the school has never marketed the site as such.
I am always a bit cynical about websites and IT in general being a magic answer to helping children learn, but as a parent with a child who is just learning to read I thought I would give this site a try - there is a 10 day free subscription trial.The actual site is tailored to your child's age and key stage. If you find the activities are too easy you can change stage. The site is divided into maths, science, english and languages and I have mainly seen the reception and year 1 activities so would recommend that you have a look at your child's level of that of the child to whom you are gifting a subscription - it would make a good present.
Subscription is £29.95 for a year, with a 3 month extension every time you manage to recommend a friend, up to a maximum of 12 months extension. So far I have had my subscription extended by 6 months.So is it good value?
I have worked with a lot of so-called educational sites, some of which like www.linguascope.com are excellent, but many of which promise a lot and then fail to deliver any real learning.I would say that at the level my child is working at this site is excellent. It seems to be really linked to what she is doing at school, it is engaging and the level of difficulty is spot on.
The site is graphically very good with good sound and fun activities - for example you have to find a word to launch a rocket or find hidden words that begin with a sound. If you get a 100 percent score on an activity then you can print out a certificate and my child finds this great fun!There is a "success tracker" tailored to the child which shows what they have done and how well they have done it. The interface is very user friendly - intuitive both for parent and for the child accessing the site even at the pre-reader level.
We have had the subscription for a while now and she still asks to do the activities, so the novelty hasn't worn off and I would say it is helping her to learn.There is a button to feedback on any activity and give suggestions, and parents get regular newsletters and learning ideas on how to use the site effectively. fun learning then it is worth considering.
There are plenty of testimonials on the website, which obviously are not objective but may give some insight into the value for slightly older children.I am writing this primarily as a (non pushy) parent who sometimes gets blinded by the amount of so-called learning products on offer, this is one product that has actually been worthwhile and fun so far.
I think that learning should be fun and involve parent and child and this website has got us as a family hooked so far.
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