© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We received reports that some iPhone users with the latest version of iOS cannot play audio via our website.
While we work to fix the issue, we recommend downloading the WSHU app.

Useful sites for students struggling to overcome the pandemic learning gap

Pavel Danilyuk

As students head back to school in the coming weeks, they are facing unprecedented challenges. Research has shown that the learning gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic has set students back in key areas. Although this gap appears to be shrinking now that in-person learning has returned, students may need reinforcement in certain subjects to catch up with their current workloads. These free online resources can help.

Acing exams

Khan Academy is a nonprofit that hosts educational content. Originally developed to teach math and science, it now delivers lessons across a wide variety of subjects and grades, from kindergarten math and reading to high school Advanced Placement subjects and SAT/ACT prep. Whether a student is looking to fill gaps in their learning history, seek help with a current class or accelerate their education, the site’s comprehensive curricula provide a great service with no paywalls to entry.

Quizlet is a tool for developing flashcard-based study materials. Students can input their own information from class or browse an existing library of thousands of sets, sorted by courses and subjects. Different study modes allow students to quiz themselves for memorization or take practice multiple-choice tests.

Study topics and skills

Crash Course is a YouTube channel that publishes thorough educational videos across an impressive array of disciplines, from literature to organic chemistry and film production, all hosted by experts. Through their serialized playlists, students can reinforce their study of a particular concept or explore further for their own purposes. Crash Course also produces supplemental series on subjects like study skills, navigating college and researching online.

Cheaper math tools

Desmos offers a suite of free online calculators, including graphing and scientific calculators. While a hardware graphing calculator could run upwards of $100, Desmos’ online tools allow students to turn any device into a capable, versatile modeler of equations, and their support pages can teach them how to properly use these tools.

Help from the voice assistant

Bamboo Learning brings math, English and reading comprehension skills to Amazon’s Echo devices for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. Bamboo’s software allows students to hear and respond to problems and questions by interacting with Alexa-enabled devices, and the site’s dashboard allows parents and guardians to track progress. Bamboo also offers their material through an iOS app.

Access digital libraries

PBS LearningMedia has developed a hub for their free educational videos, sortable by grade and subject. Their vast library includes history documentaries, children’s TV and interactive games.

The Smithsonian Institution has a number of educational resources and informational collections, including a massive digital image library, a 3D model repository and centers for information on history and STEM. These resources are perfect for exploratory learning, bringing the depth of a museum collection to a virtual space.

Josh is a freelance reporter working with WSHU to produce explanatory journalism. He also designed graphics for WSHU's Higher Ground podcast. You can find his work at The Stony Brook Press, where he served as executive editor.