Engaging Students in Learning

Interactives refers to any website or app where a student can interact with the content that is on the page. Interactive websites are designed to enhance online learning opportunities and engage students in authentic learning processes. They incorporate a wide variety of content, including online video, quiz features, games, and interactive assignments. Some are skill based, but many of these will take a student through a whole lesson (and sometimes a whole unit). These sites can support best practices in a variety of ways in classrooms. This Thing will spotlight some that are well known for their standards based curricular activities.

While many interactives have multiple kinds of ways students can interact, it helps to think about the types of interactive sites that are available to help match them to instructional needs. Browse each of the categories listed below by taking a brief look at the example interactives. Which of these might have applications for your classroom?

Type of Interactive Description Example(s)

Study/practice web sites and apps

Magic Cube

These range from basic drill-and-practice apps to sites where students can create flashcards and
play learning games.

Vocabulary Spelling City

Manga High

Great Grammar Practice Sites

Kinetic City

Lessons with multimedia


Students can progress through a lesson that is sometimes accompanied by video, formative questions, or other activities. Annenberg Interactives

Interactive Learning Sites K-5

Prodigy Math



These sites allow students to manipulate variables to determine effects on outcomes. pHET


Mapping and timeline interactives


Students can interact with maps or view images
of real places. Timelines allow students to get a perspective on events of the past or create their own.

National Geographic MapMaker

Sutori Timeline 

KnightLab Timeline

Virtual Worlds


These interactives allow students to learn programming, solve problems, and sometimes interact with other students virtually. Minecraft



When considering interactives, it helps to think about several different factors, including:

  • the availability and reliability of technology for your classroom and possibly outside of the classroom (if students are expected to use the interactive from home)
  • the purpose for using the interactive-what is the goal or objective?
  • the level of thinking the interactive promotes
  • the ease of use of the interactive - will there be a learning curve you need to address?
  • the appropriate age/grade/subject level for the interactive
  • the amount of time you expect students to spend using this interactive

Simulations, games, videos, and other interactives can help students visualize and understand concepts that are difficult to grasp. At other times, a non-technology option may be a better choice after considering the factors listed above.

Visit the Additional Resources Page for other educational resources in the Google family (Google World Wonders, Art project, Google Earth, and Google Lit Trips).