With state education moving largely online during the COVID-19 pandemic, one resource that has been around for a while may prove to be even more valuable.
The Alabama Virtual Library is providing free access to additional online educational resources during the crisis, according to a press release from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.
As a result, Alabama’s teachers and students will have access to thousands of additional electronic books and periodicals, as well as educational software and databases to support their move to online instruction.
Links to the new resources are available on the AVL’s “All Resources” page (avl.lib.al.us/resources/all).
“We are grateful to the State of Alabama and our vendors for making these world-class resources available to all schools and libraries throughout the state, many of whom couldn’t afford them on their own,” Renee Marty, AVL board chair and librarian at Wallace State Community College, said.
Many of the additional resources will be available until June 15. These additional resources enhance the AVL’s existing collection of resources aimed at audiences from elementary school students through college students, along with some resources for adults and job-seekers.
A few examples of the additional resources now available to Alabamians at no cost :
• Visible Body is a 3-D anatomy atlas that replicates the lab setting for high school and college students, including models that can be studied from any angle and varying zoom levels, and a dissection tool that provides real lab experience.
• PreStep for High Schools is where students go to find tests, tutorials and e-books that can help them prepare for the ACT, SAT and other tests; improve core English, math and science skills; and acquire basic computer science skills.
• PebbleGo Science helps students “Discover physical, life, and earth & space sciences, along with engineering, technology and their applications.” It includes educational games, videos and read-aloud capabilities (audio descriptions).
“Pebble Go is a resource that allows students to research and investigate topics found within our science and social studies standards,” Cullman City Primary School kindergarten teacher Savanna Ponder said.
“This tool allows information to be read aloud to the students,” she said. “It also provides short video clips for some topics. As a kindergarten teacher, my students get so excited when I use this resource. They find the information so fascinating and intriguing. I hear them discussing what they learned on the playground during recess.”
Along with the additional resources, AVL has stepped up support services to assist students and educators.
The AVL Help Desk is available 24/7 to help with resource access or other technical issues.
To ensure that all Alabama students, teachers and residents can use AVL resources from home, the Help Desk can set up access through their existing Internet service.
The AVL is funded by the Alabama Education Trust Fund and is available free to all Alabama students and residents. It contains online databases that have magazine, journal and newspaper articles for research.