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Pearson's Primary Interactive Library: A Treasure Trove for Teachers

Despite the ‘new’ National Curriculum approaching its tenth birthday, there is still a paucity of high-quality resources available for teachers, especially those for the wider curriculum and especially outside of commercial schemes of work. This can often lead to low-quality resources being used, or hours of teachers’ time scouring the internet for age-appropriate material (that isn’t water-marked or pixelated beyond the point of being useful).

After spending a year of updating our schemes of work at my school, I was excited to try Pearson’s Interactive Library, which offers a collection of over 5000 resources, including games, quizzes, maps, and timelines, for English, Maths, Science, History and Geography.

Pearson have made available many of the web-based resources created for its commercial schemes of work. This means that they are available to be used by teachers whose schools have not bought in to the full packages. The resources match objectives from both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and they could be used for whole-class teaching, independent practice or for homework.

The Library is designed to be easy to use, and the resources are categorised by year group and topic, making it easy for teachers to find the resources they need quickly. Most of the resources are accompanied by a short description and a set of learning objectives, which makes it easy for teachers to understand how the resource can be used to support their teaching.

It really doesn’t take much time at all to find a suitable resource, and the Library is sufficiently easy to browse through if you don’t know what exact resource to search for.

An image of the Pearson Interactive Library
It is easy to search for resources by year group, subject, resource type and topics.

One of the things that I appreciated about the Library was the quality of the materials. The imagery, in particular, has been carefully selected to be appropriate for primary students. Many of the diagrams and animations are both appealing to children but at the same time much simpler and easier to read than many similar images found via Google search. For me, this is especially important when we consider the cognitive load of resources, especially for pupils who sometimes struggle. I have a particular bugbear with finding suitable maps for use across the Geography curriculum but Pearson’s bank of maps is excellent for children from Year 1 to Year 6. Some of these are interactive so that children can practise labelling countries and capitals; these can be allocated to children for homework, saving lots of paper and photocopying.

An example of the types and style of maps available.
The maps contain key information and are clear to read.

The Pearson Primary Interactive Library is also an excellent tool for checking for understanding. The multiple-choice questions in the resources are an easy way to assess whether students have grasped key knowledge and content. The quizzes could easily be used as starters, mini-plenaries, or for homework and retrieval practice. If children have access to laptops or iPads in lessons, the Library is also useful for independent practice.

An image of a multiple choice quiz for Natural Resources from the Pearson Interactive Library.
There is a good range of MCQs which can be used to identify misconceptions and check for understanding.

Although the resources were created for specific schemes of work, it is easy to see how many of them could effectively be used outside of these schemes. For instance, many of the Maths resources are useful for additional practice, and the History and Geography resources are flexible enough to be used for children of any age within the key stage, regardless of when the content is taught in individual schools.

An example timeline from the Pearson Interactive Library.
The timelines are very well designed - clear, concise and uncluttered.

There were, however, a few areas where I feel the Library could be improved.

One of the limitations with the Library is that resources can’t be personalised. For English and Maths – and to a certain extent Science - this is less of an issue, given that the content is more precisely specified by the National Curriculum. However, for History and Geography, whose curricula are very lightly specified by the NC, some of the material in the Library might not match that taught in individual schools. Whilst the content of the Pearson resources is very good, some teachers might find this lack of flexibility frustrating. It also means that some resources might not be as useful as others if they contain content that is not part of individual schools’ curricula.

Another limitation is that the options for multiple-choice questions aren't always centred around likely misconceptions, which can be a missed opportunity.

It’s also worth pointing out that some of the activities for Geography and History were quite short, which means that pupils could complete them quickly and move on without really engaging with the content.

All in all , I would still recommend the Pearson Primary Interactive Library to other primary school teachers, who would greatly appreciate the amount of time the library could save them. The quality of the resources really is excellent, and the range of activities will help to keep students engaged and interested in their learning.

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