The tools on this page are meant primarily for teachers. Ranging from collaborative social networks of professionals to resource sites containing lesson plans, activities, downloadable worksheets, etc.. I tried to populate this page with as many tools as I could find that would seamlessly weave into everyday instruction. I believe technology should be only a tool to assist quality instruction, and here you will get tools that will meet educator's needs.
4Teachers is a great resource site. It's purpose is to provide information, suggestions, support, and tools for integrating technology in the classroom. There something for teachers from junior kindergarten all the way up to teachers of seniors in high school. My favorite feature of this site is their Family of Tools - all developed to assist in the instructional and learning aspects of school. 4Teachers is a MUST for anyone looking to integrate technology in the classroom.
A Cleaner Internet (formerly, A Cleaner YouTube)
A Cleaner Internet is a browser extension that allows you to view YouTube videos without any suggested videos, ads, etc. It also works on Amazon. Simply download the add-on to your browser's tool bar and you are set up and ready to go. If you decide to uninstall, find it in your extensions area of your web menu and simply uninstall. A Cleaner Internet is a nice option if you like to use video as a hook for a lesson, but don't want to deal with all the "garbage" you often get on YouTube.
APPitic is a site designed to connect educators with great educational apps for their tablet devices. APPitic contains over 1,300 reviewed apps. All apps on APPitic have been reviewed by Apple Distinguished Educators.
ArtBabble is a resource of videos from artists of various disciplines discussing and demonstrating their work and style. It is very educational in manner and designed to build awareness of art and its different forms. ArtBabble is a great resource to demonstrate the various uses and styles of art in the real world. ArtBabble was created by many artists through the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There are many perspectives demonstrated on ArtBabble.
ArtisanCam is a neat art resource site that allows students to access real artists at work. Similar to ArtBabble, ArtisanCam is intended to give students a real life display of careers in fine arts. There are videos, activities, galleries, and teacher resources. There are even oportunities for students to create and share work. Check out the Activities Page for all kinds of virtual simulations, comic creation, and other virtual art activities.
ArtsAlive is the official site of the Canadian National Arts Center. ArtsAlive contains resources and information about art, dance, theater, and music. The purpose of ArtsAlive is to provide a platform for teaching and learning about the fine arts. Explore archival collections and find information about various fine arts topics.
Artsonia is a public, virtual children's art museum. Browse thousands of projects loaded by students from all over the world. As a teacher, sign up for Artsonia and post your class's art.
BBC Schools is an educational resource site with material for students, teachers, and parents. BBC Schools offers video clips from the BBC's educational programming, games, and lessons. For parents, BBC Schools offers tools to support learning at home.
BetterLesson is a social network for teachers and administrators. With BetterLesson, you can share resources, download shared resources, and connect with others. BetterLesson allows you to import files from Box.net or Dropbox as well as upload from your hard drive. You can create courses, making them public or private. BetterLesson contains hundreds of lesson/unit plans, presentations, and other educational documents.
BigMarker is a free conferencing tool. Through BigMarker, you can screenshare, record, interact on a virtual whiteboard, video conference, load presentations, and more. BigMarker would be a great alternative for parent/teacher night. It could also be used as an online tutoring tool. Lessons can be recorded and posted for later viewing. BigMarker is a great tool if you'd like to "flip the classroom."
If you are a blogger and you use WordPress or Blogger, BlogBooker might be something you are interested in. BlogBooker converts all your blog's content into a PDF "book." BlogBooker is a great tool if for any reason you'd like your students to have a copy of information from your blog. If you are a Blogger user; first, export your blog's XML file to a safe location on your hard drive. This is a good idea anyway for back-up purposes. Then, in BlogBooker, load that XML file and add your blog's URL as directed. Be sure to refine your book's settings - like headings, chronological order, etc. (It's really easy. These options are check offs just below the loading prompts.) Finally, click create and you're done. All you have left to do is download the PDF file.
Looking for a tool to meet the higher levels of Bloom's? Check this hyper-linked diagram out. From Samantha Penney, this pyramid arranges sites and tools based on the level of Bloom's Taxonomy that they can assist in meeting. Pretty neat.
ClassConnect states that it is "built by teachers and students for teachers and students." Given all its features and applications, you can tell. ClassConnect is my personal favorite for hosting and organizing an online class, or for delivering content to students beyond the school's brick and mortar walls. ClassConnect is very intuitive and easy to use. ClassConnect allows you to host live lectures, save files, create quizzes, upload/embed videos, etc. Pretty much whatever you'd need to share content. You can also track attendance, create multiple courses, share documents, communicate with students, and print reports. ClassConnect is a great place to start if you are considering adopting a "Flipped Classroom" model. One more cool thing you can do with ClassConnect - you can set up alerts to be sent to students cell phones via text message...sure to "connect."
