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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this nonprofit "YouTube for kids" is safe and educational. Launched by Larry Sanger, a cofounder of Wikipedia, it aims to collect all the educational videos on the Web that are suitable for kids in one convenient place. Most of the 11,000-plus clips up so far are reposted from other kid-safe sites such as National Geographic and TeacherTube. There's no sex, no violence, no bad language and no ads, just interesting videos, cartoons and animations on a wide array of school subjects, many with age-appropriateness ratings to help guide parents.
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Is it any good?
WatchKnow, as in "You watch, you know," is an attractively designed wiki holding thousands of educational videos and other media for kids. Everything is conveniently sorted into categories and subcategories. (For instance, history breaks out into ancient history, Asian history, world history, and so on.) Registered users can edit the categories and video descriptions to improve the site. The content is high quality and far-ranging, explaining just about every topic kids are taught in school and more. Particularly helpful is the site’s two-way age slider, which parents can use to zero in on the best videos for the child's level of maturity, say everything geared for between ages 10 and 13. Not everything is rated, and some videos, such as the ones we ran across on weightlifting, are skewed more for adults. But it's all clean and overall a terrific educational resource.
Online interaction: Registered users can leave comments and join a mailing list that serves as a discussion forum. When we visited the site was still so new that there were very few comments left after the videos.
Talk to your kids about ...
Discuss the role videos have come to play in our lives. They entertain, they inform -- and they can even make school subjects like social studies fun.
What are kids' favorite educational videos on the site and why? Do these videos make you interested in creating a video yourself?
Discuss how videos can help us learn but don't replace the experience of a live classroom. Set limits on how much computer time kids have.