Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2018
The 2018 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. Sites recognized are free web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.
Allsides for Schools is an essential and multifunctional program for promoting media literacy, critical thinking, and civil discourse. The AllSides News Page curates daily news stories by topic categories and with left-center-right bias ratings. Issue searches include background articles, thinktank and policy group perspectives, in-person Livingroom Conversation prompts and protocols, and Consider.it online discussion areas. Additional applications include the Allsides Balanced Dictionary, defining controversial terms and issues across the political spectrum; Mismatch.org, a platform for connecting classrooms and promoting civil discourse; and Allsides Boards, for posting assignments, sharing materials, and organizing research. Common Core aligned lesson plans and personal bias discovery tools round out the wealth of resources provided for, “Preparing students to participate thoughtfully in democracy – and in life.” Grades 6 and up.
App Inventor makes the process of designing Android Apps fun and accessible. Course-in-a-Box, video tutorials, and detailed instructions provide educators with everything they will need to start a coding course or club. Students, even those with limited coding experience, can learn to build and publish Android Apps within hours. The visual, block coding approach of App Inventor will engage and empower students to see what they can create next. iOS platform support coming soon! Grades 6 and up.
Be Internet Awesome offers elementary school students a path to digital citizenship and a way to become smart and safe users of the Internet. They will enjoy participating in the game Interland, and traversing Reality River, Mindful Mountain, Tower of Treasure, and Kind Kingdom to learn the fundamentals of online ethical use and safety. Additional resources for parents and educators are included. Grades 2-5.
Biointeractive provides multimedia science resources for secondary and college educators as well as students. Materials include short films, lectures, virtual labs, tutorials, apps, click-and-learns, and teacher guides. This easy-to-use site is filled with an abundance of materials for Chemistry, Ecology, Organisms, Biology, Genetics, Scientific Process, Evolution, AP Biology, and more. As teachers and students continue to seek textbook enrichments, Biointeractive becomes the perfect go-to website. Grades 7 and up.
Book Creator allows students to engage in the real-world application of online publishing. Both students and educators can create and publish fiction, non-fiction, comic books, picture books, how-to guides, and more. The free version allows each educator to store up to 40 digital books with text, audio, video, and illustration. Book Creator is available for iPad and Chrome. Useful in any content area and includes resources for training and support. Grades K and up.
BoomWriter’s interactive writing site promotes creativity and collaboration as students build on each others’ work to create a final writing product. Students start with a story prompt, then contribute successive chapters which are reviewed by the teacher and assessed by their peers, who vote for their favorite to add to the ongoing story. Once a book is completed it may be published online or purchased in hard copy format. Resources such as story starters and other ideas for educators add to the unique features of this site. Grades 2 and up.
Classcraft transforms classrooms through avatars, gamification, and creating immersive play that promotes self-actualization, engagement, and collaboration for students. Teachers can reshape lessons into quests in which students choose their own adventure or work as collaborative teams that build positive classroom culture. Classcraft offers a wide range of features to continually keep the game(s) fresh, including a random selector for elements of surprise, a timer/countdown, random events added to the story, a live volume meter, boss battles for formative assessments, and a grade converter to make points earned meaningful. Full integration with both Google & Microsoft Classroom and compatibility across platforms as well as extensive teacher resources make this site an educator’s and student’s technology dream. Basic account is free with fee subscriptions for advanced settings. Grades 4 and up.
Build and navigate 3D and 360 degree virtual reality worlds, either replicating actual places or creating imaginary ones, using objects and backgrounds from Cospaces’s library or importing your own. Cospaces also allows users to animate and code creations with simple visual programming language. Use this app to create simulations, tours, games, and more. All Cospaces scenes can be experienced in 3D on mobile devices with VR headsets. Grades 2 and up.
EdWeb is a free anytime-anywhere professional learning network for teachers, librarians, and administrators, offering over seventy-five different learning communities, covering a wide range of innovative topics and practices. The heart of Edweb is its community sponsored webinars, which are timely, engaging, and always archived. Edweb is a go-to source for personalized professional development, offering continuing education certificates, follow up online discussions, free resources, and a support network of like-minded professionals.
Global Goals is home to the world’s largest lesson! The site introduces students to the 17 sustainable development goals agreed upon by world leaders for a better world by 2030. These goals have the power to end poverty, fight inequality, and stop climate change. Each goal includes lessons and resources to use with students of all ages. Guided by the goals, it is now up to all of us, governments, businesses, civil society, and the general public to work together to build a better future for everyone. Grades K and up.
The Global Oneness Project believes in the power of stories. The site houses a rich library of free interdisciplinary multimedia stories incorporating award-winning films, photo essays, and articles, and includes a companion curriculum for teachers. With timely topics such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability, the site emphasizes our common humanity and facilitates the development of students’ critical thinking, inquiry, empathy, and listening skills. Ever evolving, a new lesson plan is released weekly. Grades K and up.
