Britannica School Overview

What is Britannica School?

Britannica School is an online library of hundreds of thousands of high-quality readings, videos and images created and maintained by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Britannica School is already used in thousands of US schools, and is sold on a subscription model to schools, districts or states at a time (for example, the entire state of California is a current subscriber).  

Some key features of Britannica School:

  • Allows students to change the reading level of a text (between two to three different levels provided for most resources); this is very useful for differentiation and low-literacy learners
  • Provides academic vocabulary support within readings- double clicking on any word provides the definition
  • Support for English Language Learners- double clicking on any word will also bring up its Spanish translation
  • Provides ‘text-to-speech’ functionality for all readings
  • Provides a library of images and videos along with text resources for multimodal learning opportunities
  • Engages curiosity by allowing students to browse multiple related entries or search in a safe, academic and ad-free environment. Related concepts are hyperlinked in line and searchable.

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Teachers should point out to students that they have the option to change the ‘reading level’ (1 = elementary, 2 = middle, 3= high) of these pages. Students can alter their own reading levels as needed at any time, and each page at each reading level has its own unique URL.

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Double clicking on any word provides the English definition and Spanish translation.

How Is Summit Learning Partnering with Britannica School?

In academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, Summit Learning will provide free access to Britannica School to teachers and students at all grade levels using the Summit Learning Platform, regardless of whether the school has a subscription.

The Summit Curriculum team has added Britannica School resources to the Summit Base curriculum, aligned to projects and focus areas. If schools are using the most updated copy of the Base Curriculum, they will see Britannica School links throughout the curriculum. 

Under the partnership, Summit teachers may also add additional Britannica School resources to their curricula for projects or focus areas. Note that Summit teachers in schools without a Britannica School subscription must enter Britannica School through the Summit platform to have access to the library of resources.

Note that the partnership is designed such that any teacher or student entering Britannica School directly from any page within www.summitlearning.org/ will be allowed to access the library of materials- entering from any other place (Google Docs, a school LMS, etc.) may result in students hitting a sign-in or paywall.

How Can Teachers Add their Own Britannica School Resources?

Teachers with “Curriculum Author” status can add additional Britannica resources to their curriculum by following these steps:

  1. Enter the Britannica School site (directly from the Summit platform through an existing resource)
  2. Search the Britannica School Site
    • Britannica School can be searched by keyword or by standards

     3) Choose the article you would like to link

  • Note that the same article, at different reading levels, has different URLs. Choose the URL that corresponds to the reading level you want for your classroom.

                  4) Add the link to your site’s curriculum by editing your project or focus area.

  • Note that adding a Britannica School link to a Google Doc or other non-Summit system will not work, because the student will not be entering Britannica directly from the Summit Learning Platform (www.summitlearning.org).

How Should Britannica School be Treated by School IT systems?

All direct links to Britannica School in the base curriculum are included in the ‘whitelist’ that Summit provides to school IT departments. However, because curiosity is one of the key habits of success in the Summit model, schools are encouraged to allow the entire Britannica School site (https://school.eb.com/) to be accessible to students (if it corresponds with your school IT policy). That will allow students to change reading level, explore additional pages on the site and access search results.

See this help center article for more information about ‘domain whitelisting’ Britannica. 

Britannica School vs. Britannica Kids

Britannica School and Britannica Kids are two separate programs, both owned by Encyclopedia Britannica. Summit Learning students will not have paid access to Britannica Kids unless your school has a separate subscription.

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