Thirteen Ed Online

Website review by
Lynne Glasner, Common Sense Media
Thirteen Ed Online Website Poster Image
PBS site for kids and adults has learning for everyone.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

There's something for kids of all ages here, from basic numbers to trigonometry, and all academic subjects. The site includes an astounding range of videos and activities. Just with random surfing, kids will be surprised by the numerous items they may pause to watch or interact with just because they are fun, though they will also learn something in the process. Thirteen Ed Online offers lots of exciting activities to engage kids in learning, but kids might need some guidance to find content that best meets their learning needs.

Positive Messages

Though most of the videos and activities are purely content oriented, some also carry messages of ethical behavior and friendship. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

References on the site are made to PBS kids educational programs and links to paid tie-ins (like a subscription for a kids show online) are clearly labeled and optional. Links to other product tie-ins are there but they are subtle and are for related educational products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids of any age can safely use this PBS-affiliated educational website for learning, but the site design and navigation makes it feel more like a parent and teacher resource than a destination for kids. The site's privacy policy is tight and PBS takes such things seriously. While it's not always easy to find what you're looking for, there's no real harm in letting kids surf the site. In fact, surfing may turn up surprises of interest, all of which are educational, and that's part of the fun. Younger kids could get lost in this process and may need some guidance to direct them to age-appropriate content.

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What's it about?

From the top navigation, visitors can access sections for Students, Educators, or Parents and Caregivers. The Students section of the site offers learning options for all ages, from educational games for young kids to GED and adult education information. Kids can also access The Homework Hotline, a section of informative videos for middle school kids. Tabs at the top of the page link to videos as well as activities with printable worksheets. The Parents and Caregivers section features links to guides and resources to help enhance kids' learning.

Is it any good?

THIRTEEN ED ONLINE is a PBS-sponsored collection of some of the best educational web content around. Most of the links take visitors to other websites, all of which offer solid educational materials. Thirteen Ed Online divides the content for basic age groups from preschool to adults. While these broad categories can be hard to navigate, each is age appropriate and facilitates learning. The information for parents is helpful, especially for those with younger kids. For those kids who already watch PBS TV shows, the site offers supplemental material that will keep them tuned in. For middle school kids, there's nothing wrong with surfing and playing the video games, all of which have excellent educational content related to school work. And even if it's not directly related to what kids are doing in school at the time, there's still much learning to be had.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Show your high school kids the test prep tips and guides. Ask them questions to get them thinking about their own test-taking strategies. How do you feel on test day? What strategies do you use to get ready for a big test? Are any of these tips new to you?

  • Use the parent information section to guide young kids in using the games and reinforcing the content. Suggest they look at a game that challenges a subject or skill that's challenging for your kids. Math may not seem so daunting when experienced in the context of a game.

Website details

  • Subjects: Science: animals, chemistry, energy, life cycle, measurement, physics, weather
    Math: algebra, arithmetic, counting, estimation, fractions, geometry, measurement, numbers, shapes
    Social Studies: events, geography, government, historical figures, history
    Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, storytelling, vocabulary
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, effort
    Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, investigation, logic, making conclusions, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically
    Health & Fitness: exercise, fitness, preventing sickness
  • Genre: Educational
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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