Over the summer break it’s always nice to pick up some new resources and ideas that can be used during the upcoming academic year. This summer I became aware that Scoilnet have added a fantastic new resource to their website, Britannica School.
Britannica School is an online library of hundreds of thousands of high-quality readings, videos and images created and maintained by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Britannica School is already used in thousands of schools across the globe and is sold on a subscription model to schools. Scoilnet are providing this resource to all schools in Ireland for free.
Some key features of Britannica School that impressed me:
- It allows students to change the reading level of a text (between two to three different levels provided for most resources); this is very useful for differentiation and low-literacy learners
- It provides academic vocabulary support within readings- double clicking on any word provides the definition
- It provides ‘text-to-speech’ functionality for all readings
- It provides a library of images and videos along with text resources for multimodal learning opportunities
- It engages curiosity by allowing students to browse multiple related entries or search in a safe, academic and ad-free environment. Related concepts are hyperlinked in line and searchable.
Teachers will be impressed that students have the option to change the ‘reading level’ (1 = elementary, 2 = middle, 3= high) of pages. Students can alter their own reading levels as needed at any time, and each page at each reading level has its own unique URL.
The editorial team have created content at three levels to support pupils at every stage of their education. Clicking on each of these levels will take you directly to the respective homepage.
Britannica Schools has an excellent curriculum mapping tool. This is available in the Teacher’s section of the website. You can set the filter to the Irish Curriculum, chose your subject and class level and see content that is aligned to strands and strand units within that subject and class level.
Another very good feature of Britannica Schools is their launch packs facility https://packs.eb.com/. These are thematic, aligned content bundles covering primary and secondary science and social studies topics. These packs provide everything teachers need to teach a lesson, allowing teachers to focus on curriculum delivery and skill development instead of sourcing and curation.