It’s the 21st century. So we’re not living like George Jetson yet, but we have access to quite a lot of high tech resources that would’ve seemed like sci-fi only 50 years ago.
From tools that help you map out your lesson plan to those that help you map the face of Mars, let’s take a look at amazingly free teacher resources you need in your classroom. If you’re still using yesterday’s resources, these tools are going to transport you into the future.
I hope you’re ready! Let’s go.
01. TED-Ed: Engaging and inspirational resources for education
TED-Ed is the youth initiative started by TED, a non-profit organization short for the advancement of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED-Ed is a website filled with insanely interesting videos, discussing everything from skin colour to gravitational waves. TED-Ed creates thought-provoking content that’s always entertaining. For an example of this, check out their comprehensive and interactive periodic table that features videos for each element.
02. SciShow: Short and simple science videos
SciShow and SciShow Kids are two YouTube video channels that produce educational content. SciShow Kids is geared towards younger students. Most videos are well under five minutes in length and prove great conversation starters before launching into a lesson.
03. Share My Lesson: Swap teaching resources with other educators
Share My Lesson gives educators access to other lesson plans and classroom activities. This supportive site was formed by the American Federation of Teachers as a comprehensive resource for all. It spans all grade levels, from toddler to 12th grade. Lesson plans are well organised by subject and grade level. Users are encouraged to rate lesson plans, which make it easier to find the best resources.
04. Teachers Pay Teachers: Online marketplace for educational resources
Teachers Pay Teachers is a popular site that allows teachers to purchase educational resources from other teachers. However, Teachers Pay Teachers is also a library of 100% teacher’s helps also. In fact, every seller must include at least one free resource.
05. Kahoot!: Game-based learning platform
Kahoot! helps you “make learning awesome” by giving you the superpower to design your own learning games. Turn your lesson plans into cool challenges that your students will most definitely respond to. It’s taking your pop quiz and turning it up a notch– or ten! Students can play on multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
06. Khan Academy: A learning resource for every age
Khan Academy is an educational resource that works almost like an online tutor. The stripped down lessons in Khan Academy often feature a voiceover and a drawing program where the teacher explains concepts in a patient and supportive manner. It’s a great resource for helping students who may need extra support.
07. Code.org: Computer science for early education
Code.org reminds us that coding is the face of the future. If you’re interested in a fun, easy, and interactive way to teach your students how to code, look no further than Code.org. Kids get to code with famous characters that they already know and love, such as Angry Birds, Minecraft, and Frozen. Although it’s geared towards elementary school-aged students, anyone will enjoy creating code on this site and, just as importantly, they’ll understand the logic behind it.
08. Educreations: Recordable whiteboard app
Educreations is a whiteboard tool that allows you to draw ideas on your tablet and take it with you wherever you go. Educreations works with Edmodo, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more, allowing you to share your creations with others. You can save videos, photos, and other documents in the cloud to be accessed from any location with Internet.
09. Quizlet: Virtual flashcards and other learning tools
Quizlet lets you create study tools for your students, including flashcards, other games, and of course quizzes. Turn studying into a game with the Quizlet competition feature. Students can compete with each other for the highest score. Students can also access your study tools from their phones and tablets with Quizlet’s mobile app.
10. Free Rice: Multiple choice educational games to end world hunger
Free Rice combines education with charity. For every correct answer, World Food Programme will donate 10 grains of rice. Help end world hunger while studying– what’s better than that? Lessons include math, science, geography, humanities, and English.
11. Skype in the Classroom: Video conferencing for the classroom
Skype in the Classroom allows you to interact with other classrooms, whether across the hall or across the globe. It is the 21st century, after all. Use this tool to aid in remote mentoring with your students. Another fun idea for Skype in the Classroom is to host interactive interviews with experts in a subject you’re teaching.
12. Teach With Movies: Educational films to accompany lesson plans
Teach With Movies provides you with lesson plans based on movies. What a novel concept! Combining entertaining with education in a way that drives home a concept that your students may be struggling with. Teach With Movies tackles chemistry, US history, math, music, and every major lesson type.
13. Google Earth: Virtual mapping program
Google Earth is a great interactive tool that makes it fun to explore the earth’s geography. Use the Street View feature to travel to different parts of the globe without stepping foot outside your classroom. Google Earth also offers a diverse amount of information, ranging from the Lewis and Clark trail map in 1814 to an interactive tour of the planet Mars.
14. Teachinghistory.org: Learning resources for US history
Teachinghistory.org provides resources for teaching US history to every grade level. Teachers have access to lesson plan rubrics along with other resources, including the informative “Ask a Historian” feature.
15. Diigo: Social bookmarking and sharing tool
Diigo helps you collect, annotate, and organise the information you find on the web. Then, you can share it with others. It helps you research more quickly and efficiently, enabling you to bookmark as you go and call up those bookmarks when you most need them.
