Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tech Tips

Today I went to a class to learn more about Project Based Learning.  Student research is a BIG component of PBL. The facilitators shared several options for student research. So I thought I would link up with the ladies at Teaching Trio for Technology Thursday to share one with you today!

First of all, do you remember these?! 

It's true! Encyclopedia Britannica was my GOOGLE! I remember pouring through these books when I was younger. Maybe I have always been a bit nerdy! ha! Anyway, I learned about an updated version of Encyclopedia Britannica today. It's called Q-files

Q-files is a free illustrated children's encyclopedia. (Say that 10 times fast!)  It is kid friendly and organized by topic. Students can click the tabs at the top to find categories for research or they can use the search box. 

Each topic is explained through words and detailed pictures or diagrams. The articles contain hyperlinks to the glossary to define content vocabulary.  There are also links to related topics. See that cute little owl in the right hand corner? That little owl gives a few interesting facts about each topic. 
The best thing about Q-files to me is that it truly is kid-friendly. All information is presented without advertisement (which is rare in today's world!) 

If you are looking at Q-files and wondering how to make it useful for the lower grades, you may consider using the Select and Speak add-on for Chrome. Select and Speak will read text aloud from websites. As I experimented with it today, I found that it would be especially helpful to teach students to highlight the word or sentence they need help with (versus having the entire page read.) Please remember, this extension only works in Chrome. There are probably sources which accomplish the same task in Explorer, but I am unfamiliar with them at this time. 

Have you tried Q-files or any other illustrated encyclopedias for student research? I'd love to hear about them!



  1. Mandi,

    I had never heard of Q-files, but I will certainly check it out. Awesome resource! I'm interested to know how your experience with PBL progresses. Thank you for sharing.

    Math is FunDamental

    1. Thanks, Shane! I am looking for more resources on PBL this summer. My first class only wet my appetite for more! I checked out your blog, too. I am excited to follow you and your tech club! :)