E-Learning For Kids Offers Free Online Courses For Primary Education in the US and Around the World

American Education Week puts the spotlight on quality public education.  One organization dedicated to supporting and improving primary education is e-Learning for Kids (EFK), a global non-profit foundation that provides free electronic education for children ages 5-12.  EFK was launched in 2005 by a small, all-volunteer and virtual team of business and education professionals with a dozen courses, a few hundred online users in the US and abroad.  In 2009 alone, EFK has reached more than 1.5 million children in 192 countries, who have taken more than 5 million courses.
 
EFK courseware, co-developed by leading e-learning vendors, independent e-learning specialists and professional educators, teach children ages 5-12 math, reading and languages, science, computers, health and life skills.  Today, there are more than 175 courses available, ranging from the food pyramid to the solar system, body parts to disease prevention, measurements and fractions, keyboarding and Internet safety.  All are available in English, and many are also available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
 
Reaching Children Worldwide, Online and Offline, with High Quality Education
A quarter million children in the United States have used EFK courseware.   Here, EFK is used within the classroom and for home schooling.  “e-Learning for Kids is not just another website with games for kids, but has true interactive courses to teach concepts and reinforce classroom learning in all subject areas,” said Laurie Patsalides, Managing Editor of Bright Hub and a certified teacher in the USA.  Bright Hub gave the EFK site a 5 out of 5 rating in its review.
 
The foundation sets its courseware development priorities by following the International Baccalaureate Curriculum, which has been independently recognized as a global standard for quality and breadth of children’s education.  With 175 courses currently available, e-Learning for Kids intends to offer 2,000 courses by 2015 – given adequate funding.
 
Of the 1.5 million children who have taken EFK e-learning courses, 1 million were actually “offline.”  EFK has also distributed its courseware through download links or CD-ROMs to almost 3,900 schools, orphanages and community centers in developing countries – places where direct Internet connections are difficult and the need for high quality education is acute.
 
Partnerships with other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Close the Gap and Digital Links, which refurbishes computers retired from corporations, enable bundled delivery of much needed educational content along with hardware, primarily throughout Africa.  e-Learning for Kids has recently developed an application in collaboration with its Swiss Partner Avallain Education 4D to run courseware on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO PC. This has been tested successfully at a school in Nairobi and will further expand the availability of quality educational material to thousands of children.
 
Despite the broad EFK “student base,” the impact of EFK courseware can be felt at the community level. One community of EFK users is the Takoradi Educational Resource Center in Ghana, which serves as a library and learning lab for 2,000 children aged 6-12.  “We are very excited with the new courseware topics covering Health and Life Skills,” said Nellie Kirschner-Timmer, Founder of To Be Worldwide, Ghana.
 
The Power of Networks in Outreach
EFK’s astonishing reach in such a short time is a testament to the passion of its founder and the power of individual, community and business networks.   EFK was established in 2004 by Nick van Dam, Ph.D., Global Director Learning, e-Learning Solutions and Technologies for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.  An internationally recognized thought leader in Learning & Development and the author of The e-Learning Fieldbook (2004, McGraw Hill), van Dam’s international field work showed him the tremendous gaps in educational access around the world.  
 
“One of the most powerful applications of the Internet is the opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of learning for a new generation of children worldwide. We have the duty as a society to provide all children with the best education possible to be successful in their lives,” van Dam said.
 
In late 2004, Van Dam reached out to colleagues, suppliers and others in his personal network, to raise funding and enlist their support in donating their time, tools and skills. A virtual team came together from throughout the US, Europe, India, Australia and Latin America to launch the foundation and its online learning portal and first dozen courses in November 2005.
 
A total of 50-60 volunteers from around the world are involved in EFK at any given time.   The momentum of e-Learning for Kids has been built through personal and professional networks – all without celebrity endorsements for awareness and lacking billionaire backing, global advertising budgets or star-studded events for fundraising – just “everyday” business executives and committed citizens.
 
“We started EFK as a network of business friends who came together to support children’s education in whatever way we could, never imagining such adoption so quickly,” said van Dam. “In today’s hyper connected, viral and global environment, our goal to double our reach to 3 million children by Universal Children’s Day 2010, and 20 million by 2015, is no longer outrageous.”

