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8 Free Online Resources to Recommend to Families – Easy EdTech Podcast 054

March 17, 2020


In this episode, I’ll share a few of my favorite online learning tools that you may want to recommend to families. If your students will be out of school for closures, these free tools are ones parents can easily access on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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Resources to Recommend to Families

So let’s make this EdTech easy…

1.  Decide “why” you want to share a resource with families

2. Choose how to share the link or recommendation

3. Share the resource with families through that channel

4. Follow up or give some general ideas on how to use it

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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124 Responses to “8 Free Online Resources to Recommend to Families – Easy EdTech Podcast 054”

  1. Sapna Satagopan

    Xyza: News for Kids is a news source that brings current events from around the world to kids. The calls for action or responses keeps the writing and reading skills strong. Free to all till end of the school year, at http://www.xyzanews.com.

    Newsicle is a related news trivia game for families and students. Daily news trivia questions related to a weekly topic keeps the news interesting, fun, and exciting. Available at http://www.newsicle.co.

  2. Stephen Black

    Bubiko and her adventures in AR have been presented at Hong Kong PolyU, all around the world, and twice at MIT. The virus situation has rushed Bubiko’s latest project out into the world: Bubiko’s I Spy Alphabet. It is fun, simple, free and uses a simple, proven technology. http://www.blacksteps.tv/oakbub/ . Bubiko’s I Spy Alphabet was developed by Stephen Black who has taught courses about Augmented Reality and 3D Gamemaking in the United States, Singapore and Southeast Asia.

  3. Jordy Koski

    I wanted to share a program we’ve been developing over the past few years called Phonics Fitness. We are making it freely available to families and teachers during this challenging time.

    Phonics Fitness is designed to be a 3 minute active learning break as part of a Kindergarten or Grade One program for kids aged 3 – 6. It can also be used by parents at home. Choose a good time for you and your class or child each day and get started.

    Phonics Fitness supports research that confirms Phonics is key when learning to read.

    Join Stretch in teaching your child to MOVE, SING and LEARN.

    To view the whole 34 day program please visit: https://phonicsfitness.org

  4. Andrea Bergstein

    Great resources, Monica! I would love to add a literacy tool — http://www.scribblitt.com, a free website with writing and illustration tools to help kids create their own books and comics! Stories can be entered in our writing contests, shared on our library for others to read, and authors can enter to be a featured scribbler. Prizes to be won! There is also the opportunity to publish a hardcover book or comic. Teachers, can find out how to connect your students to share access to stories online by emailing contact@scribblitt.com

  5. Joséphine Misson

    Hi Monica, and everyone!
    We have made Wooclap completely free for teachers all over the world. Our platform used by over 200K teachers is simple, interactive and integrated into the teachers’ ecosystem/work environment. This therefore makes it a solution that can be mobilized by a large number of teachers in a few days to respond to an emergency situation. Wooclap is a web based platform for interactive questions which, combined with your educational project, allows you to “activate” students both face-to-face and remotely during your course.
    If some teachers want to access the free version to help interact and engage with their students within conference tools, you can go to this link: https://wooclap.typeform.com/to/fsuBj9
    Stay safe!

  6. Jessica L.

    Thank you for putting these resources together!

    Study.com is donating 100,000 licenses to public K-12 school districts and schools in response to school closures. More information is available here: https://bit.ly/3amjB6l

    Discounts for parents, teachers and students can also be accessed through the Study.com homepage.

  7. Kyra Harakal

    As more and more schools across the globe are being affected by COVID-19-related closures, Texthelp would like to do our part in minimizing disruption to crucial teaching and learning time.

    We are providing FREE access to Fluency Tutor for Google Chrome through the end of the school year. Fluency Tutor is designed to help students improve reading fluency while saving busy teachers valuable time, and it’s perfect for a remote learning environment!

    Learn more about your FREE subscription to Fluency Tutor at https://text.help/EZEdTech-Fluency

  8. John Ng

    Schools as a whole have been affected by the global COVID-19 virus outbreak. We are doing our part of helping teachers and students all to stay gainfully occupied indoors and learn online by offering Zapzapmath School Premium completely FREE OF CHARGE.