Class Dojo is a real-time classroom management tool. Load your class to Class Dojo. Each student will be assigned an avatar display for their profile. Set your positive and negative behaviors and tally "points" for behavior. You can display either the negative, the positive, or both as the daily tally continues. You can even sync Class Dojo with your iPad or iPod Touch allowing you to keep your running tally at hand without taking up SMART board space. What makes Class Dojo really nice is the behavior reports you can print. They are very visual and can be set to any dates you' like. Class Dojo save a ton of time as you are able to record behaviors as they happen rather than coming back to instances later.
CK-12 is a free resource that allows you to custom textbooks. CK-12 "FlexBooks" can be made by combining and mixing elements from their many free texts. Or, you can download a free textbook in its entirety. Many times, textbooks try to sell product by claiming that they are standards based. However, they appeal to all educational market places. So, while they are standards-based, they are aligned to just about all the states. And, in the case of the Common Core, they align to all of the many standards within that guiding document. Consequently, we either exhaust ourselves teaching everything in the book, or we end up searching and dropping material from the purchased texts. If we flip the paradigm and put learning as our focus, then we must make the materials meet the learning outcomes. This would be great if we could just customize our own textbooks to meet our needs...hmmm, if only there was such a service. There is and its free! CK-12 (CK-12 Introduction Video)
Collaborize Classroom is a free learning platform in which teachers can extend classroom discussions to a private online community. There are many features of Collaborize Classroom that make it a nice option for "flipped" classrooms. Some of the features included in Collaborize Classroom include professional development networks, discussion forums, graphical reporting options, and more. Especially nice is the question prompt styles available withing Collaborize Classroom - simple yes/no style, multiple choice, simple discussion prompt, or, my favorite, vote or suggest. The vote or suggest prompt allows students to vote for an existing option or offer a suggestion to a prompt of your choice. The set-up with Collaborize Classroom is easier than most online classroom communities. It walks you through step-by-step so that set up is complete and simple. The Collaborize Classroom Topic Library is a very robust archive of teacher submitted (and reviewed) lessons and activities.
Curriculum 21 is a professional development site designed to assist in meeting the needs of the 21st Century Learner. Stay updated through blogs, professional development calendars, and resource archives. Check out the "clearinghouse tab for more web 2.0 tool reviews. Curriculum 21 is a great place to start when looking for web 2.0 tools.
Educreations is an app for your iPad that allows you to create lessons on a virtual whiteboard and record and share them. Educreations lessons can be embedded in your blog or website, shared via email, or posted to Facebook. Just create an account at http://www.educreations.com/ and you can control who can or cannot view your lessons. There are many features this app offers to make your lessons engaging and appealing such as uploading of documents, photos, or video clips. You also have several options for ink color when writing on your board. Educreations lessons present in the same fashion as lessons on the Khan Academy. Educreations is another example of how you can easily make your lessons accessible anytime and anywhere.
Energy Balance 101 is a resource site that is aimed toward educating kids about wellness and health. Within the site their are downloadable health and wellness units, worksheets, and games. Many classroom challenges and grants are posted through the site for opportunities to win monies toward things like physical education equipment, playground equipment, consultation and presentations from health experts, and more. There are tabs for schools and families. Energy Balance 101 is a nice resource to have for any school wellness plan.
Flubaroo is a nifty grading tool for online assignments. Flubaroo is a tool designed to grade multiple choice and fill-in the blank Google Forms. As such a beginning level understanding of Google Docs is required. Flubaroo also computes average assignment score, computes average score per question, and flags low-scoring questions, shows you a grade distribution graph, and gives you the option to email each student their grade, and an answer key.
Free Audio Books or Books Should be Free
As you can probably guess, Free Audio Books is an expansive (not expensive!) library of free downloadable books. There are many titles and have a user rating to help in judging quality.
Gooru is a search engine designed to provide you with standards-aligned study guides for grade 5 - 12 in math and science. Gooru's resources include videos, online textbooks, animations, simulations, and more. All the possible results have been compiled, reviewed, and analyzed for educational quality. Moreover, Gooru adapts to the input from the user setting up self-paced curricula where you can track and monitor your progress.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) site offers many resources on medicine and science. There are resources for teachers, professionals, parents, and kids. There are several interactive tutorials available through the site. HHMI offers regular bulletins keeping those interested informed in the world of medicine. The HHMI offers too much to try and list here. They offer something for all levels of science - a very comprehensive resource site.
iCharts allows you to make online interactive charts and graphs from scratch or with data uploaded from a spreadsheet.