American Education Week puts the spotlight on quality public education.  One organization dedicated to supporting and improving primary education is e-Learning for Kids (EFK), a global non-profit foundation that provides free electronic education for children ages 5-12.  EFK was launched in 2005 by a small, all-volunteer and virtual team of business and education professionals with a dozen courses, a few hundred online users in the US and abroad.  In 2009 alone, EFK has reached more than 1.5 million children in 192 countries, who have taken more than 5 million courses.
 
EFK courseware, co-developed by leading e-learning vendors, independent e-learning specialists and professional educators, teach children ages 5-12 math, reading and languages, science, computers, health and life skills.  Today, there are more than 175 courses available, ranging from the food pyramid to the solar system, body parts to disease prevention, measurements and fractions, keyboarding and Internet safety.  All are available in English, and many are also available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
 
Reaching Children Worldwide, Online and Offline, with High Quality Education
A quarter million children in the United States have used EFK courseware.   Here, EFK is used within the classroom and for home schooling.  “e-Learning for Kids is not just another website with games for kids, but has true interactive courses to teach concepts and reinforce classroom learning in all subject areas,” said Laurie Patsalides, Managing Editor of Bright Hub and a certified teacher in the USA.  Bright Hub gave the EFK site a 5 out of 5 rating in its review.
 
The foundation sets its courseware development priorities by following the International Baccalaureate Curriculum, which has been independently recognized as a global standard for quality and breadth of children’s education.  With 175 courses currently available, e-Learning for Kids intends to offer 2,000 courses by 2015 – given adequate funding.
 
Of the 1.5 million children who have taken EFK e-learning courses, 1 million were actually “offline.”  EFK has also distributed its courseware through download links or CD-ROMs to almost 3,900 schools, orphanages and community centers in developing countries – places where direct Internet connections are difficult and the need for high quality education is acute.
 
Partnerships with other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Close the Gap and Digital Links, which refurbishes computers retired from corporations, enable bundled delivery of much needed educational content along with hardware, primarily throughout Africa.  e-Learning for Kids has recently developed an application in collaboration with its Swiss Partner Avallain Education 4D to run courseware on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO PC. This has been tested successfully at a school in Nairobi and will further expand the availability of quality educational material to thousands of children.
 
Despite the broad EFK “student base,” the impact of EFK courseware can be felt at the community level. One community of EFK users is the Takoradi Educational Resource Center in Ghana, which serves as a library and learning lab for 2,000 children aged 6-12.  “We are very excited with the new courseware topics covering Health and Life Skills,” said Nellie Kirschner-Timmer, Founder of To Be Worldwide, Ghana.
 
The Power of Networks in Outreach
EFK’s astonishing reach in such a short time is a testament to the passion of its founder and the power of individual, community and business networks.   EFK was established in 2004 by Nick van Dam, Ph.D., Global Director Learning, e-Learning Solutions and Technologies for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.  An internationally recognized thought leader in Learning & Development and the author of The e-Learning Fieldbook (2004, McGraw Hill), van Dam’s international field work showed him the tremendous gaps in educational access around the world.  
 
“One of the most powerful applications of the Internet is the opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of learning for a new generation of children worldwide. We have the duty as a society to provide all children with the best education possible to be successful in their lives,” van Dam said.
 
In late 2004, Van Dam reached out to colleagues, suppliers and others in his personal network, to raise funding and enlist their support in donating their time, tools and skills. A virtual team came together from throughout the US, Europe, India, Australia and Latin America to launch the foundation and its online learning portal and first dozen courses in November 2005.
 
A total of 50-60 volunteers from around the world are involved in EFK at any given time.   The momentum of e-Learning for Kids has been built through personal and professional networks – all without celebrity endorsements for awareness and lacking billionaire backing, global advertising budgets or star-studded events for fundraising – just “everyday” business executives and committed citizens.
 
“We started EFK as a network of business friends who came together to support children’s education in whatever way we could, never imagining such adoption so quickly,” said van Dam. “In today’s hyper connected, viral and global environment, our goal to double our reach to 3 million children by Universal Children’s Day 2010, and 20 million by 2015, is no longer outrageous.”

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