Free and open digital tools to support remote learning during temporary school closures
Help children continue learning at home
With schools temporarily closed, digital distance learning, where technology is available, can help children continue learning at home. Education experts have provided a list of free and open digital platforms, apps and content that can be useful.
The list is not intended to replace learning material provided by schools and educators. It’s a list of non-formal extra-curricular resources. Most are free and some require parents to pay if the want to use additional content or features.
The inclusion in this list does not constitute UNICEF’s endorsement; however, these are recognized and widely used digital tools. We’ve done our best to find and include resources in local languages and many included here are available in English and other languages.
The list will be updated regularly and if you have any suggestions to add to the list please suggest!
Keeping your child’s online learning experience fun and safe
When it comes to children learning online, parents and caregivers should remember to always:
- Engage actively in children’s learning. Use technology as one ingredient of a learning experience that includes human interaction, recognizing that technology alone cannot replace teachers or parental presence and guidance. This is especially true for younger children.
- Protect children’s data. Parents and caregivers should check the digital resources children are accessing and avoid those that do not seem safe or that require detailed personal information. Children’s identity, location, ethnic or religious affiliations should not be required information to access learning resources.
Digital reading materials
"Think Equal": Online picture books being introduced in kindergartens through the UNICEF supported and UK Government funded programme which is helping to build social-emotional skills in pre-school aged children: empathy, kindness, self-esteem, perseverance, critical thinking, conflict resolution, self-esteem, communication, self-awareness and more. https://issuu.com/unicefmk
“Druzinata MELA”: Online story books available in Macedonian and Albanian for pre-school and early primary school aged children. Developed with support from UNICEF and the UK Government. The full series of available on https://issuu.com/unicefmk
Step by Step: Digital audio picture books, digital learning activities and sign language narration picture books available in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish and Bosnian for pre-school and early primary school aged children. https://stepbystep.org.mk/en/biblioteka
Global Digital Library: Promotes literacy in the lower grades by providing access to digital storybooks for children and other reading materials in multiple languages. It can be used on a computer. More information available at: https://www.digitallibrary.io/
StoryWeaver: A digital database of multilingual stories for children. It can be used via mobile device and computer. More information available at: https://storyweaver.org.in/
Akelius: A language learning application and online platform that focuses on students without a native literacy in their native language who need to learn a foreign language. On mobile devices, computers and through Google Play. Available languages: Greek, English, French, Swedish. Accessed through: https://www.akelius.com/en/language-course or downloaded via Google Play.
Duolingo: An application for learning a language that can be accessed through a mobile device and a computer. Available through Google Play, App Store. More information available at: https://www.duolingo.com/
Literacy and numeracy basics:
Age of Learning (three products: ABC Mouse, Reading IQ, Adventure Academy). As part of the response to COVID-19, this company provided UNICEF with a code for free download of products in households covered by school closures. Available in English and (partly) in Spanish.
If the AOFLUNICEF code is entered on the following links, each application can be accessed. Feel free to share in your communities.
ABCmouse: Early Learning Academy covers all key academic fields, including reading and language, math, science, health, social sciences, arts and music. ABCmouse is designed to stimulate child learning and includes more than 11,000 learning activities — each activity is individually designed to attract children while helping to deliver essential learning outcomes. It also provides access to adaptable play-based programmes Mastering Math and Mastering Reading
Adventure Academy is an educational massively multiplayer online game for elementary and high school students. It contains thousands of interesting learning activities that are discovered as you search through the interactive virtual world. Expertly designed to provide a highly interactive and educational environment, the Adventure Academy application focuses on building key knowledge and skills in the fields of language, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, etc..
ReadingIQ is designed by experts to improve literacy and connect children up to the age of 12 with books that are appropriate for their reading ability and grade. From beautifully illustrated picture books, popular series and comics, to illustrated children's stories, cartoons, and books on a variety of academic subjects, ReadingIQ is a personal learning library that helps children grow as readers.
Learning platforms with different content
Useful for older, motivated learners or for learning with the active involvement of caregivers
Alison: Free online courses in various subject areas. Available via computer. Available languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Accessed here: https://alison.com/
Coursera: Online courses provided by instructors from renowned universities and reputable companies. On mobile devices and computers. Most courses are in English. https://www.coursera.org/
EdX: Free online courses from educational institutions around the world. Available on mobile devices and computers, via Apple store, Google Play. Most courses are in English. https://www.edx.org/
EkStep. An open learning platform with a collection of resources for learning literacy and numeracy. On mobile devices and computers. Available on Google Play. Mostly English. Students access interactive content. More information available at: https://ekstep.in/
Khan Academy. Free online courses, lessons and exercises. On mobile devices and computers. Available on Google Play, App Store, Amazon App Store. More languages. More information available at: https://www.khanacademy.org/
Hummingbirds. An open source digital platform designed for communities with limited resources that can work without Internet access. Computer access. More languages. More information available at: https://learningequality.org/kolibri/
Programming skills: There are numerous free online resources for children and young people through which they can learn ICT and programming. There are resources for children of different ages (including preschoolers) and for learning different programming languages. You can find a list of available resources on the IT Girls website: http://itgirls.ba/postani-it-girl/
Other recommended resources
Our sister agency UNESCO also recommends the use of a variety of open educational applications and platforms that facilitate learning and social interaction and interaction, which are available in multiple languages. The full list can be found here: https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-school-closures/solutions
Metamorphosis Foundation is actively working in the area of Open Educational Resources and is recommending the web-page http://oer.mk/ - a platform that helps teachers around the country collaborate with each other. The resources list can be found here: http://oer.mk/resources/