This site is for children from approximately 7 years old although reading ages are not a particularly good gauge for judging reading skills. This review concentrates on the NGKids site and a review of NGLittleKids will follow. There are pages full of information about animals, nature, environment and science for children to research, most without needing an adult to help with reading.
The review of this site is is about the opportunities for children to carry out independent research.
The design of the site will appeal to children with its illustrations, cartoons and photographs. There is just enough text so it doesn’t look daunting. This is a bright, child friendly site with lots of colours and pictures. A computer literate child would be able to navigate this site with comparative ease.
The focus of the site is to inform children about their environment in a fun and interesting way. There are facts, games, puzzles, videos and news items for children to discover.
There is an enormous amount of content on this site for children to enjoy in a range of formats appealing all types of child learners. The item ‘My Shot Minute’ caught my eye. Children can submit photographs and these can be chosen to be incorporated into a slideshow with musical accompaniment. The games are educational and fun although some come with sound so you may wish to mute the speakers!!
The writing style is easy for children to decipher and understand without using a belittling tone. The text is in short paragraphs with a picture or illustration. There are slideshows about countries and animals so the opportunity of independent research is wonderful. The grammar and punctuation is perfect and so it should be on a site for children to learn. The vocabulary is easy to understand but will still manage to stretch most children and give rise to more research.
Without a doubt, this website is intended for children and it is an accessible site for them to navigate. Having said it is for children, I found it interesting and learnt a great deal whilst researching the site. For quick snippets of information, it is ideal.
Thought has been put into the ‘about me’ page. There are caricatures of staff with their names and job titles e.g. Paula Kahumbu is a wildlife conservationist. Clicking on her picture will take you to her bio page which consists of text, photos and interviews. National Geographic have managed to turn a typically uninspiring information page into a unique learning experience. This is clever!
As an adult I would find this site overcrowded but children seem to enjoy it and it is, without doubt full of information which will appeal to children. Again, as an adult, the sound aspect would drive me crackers but children love it!!
My overall opinion of the site is excellent. They have managed find and deliver clever content to their audience in an interesting and fun way. I get the feeling from this site that they have thought about their target audience and worked hard to reach them in just the right way.