Online learning tools roundup: Free resources for teachers

Whether your district has opted to begin the 2020-2021 school year with in-person instruction, distance learning or a hybrid model, there will be unique challenges ahead. Many educators are heading into the fall with the knowledge that virtual interaction will be their primary mode of teaching, and some are concerned about having the right tools for the job. 

An early August poll conducted by Ipsos and NPR found that, while the majority of teachers across the country thought going primarily remote was the right call, 83% were worried about forging a connection with students who are new to their virtual classrooms this year.

We’ve decided to highlight some resources that work well with TCI programs and strategies. See the list below for tips on using the tools with your TCI program.

Free online educational tools to enhance instruction

Fodey.com

What it is: An easy-to-use app that makes writing exercises more fun and interesting.

Teacher tips for using this tech: Ask your students to use the newspaper clipping generator to summarize important information from your lessons. Then, have them share their journalistic write-ups with the class.

Word Art

What it is: An eye-catching world cloud generator to help you highlight key concepts in the text.

Teacher tips for using this tech: Copy and paste TCI chapter summaries into the import field, display the results to your students, and ask them to share what they remember about the most prominent words.

Read&Write

What it is: A Chrome Extension that enables in-browser notating functionality

Teacher tips for using this tech: Teachers can sign up for a free subscription using their district email addresses. As you share your screen to display TCI lessons, use the highlighting tool to model for your students how to build a personal vocabulary list from the unfamiliar words you encounter.

Flipgrid

What it is: A video-based discussion platform custom-built for educational environments.

Teacher tips for using this tech: Structure TCI discussions around opportunities to share prompts and responses in video format.

Padlet

What it is: A virtual, collaborative corkboard for free-form sharing.

Teacher tips for using this tech: Keep an ongoing tally of interesting topics you’ve covered throughout the year, and encourage students to add responses that refresh their learning.

Screencastify

What it is: A free Chrome Extension for recording and editing short videos using a webcam and screen-sharing technology.

Teacher tips for using this tech: Ready to assign some recorded virtual presentations based on topics from TCI materials? Just tell your students to keep it under five minutes, and this tool is perfect.

Among many other important items, at our recent Blended Learning Summit in July, we discussed how teachers can make use of free online educational tools like these. View the Summit recording to learn more.