Illuminations is a math website developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. There are many math related resources from lesson plans to interactives to help kids learn math. I have used this site often especially the web-activities which are great for visual learners. If you use manipulatives in the classroom, give Illuminations a try if you'd like to create a virtual manipulatives setting.
The ICDL is a virtual catalogue of readable books from all over the world. The ICDL's goal is to provide reading opportunities for all and to have books representing all languages. The ICDL is very extensive and the books are pretty well organized.
JASON Science is a great resource for any classroom science course. Register and set up class accounts. Assign challenges, leave messages, and correspond with your students. JASON Science also offers a multitude of videos in various science topics. The games and simulations JASON Science offers are outstanding. I detail the games and interactives on my "Miscellaneous" page where I share games, simulations, interactives, and everything that cannot be categorized.
Joliprint is a web browser extension that allows you to save a live web page as a PDF and then print it for later reading. This is a great tool if you need to get information out to students without internet access, or if you want to physically manipulate content and have a document camera. I am sure there a lot of other ideas for use as well. As student, you might want to have a hard copy of any research you need.
What began as tutoring for his niece using Yahoo! Notepad, turned into an enormous collection of video tutorials and interactive practice boards. The Khan Academy contains over 2,700 videos ranging from mathematics to history. With the mission, "Provide high quality education to anyone, anywhere," the Khan Academy offers students the opportunity to learn and practice what they want, when they want. Very interactive, this site puts the learner in control of their learning. There are many options for teachers as well as they can track progress and assign topics through their class account.
National Geographic Education is currently being beta tested. There education site is rather new and already holds a lot of great resources, videos, archives, games and interactives. Due to its breadth of information, National Geographic Education could be a helpful resource for students as they seek information. It is certainly a promising instructional tool as well as it offers many resources for the classroom. I have always thought that National Geographic was a great resource for the classroom. I am glad to see that they are addressing classroom use specifically and putting together such a wealth of tools.
Next Vista for Learning is a fun site containing videos and other resources with the push to engage students through various digital media. Students and teachers can share videos of their work on Next Vista for Learning and view other's submissions. There are videos for just about any content area. There are videos of kids showing their learning and of teachers instructing. Next Vista also offers challenges to motivate students. All materials on Next Vista for Learning are creative commons licensed.
Open Culture is an extensive archive of free culturally relevant media. Within Open Culture, you will find educational videos, books, textbooks, lesson, movies, music, and more. What makes Open Culture unique is the content. There are collections of free John Wayne movies, Orson Welles films, archives of culturally rich YouTube videos - they call the Smart YouTube videos, features on food and cooking, etc.. Open Culture could be used to find unique hooks for lessons, as a go to for cultural appreciation courses, or for art appreciation cources.
The Periodic Table of Comics is built upon an interesting premise: that all (or almost all) chemical elements have been referenced in the comic genre. From the University of Kentucky, this interactive periodic table connects users with comics that reference that particular element. Engage students by having them learn all they can about the properties of a particular element and compare it to its reference in the comic. Have the students analyze whether the comic references the element accurately. This would require high levels of Bloom's...and it'd be pretty fun!
The Periodic Table of Videos was created at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. It is a great collection of YouTube videos featuring scientists discussing and demonstrating the properties of various elements. Martyn Poliakoff, who appears to be the head scientist on this project, is the quintessential chemist. The videos are well made, and they contain just enough dry English humor. The Periodic Table of Videos also has a series of molecular videos, photos, and a collection of physics videos.
To me, PlanbookEdu is like Google Calendar specifically tweaked for lesson planning. PlanbookEdu allows you to easily copy and paste content for events that happen weekly, customize your lesson template, access your plans from anywhere with internet access, and share with anyone. If you were to choose to pay for the service (25 dollars for an entire year's subscription) you get the ability to attach files to your plans, export them to Microsoft Word or as a PDF file, attach and link to Common Core Standards, print directly from your browser, and embed your plans right into your website, wiki or blog. For 25 bucks, that is pretty great. What does a good lesson plan book cost? $15 - $20? I'd say PlanbookEdu is worth every penny!
