Online children’s encyclopedia helps teachers inject a "wow!" factor into lessons

App of the Week
Formats: Website based and accessible on any device


Q-facts provides a fast, fun way to grab students’ attention and draw them into any given subject area. Every page of the Q-files website now contains a Q-fact relating to that entry - a quick-fire piece of mind-boggling or unusual information guaranteed to fascinate students.

Nicholas Harris, Managing Editor of Q-files, said: “Children love collecting funny, strange or little known facts which they use to impress friends and family. We hope this new feature will help teachers to wow pupils and spark their desire to learn more about the topic in question.”

The Q-files website is fast becoming one of the most indispensable learning resources for use both in the classroom and for homework. Launched 20 months ago, it has filled a much needed gap in the market, providing a free to use, advert free, fully comprehensive encyclopedia specially designed for children. Thousands of schools are already using the site. Microsoft's Bing in the Classroom search engine now provides customized links to Q-files home page.

Age/Grade range:

Created by well-respected children’s reference publisher Orpheus Books, the site is primarily geared towards 8 to 14-year-olds. With over 1400 pages (and more being added all the time) it is aligned with NGSS Elementary and Middle School Levels.

UI/UX, Design elements to assist usage and engagement:

All entries are written in crisp, engaging, age-appropriate language covering a wealth of subjects in Science, Nature, History, Geography, Technology and the Arts. Topics range from more serious encylopedia fare such as types of animals and ecosystems to more whimsical entries such as pirates and galleons. The site is brimming with photos, illustrations, diagrams and videos showing children how things likes electricity and plate tectonics work. There is also a Q-&-A feature, which provides answers to tricky questions such as "Why is the sea salty?", "How high is the sky?", and "How does an airliner fly?"

Security and safety for children?

Nicholas Harris says the site offers adults peace of mind that children are accessing a safe, reliable source of information. He explained: “Parents and teachers are often sceptical about the trustworthiness of many information websites, preferring to place their faith in traditional books. There is a strong feeling that the web is a feast of unattributable, unreliable information—especially if contributed, Wikipedia-style, by non-experts.

“Q-files is written by expert children’s writers, working alongside the experienced editorial team at Orpheus. Every page is scrutinized and verified by our team of academic consultants – and we constantly update and check for accuracy.

Q-files has the KidsSafe seal and unlike so many other educational and fact-finding sites there are no distractions from adverts or paywalls. Teachers, school leaders and IT experts have been quick to praise Q-files (see comments below).

How is it best used by teachers?

Teachers can use Q-files and Q-facts in a wide variety of ways.  It offers great material and inspiration for lesson plans. Pupils can access information and resources for projects or carry out further research on study topics in class and at home. Q-files is perfect to use for IT exercises. Many schools are linking to it from their websites.

Nicholas Harris said: “The site offers teachers a great resource for developing pupils’ independent learning and research skills and now with the introduction of Q-facts we hope they can have even more fun with it.”

What people are saying about Q-files:

 “Q-files is a great online encyclopedia beautifully developed with children in mind. The information has been carefully and intelligently put together and there is consistency within and across topics. And is there ever some content…. loads of it and it’s brilliant!” Gary Stevens, expert on effective use of IT in education at OneFourSeven consultancy

“Q-files is one of the most comprehensive educational sites we have come across, which is easily accessible for pupils and teachers alike. This is a fantastic resource for use in the primary or secondary classroom, allowing ease of navigation without the distractions of many freely available educational websites.”, online community for educators

“I am very impressed by the versatility & functionality of your website. I see this as a superb resource for a school, and can see its adaptability across the full age range.” Dave Harris, Managing Director of Independent Thinking Ltd and ex head of an all-through (3-18) school

“Fabulous web site, excellent FREE resource. We will definitely be making frequent use of Q-files.” Lesley Young, Modern Studies teacher at Duncanrig Secondary School in East Kilbride, Scotland

“This is such a fantastic website! I am a teacher and I trust your site with my class and they thoroughly enjoy using your site for their research.”  Emily Funnell, English Lead, Gallions Primary School, Beckton, London

 “At last, a proper, well-written source for children in one place. Been hoping for this for so long!” Jeremy Bloomfield, Head of Computing and IT at Moor Park  School, Ludlow, Shropshire, England

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