What is Oxplore?
Oxplore is a free educational website created by the University of Oxford designed to engage 11-18 year olds with complex ideas across a wide range of subjects. The website is organised into a series of thought-provoking Big Questions which take students on a guided journey to encourage their powers of debate and critical thinking. Each question has a series of learning resources (articles, quizzes, podcasts, videos, and image galleries) which draw upon some of the cutting-edge research led at Oxford. With over 50 Big Questions on Oxplore, there should be something to make every mind curious!
What Oxplore offers?
- Free, high-quality learning resources.
- An introduction to a wide range of academic topics, debates and perspectives.
- A new way of exploring school subjects, and an introduction to those studied at university level.
- A rich and engaging springboard to practise skills valued in higher education e.g. oracy, argument-building.
- An opportunity to join online discussions of Big Questions with other young people*.
- The chance to shape future Oxplore content available via our ‘What’s your Big Question? feature.
Sounds interesting! Where do I start?
Below are two ideas to get your students/children started with using Oxplore. These activities will enable children to practise learning and research skills which are valued in a range of subjects. Look out for the ‘Good practice for’ sections for more information.
1. Watch your big ideas get bigger!
Visit Oxplore and find a Big Question that intrigues you. Draw a thought bubble and write the question inside.
Around your thought bubble, jot down your first impressions. This could include:
- what you already know about this topic
- your opinion on the question
- other views that could be taken
Look at the Big Question materials and add to your ideas. What have you learnt? Did anything surprise you? What would you like to learn more about? Could there be an interesting subject to study which is related to this topic? (Check out the ‘Take this further’ resource in the ‘Read more’ section of the Big Question you selected for subject ideas).
Good practice for: summarising existing and new knowledge; considering multiple perspectives; challenging preconceptions; forming a balanced opinion.
2. Sending Big Questions with love
Select a Big Question and learn more about a topic that interests you.
Take a postcard-size piece of paper. On one side, write down some of the key points made in the question and what it has made you think e.g.
‘Dear..., today I learnt about.... Some people argue that... while others suggest... Something that surprised me is... Overall, I think that...
Postcards are short texts, so make your points as concisely as you can.
On the other side, create an artistic representation of the question. You could write down the question itself or add drawings which relate to the topics covered. Get creative!
Maybe you could send your postcard to a friend. Remember to include our url - oxplore.org - so they know where to look!
Good practice for: Summarising ideas; writing concisely; adopting the codes and conventions of a particular text (i.e. a postcard); expressing ideas artistically and through a different medium.
You can download a PDF with ideas for both of these activities, plus others. You can also find other learning resources and hear about upcoming opportunities run by Oxplore on our blog.
Keeping in touch
We’d love to hear how you’re using our resources and engaging with our Big Questions.
Ask us a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
*To be able to comment on Big Questions, you’ll need to register for a free Oxplore account. By doing this, you’ll also be able to bookmark resources for later, and gain updates about new Big Questions and Oxplore events in our termly newsletter.