PikiFriends is an interesting site. I wasn't sure where to include it on this website - collaboration? research? I went with instructional tools as PikiFriends offers many controls to the teacher. PikiFriends is "a glorified pen-pal tool." The thing that makes PikiFriends unique is that it is a totally controlled environment for high school juniors and seniors. Once a teacher has established their class, PikiFriends pairs the students with students from other countries. There is also a great many resources offered by PikiFriends to assist in curriculum implementation. (Video overview)
I cannot say enough good things about ReadWriteThink. It is a phenomenal literacy resource. Lesson plans, worksheets, graphic organizers, and fantastic interactives can be found on ReadWriteThink. ReadWriteThink is a MUST use site in my opinion. It is often difficult to find appropriate web-based interactives that are easy enough for primary grade students. On ReadWriteThink, you will find interactives to help students learn about biographies, summarizing, inferring, compare and contrast, and word study. Best of all, most of these interactives are designed with young students in mind. However, there is material on ReadWriteThink that is appropriate right up through 12th grade.
Sharendipity offers web application creation tools for free. Can't quite find the educational web tool you are looking for? Feeling creative? Use Sharendipity to create custom web applications such as games or widgets. There is even a separate educator's section.
ShowMe is a nifty site where you can create, share, and learn. At its most basic, ShowMe is a database of recorded lessons for you to watch anytime, anywhere. However, with the addition of an iPad app, you can create lessons as well and share them with others. ShowMe is very easy to use and requires little practice to get the hang of it. It is similar to Educreations, only the difference is that the lessons you create can be shared in public galleries with ShowMe. Sharing is very easy with ShowMe - share on Facebook or Twitter, or embed your lesson in your website.
Skype's educational offering is pretty impressive. Simply put, Skype in the Classroom offers a platform for classrooms all over the world to collaborate with other classrooms on projects. Post a request (looks very much like a Tweet) and connect with others willing to Skype with you. Discover different cultures first hand, creatively bring world languages to the younger grades, or try the Skype mastery call session where each user gives the other clues about their location and they attempt to guess where each other is located. Perhaps introduce your students to a group of children from a location in a book you're reading. There are many ways to use Skype in the Classroom.
SoundCloud is a great option for creating, sharing, and saving sound/audio. Audio files can be saved or embedded. SoundCloud has many possibilities. Create sound for your digital story. For band teachers/directors, have students record their practice and share it back with you. Record read aloud passages to assess fluency in reading. Or, record your lectures and discussions to post for homework or in a flipped model classroom.
TeacherCast is a great resource site. On TeacherCast, you will find app reviews and recommendations, Ed Tech blogs, a LiveBinders gallery of tools, and many podcasts on educational technology. TeacherCast is a great site to begin when looking for technology to use in the classroom, or to review possible tools you'd like to institute.
Text the Mob is a really cool tool for assessing all your students at once in a formative and quick way. Text the Mob allows you to build custom polls and message boards. So, you could address the class with a prompt or question, they respond, and the results are instantly displayed on your custom message board. At the end of a lesson you could poll the class on a key concept, gather the results, and make decisions on whether you can move forward based on the reults. As pre-assessment, do the same and adjust accordingly. With new technologies like Text the Mob, it is getting easier to move away from the traditional IRE questioning - teacher initiates, one student responds, teacher evaluates, and moves the lesson forward. You might have a good idea of what the responding student knows or doesn't know, but what about everyone else?
Sponsored by Verizon, Thinkfinity has literally thousands of free resources for teachers. You can search by keywords, state standards, grade bands, or subject area for lesson plans, student web-interactives, worksheets, and more. Thinkfinity is the most expansive free resource site I have come across. Thinkfinity searches sites like the NCTM, ReadWriteThink, NatGeo, and other other educational websites to return content matching your search. Also, Thinkfinity searches thousands of submitted lesson plans. There are also professional development opportunities available through the site.
RSC's Visual Elements Periodic Table is a really easy to navigate tool. What separates this table from others is the amount of information you can obtain right from the table rather than clicking on an element. You can highlight blocks or periods and get information about them, use the temperature slider to identify the state of matter each element would be in at a given temp., or search elements by the year they were discovered. There is more information that you can gather right from the cover page. However, if you want more information about a particular element, click on it and you will go to that element's page where you get a menu of information and resources including videos and podcasts.
If you use YouTube videos for hooks in lessons, video tutorials, or any other educational reason, consider WatchKnowLearn as an alternative. WatchKnowLearn contains a compilation of educational videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and other providers. All the videos on WatchKnowLearn are organized by topic and age. It is a very extensive and well organized resource site.
YacaPaca! allows teachers to create online quizzes, assessments, and more. Students can then take assigned quizzes, etc. recieving instant feedback and providing the teacher a snapshot of what the student understands. Scores are instantly tallied and collected. As a teacher, you can choose from 1000's of free content or create your own assignments. Here is a demo video of what YacaPaca! has to offer.