    What this means is that every teacher that sign up will have full access to all Web Dashboard features and over 180 math games from K to grade 6 totally FREE.

    Teachers just need to signup at https://www.zapzapmath.com/school and they are good to go!

    Please share this with your friends and teachers.

  9. Kent Sisco

    We are offering Speare Pro for FREE to teachers and students. Speare is a 21st-century thought processor that gives you the power and flexibility you need to be a self-learner, problem-solver, innovator, and thought developer. Speare helps you naturally go from taking notes to building a personal thought library to writing and compiling documents all within Speare.

    Go to https://speare.com/@education for more information on getting started today!

  10. Mitul Daiyan

    WBH’s Distance Learning Center provides educators and caregivers with a curated selection of resources from our extensive PBS LearningMedia platform and early childhood education libraries. These resources cover a range of topics for every grade and feature assignable, self-paced, and self-contained activities to help provide students with high-quality, standards-aligned material.

    Visit the site to get started right away: https://www.wgbh.org/distance-learning-center
    For more free high quality resources, please visit PBSLearningMedia.org

    Please feel free to reach out to education@wgbh.org with any questions or feedback!

  11. Ramon Moragrega

    Hi there! We are Estudi Kalimba. Just let you know that our app Dic-Dic, that helps children learn their first language or multiple languages, is free for the forseeable future (reg. $2.99). Dic-Dic is available in British English, American English, Spanish, Russian, French and Catalan. To learn more visit http://www.dicdicapp.com/en.
    Download link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/dic-dic-multilingual-dictation-to-practise-spelling/id643656920.

  12. Matt Nupen

    Math can be a challenging subject for remote learning. Mathshare helps students show and organize their math work. Our unique step by step process give students a full math editor and dedicated place to explain their reasoning.

    We’ve partnered with learning and disability experts to ensure that Mathshare supports the needs of a wide range of students. Mathshare is free for schools and developed by the non-profit Benetech.

    “During this quarantine, Mathshare is a platform that my students are using to show me their work so that I can better help them.” – SA, 7th and 8th Grade Math Teacher

  13. Dale Petersen

    We are offering our online learning videos free of charge. Simply email us at info@virtualfieldtrips.org with your name and email address (for logging in) and we will provide you with access to all our videos and quizzes for 60 days. You can also use the Contact Us form on the website (www.virtualfieldtrips.org). We specialize in K-8 social studies, life science, geography, and ancient civilization curriculum content.

    Please share this message with your colleagues so that we can support as many educators and students as possible.

    Best of luck to all!

    The Team at Virtual Field Trips
    http://www.virtualfieldtrips.org

  14. Marla Wilson

    ActivEd, Inc. is offering free temporary access to Walkabouts for any parent, teacher, or student. Walkabouts are fun online adventures to engage Pre-K to 2nd-grade students in language arts, math, and reading. We created generic credentials by grade level to make logging in from wherever you are very simple: http://info.activedinc.com/covid

  15. Michelle Diaz

    Our company bulb Digital Portfolios at bulbapp.com has always been free for educators but due to all the school closures happening worldwide we are now offering our flagship product for classrooms, schools and districts, bulbEd. Learn more here: https://www.bulbapp.com/h/covid-19-emergency-response/ OR feel free to reach out to me directly for questions and assistance. We’re doing all we can to get classrooms up and running within a couple of days.

  16. Mike Hempfling

    I have reduced the price for my Math Facts Mahjong game to $0.99 from $2.99 during the coronavirus pandemic. I hope this will help all schools, teachers and kids to be able to afford this educational game for learning math facts. This a great game for kids learning and practicing math facts and has lots of customizing options which keeps it fresh and interesting for kids. The app has earned 5 stars from the Educational App Store for its fun and effective way to develop arithmetic skills.

    App Store Link:
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/math-facts-mahjong-game/id1471867875?ls=1

    Google Play Link:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cravecreative.mathfactsmahjong

    Web site:
    http://www.cravecreative.com/math-facts-mahjong.php

  17. Thank you for posting this resource page! I would love to add BoomWriter to the list. BoomWriter is a writing app recommended for grades 2-8. With BoomWriter, teachers can create digital student journals, write a book with their class, create writing activities in any subject, and more! Teachers can also provide personalized feedback, maintaining teacher-student communication during remote learning! Learn more at https://boomwriter.com/

  18. Marla Wilson

    Glose Education (https://glose.education) becomes free for schools, teachers and students in need. Give students 4,000 ebooks to read on any device they have and from wherever they are. It’s a platform that makes it easy to stay connected, discuss, and learn together. Ideal for middle and high school!