Kapwing provides a multi-tool solution for teachers and students to create everything from video montages and memes, to stop action videos and sound effects. Its simple yet robust platform makes it useful for students of all ages. Teachers can use the various tools to engage students in any subject, and students will use these same tools to showcase their learning and improve presentations. Grades 4 and up.
Teaching and Learning With The New York Times
The Learning Network offers a wealth of participatory and real world learning experiences for both teachers and students using The New York Times. Students have access to an article of the day, a news quiz, and a student opinion section. Teachers can access lesson plans in core subject areas such as English, Science, Math, Social Studies, Art, and ELL. There are also lessons on topics that build technology skills, such as podcasting. New content is added weekly. Grades 7 and up.
Students and teachers will find this screencast and webcam video creation tool helpful on a daily basis. Teachers will find it especially easy to create videos of tutorials, review sessions, or feedback for students assignments. Students can use it for presentations, how-to videos, or responses to assignments. The options are endless, and teachers with a flipped classroom will love the ease of use. Grades 4 and up.
Using an easy storyboarding process with no programming required, students and educators can create their own sophisticated, interactive augmented reality mobile games, interactive stories, breakout challenges, and more. Apps can include videos, 3D objects, websites, and more. Grades 7 and up.
Newseum is more than a physical museum in Washington D.C. Its NewseumED educational website contains primary sources, historical videos, and other resources that cover media literacy and civics. The site has curated virtual collections and artifacts as well as offering units, lesson plans, and activities. Signing up for a free account provides access to all of their educational resources. Use these materials to teach media literacy, propaganda, debate, fake news, and civics among many other topics. Grades 3 and up.
Pencil Code fosters an interest in computer coding by introducing concepts in an accessible, straightforward environment. Students can bolster their coding ability by creating art, music, or other imaginative projects. Extensive teacher resources are available, including guided tutorials and printable resources. Pencil Code can be used to reinforce a variety of math skills or as a platform for students to create their own works of interactive fiction. Grades K and up.
Prodigy is an epic adventure math game that will engage students in the quest at the same time they are learning math. The questions are actual math problems that must be solved in order to continue the quest. Teachers can create classrooms, add students, give a placement test, and track their students progress as they play. A math adventure is just around the corner to help students increase their math content knowledge and confidence in math facts. Grades 1-8.
Recap facilitates deeper, more empowering online discussions by combining the options of both chat and video for student responses. The site involves participants in a moderated, question-led dialogue using chat to get conversations started and video to explore thoughts more deeply. Students may be invited to answer questions in a queue, encouraged to dig deeper into a topic through a journey (collection of prompts), or to add their own questions. Sharing may be with the teacher, with the class, or with the world. Grades 2 and up.
Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday provides free STEM activities, lessons, and resources for all learners, making science fun for everyone! Science Friday will spark students’ curiosity at a visceral level, on topics from Frankenstein to the La Brea Tar Pits, and from shrinking polar bears to an online rock collection (#neatrocks). There is so much to explore in this child’s world! Science Friday connects digital STEM resources to hands on learning. Some activities in Spanish. Grades 3 and up.
Stanford History Education Group provides history lessons and assessments that teach students to use primary sources and explore historical inquiry. Free online lessons cover topics such as digital literacy, civic reasoning, and information literacy skills. Numerous assessments of various information literacy skills are provided. The assessments can be used to determine students’ existing knowledge, to design relevant information literacy lessons, and to spark discussions about digital content. Grades 6 and up.
Time.Graphics’s step-by-step guide leads students to easily incorporate text, video, and graphics to create an online timeline. Registering and creating public timelines is free, and private timelines can be created with a paid subscription. Completed timelines can be shared through social media or downloaded, and students can explore a wealth of timelines in the site’s library on global statistics or search for shared timelines on virtually any topic. Grades 7 and up.
Use Tinkercad’s CAD software to design 3D objects, such as prototypes, toys, practical tools, replacement parts, Minecraft models, jewelry, and more. Users can create objects from scratch with the site’s building blocks, from the extensive collection of community designs, or by importing and modifying 2D or 3D object files. Help and tutorials support beginning users. Teachers of younger students can create invite codes for accounts and monitor student work. Users can share designs in the community and do collaborative work, and designs can be exported for 3D printing. Grades 2 and up.
Students and teachers alike will enjoy creating videos using Typito. Users can incorporate icons, shapes, and photos to add pizzazz to any project; the platform offers a plethora of tools to unleash creativity. It is simple to incorporate audio, photo, and video files to give even the simplest video a professional look. Grades 4 and up.