16. Nearpod: Interactive presentation tool
Nearpod is an interactive mobile presentation tool that can also be used for student assessment. As an educator, you can create interactive presentations, then share your lessons with your students. You can also include polls and quizzes to increase engagement within your presentation.
17. Edublogs: Blogs for the classroom
Edublogs gives you (teacher and student) 100MB of space to create safe, mobile friendly, customisable blogs. Use Edublogs to create a classroom blog where you and your students can all participate. With Edublogs, you can approve student posts, control privacy, and leave private comments for students.
18. Storify: Social media content curator
Storify is a social media tool that gives educators the ability to create engaging stories from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Grab content from multiple sources to create a cohesive story. It’s perfect for taking a global look at current events.
19. Storybird Studio: A collection of literary tools
Storybird Studio is a beautiful tool that helps promote language arts. It uses illustrations to inspire students to write. Storybird Studio aligns with common core standards, is user friendly for both teachers and students, and is just stunning to look at. It works with any curriculum and on any device.
20. Little Bird Tales: A story building tool
Little Bird Tales is similar to Storybird Studio. It’s a tool that enables students to create their own designs and tell a story their way with their own recorded device. Students can use the Little Bird Tales’ included art pad to draw ideas from scratch or they can also upload photos and images. Next, students record an audio and add text. Finally, created stories can be emailed to friends and family. Little Bird Tales can be used for multiple types of lessons, including math.
21. LiveBinders: Digital 3-ring, organizational binder
LiveBinders is a comprehensive resource for teachers that allows you to organise your resources, share your lesson plans, and collaborate with others. With LiveBinders, you can create a parent binder that contains at home worksheets. You can create a binder to aid your substitute when life happens. You can also collaborate with other teachers on lesson plans in real time.
22. Dropbox: Cloud-based file hosting service
Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to save documents on the cloud. You can also easily share those documents with others. For example, if you need to share documents with a substitute teacher, use Dropbox to create a folder that contains all necessary files.
23. Freepik: Search engine for graphic design resources
Freepik offers free graphic assets that you can use to spruce up your handouts, flyers, and other documents. This site includes photos and graphic elements including holiday themed cartoons, calendars, and and popular icons.
24. Scrible: Annotation and bookmarking tool
Scrible allows users to save online articles for easy access. With Scrible, you can also annotate articles online without the need to print first. This tool is incredibly easy to use, and it makes it easy to organise articles to aid in you and your student’s research. Oh, and great news, they just launched Scrible Edu, a new product that streamlines the student research and writing process!
25. Edmodo: Classroom social networking for teachers, students, and parents
Edmodo is an educational website that allows teachers to connect with students and parents safely. Assign homework, view progress, conduct polls, and share resources. Parents love Edmodo too because it helps them stay connected with what’s happening in the classroom.
26. CrashCourse: An educational YouTube channel geared towards older students
CrashCourse videos are hilarious and education at the same time– a difficult feat. The videos on CrashCourse discuss everything from economics to astronomy, philosophy to psychology. Videos average 10 minutes but are packed full of facts.
27. Duolingo: Language learning app
Duolingo is a language app that’s accessible by smartphone and tablet. For the price (free), it’s an impressive tool that can assist your students with their language-learning quest. Duolingo offers a wide range of language lessons, covering just about everything– from French to Klingon (launching soon). Qapla’!
28. iCivics: Web-based games for learning civics
iCivics turns civics lessons into a fun game that your students will love to play. With iCivics, players actively become involved in government. They can enact new laws and even run for president. By gamifying government, iCivics helps students understand how the branches of government interacts with each other. You can also download and print accompanying lesson plans.
29. Explain Everything: Interactive whiteboard app
Explain Everything allows you to create and animate drawings right from your tablet. It’s a virtual whiteboard that enables collaboration with multiple users together in real time. You can also watch and download other projects to share with your classroom.
30. Remind: A messaging and communication tool
Remind is a messaging app that helps teachers, students, and parents communicate quickly and efficiently. By connecting school communities, Remind makes it easy for everyone to succeed together. Remind is based in San Francisco, CA and is used by more than 35 million people in 3 out of 4 U.S. school districts.
31. Canva: Simple online graphic design
Canva is an online graphic design program that empowers students and educators to create stunning designs and documents. Whether you’re creating a flyer for your school drive or encouraging your students to design a book report cover page, Canva is a free web-based resource that’s incredibly easy to use– no learning curve necessary.
32. Socrative: Web-based student response system
Socrative is a student response tool that allows you to engage your students in clever ways. Use Socrative to create quizzes and evaluate your student’s level of understanding. Quizzes can be taken on the computer or on a smartphone. Feedback is immediate and results can be downloaded, emailed, or saved to your Google Drive account.
33. Adobe Voice: Animated video creator
Adobe Voice lets you create and produce an animated video from your smartphone or tablet in minutes. Involve your entire class and draw a compelling story that accompanies a lesson.