  19. Alexandra

    Thanks for this info Monica! I urge parents/guardians/students to check out PechaKucha!

    PechaKucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is an underground, storytelling format (and now an online platform) used by millions around the globe. PechaKucha’s are celebrated at Open Mic Nights, schools, businesses, and online.

    A PK is simple: Discuss 20 images for a total of 20 seconds each image – allowing an audience to be captivated for just 6:40 minutes – that’s it! Feel free to go create, watch, and learn via https://www.pechakucha.com

  20. Jennifer Harrison

    Nepris (https://Nepris.com) connects classrooms with working professionals for web-based interactive meetings. Either the teacher can ask for an expert on nearly anything to meet with his/her class OR teachers can sign up their classes to participate in one of 60 chat sessions that are already scheduled between now and the end of April (see them all here https://www.nepris.com/industry/talks). Fees have been waived through April 30 and may be extended if the quarantines persist. There will be new features coming online so that students and families can also watch sessions (which can be a big help keeping kids engaged in a learning activity while at home).

  21. Ami Shah

    Thanks Monica for sharing these tips!

    To support social emotional learning, Peekapak is providing free access during school closures. This will allow schools to provide lessons, at-home activities and interactive learning games for all affected families with children between Pre-K to 5th grade. Our resources promote literacy skills while helping families remain calm and practice social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy, and perseverance. Schools and educators can sign up here: https://www.peekapak.com/schoolclosures;

  22. Marissa & the Mindsets Team

    Hi Monica, Mindsets is releasing a parent membership in the next few days and a new innovation – Mindsets Open Math Challenge , which will be open 24/7 and also include 1 hour free open classes hosted by our team and special guests. Middle Sschoolers will be able to keep their math learning going, applying their math skills to solve a real world problem they care about. Keep an eye out on http://www.mindsets.com for details.

  23. I wanted to let you know that Stop, Breathe & Think offers free, lifetime subscriptions to their SBT and SBT Kids apps to support those who support all of us. In addition, we have a free category in the app called “Calm Coronavirus Anxiety” available to anyone, those with or without subscriptions for 60 days.

  24. Conchi Ruiz Cabello

    Genially is a content creation tool that teachers around the world use to create interactive learning resources. There are hundreds of templates available and teachers can create interactive images, infographics, digital breakouts, and presentations for their class easily, no programming or design skills required. In response to the dramatic number of school closures, and hoping to facilitate remote learning to thousands of people, many of our premium templates and resources are now available for free, for everyone. And they will remain like that forever. The goal is that students, educators, and professionals can have access to a good number of diverse and quality materials to work on. You can register for free at http://www.genial.ly

  25. Fred Cutler at WeVu.video

    WeVu.video is free for educators during this crisis. If you need a platform where teacher and students can upload and share video, audio, image, and pdf, and then all can comment and discuss at specific moments in videos and places on images and pdfs, then please try WeVu. Let me know what you are trying to accomplish: fred.cutler@wevu.ca
    Best wishes to everyone trying to keep the learning going!

  26. Sandy Rice

    Distance learning tools made available by Blocksi for Free till the end of the School year

    Out of school filtering for Chromebooks
    Parent dashboard to manage screen time
    Anti-theft and device tracking
    Classroom Management with audio-video capabilities
    Would that help your school district?

    If yes, Let me know Sandy.Rice@blocksi.net

    Watch a video to learn more

    0e469685-5c49-4fe8-a8b9-7c4c8e6d66ae.png
    http://www.blocksi.net
    Blocksi on Twitter

  27. Carol Rogalski

    Thank you, Monica. We hope everyone stays safe! Duolingo (in app stores and at http://www.duolingo.com), provides bite-sized language learning for free for both kids and adults. It starts by assessing your kids’ current fluency, then helps them develop their skills by introducing words and phrases, with regular quizzes.

