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Online classrooms: best e-learning apps for your children while schools are shut

best online classroom
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Of all the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak so far, one that should not be overlooked is the shut down of schools. You won't need us to tell you that weeks and months of your little ones' educations risk being lost, with governments around the world still trying to work out how grades and graduations will be dealt with.

To keep your child learning during the shut down, there is a litany of virtual online classrooms that you can sign up to, so you can ensure they're still working those little grey cells (and aren't simply glued to Disney Plus).

These online classrooms are aimed at a range of different ages and subjects. So if your child is still embarking on their first few years of schooling, then the likes of ABCmouse (opens in new tab) are a fantastic resource. Meanwhile, there are plenty of excellent virtual classrooms for middle schoolers and teenagers, too.

Below, we've listed some of the most popular and best online classrooms and education apps on the web - the perfect solution for school kids that are being forced to keep social distancing.

Try one of these online classrooms for your child

ABCmouse | Ages 2 to 8 | $9.99 a month (approx £8.50/AU$17) | 30 days free (opens in new tab)
This superb distance learning tool is packed with lessons for kids between two and eight years old. It includes a huge range of activities across every subject that they'd normally be studying in the classroom. A subscription usually costs $9.99 per month, but you can try it free for 30 days.

Among the activities are a range of animations, games, books, songs, puzzles, and printables for coloring in. There’s also an interactive zoo, farm, and aquarium. Kids can create their own avatar as well, so that progressing through lessons and activities can feel more personalized and engaging.

Adventure Academy | Ages 8 to 13 | $9.99 a month (approx £8.50/AU$17) | 30 days free (opens in new tab)
Adventure Academy covers math, science, literacy and more, all within the framework of an RPG game. It's a great way to keep kids engaged with their learning, and it's free to try for the first month.

It features curriculum development for reading, writing and spelling, as well as general English comprehension. The math section covers multiplication and division, geometry, fractions and decimals, as well as word problems, while science includes all of physics, chemistry and biology. And there's loads more besides.

ReadingIQ | Ages 2 to 12 | $7.99 a month (approx £6.50/AU$13) | 30 days free (opens in new tab)
ReadingIQ is a huge library of digital childrens' books, with thousands of titles available to read on a tablet or e-reader. Subscriptions are usually a very reasonable $7.99 per month, but you can get one month free right now.

There are helpful suggestions by age group, specifically for pre-readers who are younger than two years old, emerging readers up to four years old, growing readers aimed at ages five to eight years, then advanced readers up to around 12 years old. There’s also a Spanish section suitable for readers between two and 12 years.

All of the books are available to read in digital format for tablet or smartphone as well as desktop, and there are both guided reading and recommended book options offered to encourage children to keep reading.

Reading Eggs | Ages 2 to 13 | $9.95/£6.99 a month (approx AU$17) | 30 days free (opens in new tab)
While some other services try to develop a whole range of skills and subjects, the name of Reading Eggs gives a pretty good indication of its main aim and specialism. Available on either desktop or via mobile app, the service is brimming with games, songs and other activities to try and improve your child's literacy and comprehension. It cleverly uses so-called 'golden egg' rewards to gamify learning. There are entire books on there, too, plus math lessons as a free extra via its Mathseeds strand.

There's a free trial for parents to sign up to now and, after that, the best value available is by joining for a whole year. Sign up, and you'll be joining another 10 million+ users already using Reading Eggs.

AdaptedMind | Ages 6 to 12 | $9.95 a month (approx £8.50/AU$17) | 1 month free (opens in new tab)
AdaptedMind keeps things really simple, with visually attractive math and reading challenges for kids. One quick look at the way that it's set out in 'grades' (rather than ages) will alert you that this is a US-based service. But the lessons here are universal, with straightforward number and literacy games in abundance - indeed, AdaptedMind boasts a staggering 300,000+ in total.

We like the way that the pretest helps gauge your child's levels of understanding, and that there are opportunities for assessment throughout. And because you only pay one month at a time (after that handy trial), you don't have to feel like you're committing any more than you really need to.

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

Adam is the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversees many of the articles TechRadar produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Leading and developing a great team, Adam can still be seen dusting his keyboard off to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide, having now written about cybersecurity topics for the best part of a decade.