Encyclopedias have been around for ages. Before the advent of the internet, students found much of their information for reports in the large printed volumes. However, encyclopedias like World Book have embraced the digital age as well, coming out with fully online products.
What Is World Book Online?
Take the World Book encyclopedias of the early 2000s and give it a totally new digital face, and you have a slight idea of what the World Book Online is. Not only is it a comprehensive encyclopedia and reference book, but it also offers online learning and children's books. There are five distinct databases that are available designed for all ages of school children along with a Spanish version. However, most of the other versions are available to Spanish-speaking versions available.
Early World of Learning
Early World of Learning is the database designed for early learners and readers. This interactive online site offers books, videos, interactive learning tools, and games. The information is displayed in a colorful, eye-catching format that really captures children's attention. Since it is designed for early learners, the information on the screen is voice activated.
World Book for Kids
World Book for Kids offers an interactive area for children to explore animals, complete activities, research important people, and even play games. This site also offers maps and a dictionary. The interface is easy to follow and colorful with the links clearly marked. Areas you can dive into include arts, people, history, places, science, religions, etc. This give students access to thousands of different facts with just the touch of a mouse.
World Book Student
The World Book Student is the compilation of 40,000 encyclopedia articles and reference sources on areas elementary through middle school children will find interesting. Like the other World Book products, the interface is attractive and easy to follow with lots of colorful images. There are also links to lead you to other areas of interest and help students make connections.
World Book Advanced
World Book Advanced is the high schoolers' version of this online encyclopedia. It contains news publications, eBooks, and primary sources.
World Book Discover
World Book Discover is primarily designed for those with language difficulties. It has a visual dictionary and text-to-speech capabilities.
The Good and the Bad
Like every educational product on the market, World Book online has both positive and negative aspects.
World Book offers a plethora of information to a wide range of students, and the format works great to entice learning and keep students engaged.
- The different activities and the colorful interface work to keep students clicking and moving through the information.
- Homeschool.com noted the application works across multiple platforms including on iPads and iPhones.
- The application was also consistent in how it functioned on different devices.
- It was also commended by the Catholic Library for its continuous updates and tutorials.
When compared to a similar product like Encyclopedia Britannica, the product has some deficiencies.
- While World Book is more accessible overall and tailors to different age groups, Britannica is more scholarly.
- Accessing all the different areas of information on the online World Book is difficult unless you have a paid subscription.
- It can be confusing when signing up for an individual subscription.
Dollars and Cents
While you would think that such an expansive encyclopedia platform could put a big dent in your wallet, it's affordable.
- An individual subscription costs $50 annually for the entire suite of products.
- Institutional pricing is formulated based on the digital product used and the number of students.
New Face of Encyclopedias
While the print version of the World Book is still available, the World Book Online offers a plethora of facts and references for all ages of students. With the addition of games, interactives, printables, and a colorful format, it captures a child's attention and pushes them to learn. The consistent interface and updates also are appealing. However, accessing information without buying a subscription is limited, and you have to pay annually to maintain access.