34. Common Curriculum: Collaborative lesson planning
Common Curriculum provides real time lesson planning. You can also collaborate with other teachers to create the best plan for your students. You’ll start by creating a plan book. The process is straightforward, and the site walks you through each step of the way. The design is elegant and every element is well-planned.
35. Planboard: Online lesson planner
Planboard is another lesson planning app that helps you get organised. You can plan lessons from any device, including your tablet. Use Planboard to compose lessons, and add attachments such as files, photos, and videos. Just like with Common Curriculum, you can also share your lesson plans with others.
36. Pear Deck: Interactive slide presentation tool
Pear Deck is a presentation tool that allows teachers to create a live presentation event. Assign students unique codes and encourage them to interact with your presentation through planned or impromptu questions. Their answers or comments can then be displayed within the presentation. Pear Deck offers premium services, but it does include a free option as well.
37. Buncee: Content creation and sharing tool
Buncee is an easy to use presentation tool that allows teachers and students to create fun and colourful projects. Use it to design interactive lesson plans, illustrate short stories, or send invitations to upcoming school events.
38. ForAllRubrics: Rubric, Checklist, and Badge Creator
ForAllRubrics lets you create rubrics aligned with Common Core standards. Use this tool to save and easily call up student assessments and view the entire class in real time. It’s colourful interface makes it easy to visually locate the information you need quickly.
39. Wikispaces Classroom: Educational social writing platform
Wikispaces Classroom allows educators to create a free classroom workspace. Use this tool to collaborate with students on writing projects in real time and remotely. Create a safe and private social network for your classroom with Wikispaces Classroom. Here, you can participate in conversations, upload videos, take polls, and edit pages together as a team.
40. Wolfram Alpha: An “answer” engine
Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine. It’s similar to a search engine, in that you or your student type a query into the search box. However, that’s where the similarity ends. Wolfram Alpha displays trillions of data points from thousands of sources verified and curated by humans that anyone, including teachers, can access.
41. StudyBlue: Online studying platform
StudyBlue allows you to find flashcards or create your own and then share them with your students. But instead of old school index cards, your students can access these flashcards on their smartphone. Help your students remember no matter where they are. With StudyBlue, students can study from anywhere without lugging around a collection of flashcards.
42. Google Drive: Cloud-based file storage and productivity suite
Google Drive is a free and incredibly robust resource that you should definitely use if you haven’t already. Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Office, and includes a word processor (Docs), a spreadsheet (Sheets), and even a slideshow presentation creator (Slides). You can also save and share files on Google Drive, up to 15 mb, for free. One great way to use Google Drive is to ask students to save and share their essays on Google Drive. You can even make comments directly on Google Drive.
43. Floors by Pixel Press: Educational mobile game creator
Floors by Pixel Press allows students (and teachers) to create fun Mario-style games for free with no ads. Teachers can download one day and five day lesson plans to accompany Floors.
44. ClassDojo: Classroom management tool
ClassDojo is a class management tool that is absolutely free for teachers and is used in 50% of US schools. ClassDojo can be used to keep parents in the loop with your daily classroom activities. This app allows teachers to track student behavior and provide frequent, visual updates for parents, in the form of instant messages, photos, and videos.
45. SignUpGenius.com: Event planning and volunteer management
SignUpGenius.com makes it easy for you to organise school volunteers and activities. Use this free organisational resource to assign field trip chaperones, schedule parent-teacher conferences, collect money for charity drives, create a start of the school year supply list, or more.
46. SymbalooEDU: A cloud-based resource management tool
SymbalooEDU is a visual management tool that makes it easier for students and educators to save, organise, and share resources in the cloud. Teachers can curate content and save to one central location, and because Symbaloo stores all information in the cloud, it’s easy to call up information from multiple devices. Use Symbaloo to customise lesson plans. It can also stand it as a library for classroom of students or a network of educators.
47. Seesaw: Web-based learning journal
Seesaw turns your students into blogging journalists. Students can document what they’re learning using links, photos, videos, text, drawings. They can then share their content with you, each other, and their parents.
48. CNN Student News: Daily news program for older students
CNN Student News helps you get your students involved in current events. Student News videos are hip and directed towards a younger crowd. Each daily video is 10 minutes, making it easily digestible, perfect for those with shorter attention spans.
49. HippoCampus: A library of educational videos
HippoCampus allows educators to make video playlists to delve deeper into subject matter. You can explore almost 6,000 different videos in topics ranging from math to humanities.
50. PowToon: Web-based animated presentation software
PowToon allows you to produce beautiful, professional-looking animated videos and presentations. Use PowToon to animate a lesson, making hard subjects easier for your students to understand and enjoy.
That’s it for now! I hope these free teacher resources will help you engage your students further in their learning. If you have any other tools in mind, feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment.