Math: DreamBox Math

Winner of a long list of awards, this is a free web-based portal of hundreds of math games that adapts as kids play. Log on and choose an avatar like a dinosaur, pet, or pixie, and complete your quest by constructing--rather than just clicking on--the right answer. Each activity is aligned with national math standards for kindergarten through fifth grade.

Reading: Smarty Ants

Smarty Ants, a 2012 Codie Award Winner, was created by the man behind Leapfrog educational games. Play word-building games, read real stories and answer questions about them in a virtual game-show format.

Science: Wonderville

Wonderville created by a Canadian nonprofit and a 2012 Bessie award winner, has hundreds of beautifully illustrated and totally free comics, videos, games, and activities for learning about science, technology, and "neat" jobs in related fields (like entomologist or chemical engineer).

Everything: Khan Academy

If you haven’t heard of Khan Academy yet, it was the 2012 Webby award winner in education, and offers 3,300 short and simple hand-drawn video lessons that teach about almost anything--with the strongest offerings in math, science, computer science, and economics. You can also earn badges for completing hundreds of math activities and quizzes in an easy-to-explore math tree.

Miscellaneous: MinecraftEdu

MinecraftEdu is the educational version of the popular 16-bit world-building game, a grassroots phenomenon created when teacher Joel Levin started experimenting with using Minecraft in his computer classroom. Students can design and build anything from a treehouse, to the pyramids, to a reimagining of your local park or playground. Teachers can customize the game with questions and lessons on any subject that are incorporated into the world building.



Teachers On Strike? Try These Learning Apps

More than 350,000 students are at loose ends this week as teachers of the nation’s third-largest school district go on strike. But while school’s out, technology could help them keep up with their homework or even get ahead.

Chicago teachers are on strike and the conflict, which hinges in part on high-stakes testing, isn’t expected to be resolved quickly. Thousands of kids are tagging along to the office with parents or parked with babysitters at churches, community centers, and a few schools that are being kept open.

The good news is that unlike in years past, kids who happen to have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone don’t have to waste this time when school is closed for any reason. A whole host of apps, online resources, and educational games are now available to kids—even ones without striking teachers. Click through the slide show above for a selection of educational programs, all best-in-industry award winners from Common Sense Media, the Codie Awards, Tech & Learning, the Bessie Awards, and more. Many are free or have free trials. So much for that extended summer vacation.

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