    Duolingo covers both spoken and written conversation, and its instant feedback makes it rewarding to use.

  28. Akansha Tete

    SplashLearn is a game-based math learning program that covers kindergarten to grade 5 math skills through engaging games. It’s available on iOS, Android and web. By signing up for a SplashLearn free-for-life account, teachers and school, can ensure that their students continue learning even when they are not in class. Any practice assignment or assessment assigned to students by teacher can be accessed at home for free through laptops, iPads or smartphones.

    Link: https://support.splashlearn.com/hc/en-us/articles/360044282794-How-SplashLearn-can-help-you-manage-your-class-effectively-during-Coronavirus-outbreak

  29. Script is an electronic workflow platform that provides the ability to send, receive, and route paperwork to both staff and/or parents. Upload an existing PDF to our system, or choose from more than 50 forms we have available in our form gallery. The workflows can notify staff, process payments, and provide insight into bottlenecks in your processes.

    The added bonus of electronic workflows is you can do the same work from home that you can do in school, without the worry of transmitting germs.

    Learn more at http://www.scriptapp.com!

  30. Natalie Saaris

    Actively Learn is a digital curriculum platform with thousands of text and video assignments for middle and high school ELA, science, and social studies. We are offering all of our premium features for FREE through the end of the school year. Check out our website to learn more! http://www.activelylearn.com

  31. Kelsey Jern

    eSpark Learning is offering free parent and teacher accounts which can be used at home on all devices! eSpark differentiates K-5 reading and math with activities kids love, and is a great way to challenge each individual student at the level that’s right for them. We’re actively doing all we can to support parents, teachers, and students in their distance learning plans during this time. Sign up free at https://www.esparklearning.com/ or contact us at Support@eSparkLearning.com with any questions!

  32. Julia Dexter

    We have two wonderful digital reading programs that won the top new innovation at the 2019 Future of Education Technology Conference.

    Squiggle Park is for kids in preschool to grade 2 and leads to mastery of all their foundational reading skills 9phonemes, phonemic awareness, spelling, word work, vocabulary etc.)
    https://www.squigglepark.com/squigglepark/

    Dreamscape is for kids in grades 3-8 and focused on the development and mastery of comprehension and sub-comprehension skills. It is a FREE forever program which can be signed up for here: https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/

    Kids love these games because they are designed to be real video games. This helps a great deal in a remote learning environment because kids choose to play and ultimately learn!

    Thanks for sharing!

  33. Tim Smock

    Monitoring kids screen time in this “new normal” is soooo hard. Test 4 Time (www.test4time.com) requires that kids answer age appropriate math questions to “earn” time on their devices. One correct answer equals one minute of screen time. Check it out.

  34. In February, 4% of the K12 population was being homeschooled, another few percent were in virtual schools. While this was a sideshow (and a growth trend), it’s now a mainstream question for all families. Many homeschoolers started initially because of a series of unfortunate events and turned to homeschooling as a last resort. Then they found that it was a positive life style and educational experience. Learn about homeschooling at Homeschool.com . Get a free guide to homeschooling at: https://www.time4learning.com/homeschool/how-to-homeschool.shtml

  35. Emir Plicanic

    Thank you for posting this online resource. As you know (https://classtechtips.com/2017/10/24/video-tool-for-classroom-observations/), we provide teachers and instructional coaches with an online video feedback platform. As schools are closing we’re learning about ways Vosaic can be used for online teaching and helping families who are home schooling. Instead of free 14 day trial we’re offering free 90 day trial, and will be posting about different ways Vosaic can be used on our blog (https://vosaic.com/blog/teach-online-with-video)

  36. Sammy Ekaran

    Thank you for sharing these interesting tools. I would like also to suggest SelfCAD. An easy to use 3D modeling software for students and teachers. With SelfCAD, users can be able to model, sculpt and slice all under one program without the need for additional software or extension. Currently, SelfCAD is giving out a 60% discount for all students and teachers. To get the discount, go to the pricing page and use the Coupon code, ” Education” https://www.selfcad.com/pricing.
    Check out these videos intended for educators https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7bqPx7apKhtDfWkFZfpK0w

  37. Miriam Altman

    KiNVO Connect, a web, mobile, and tablet app for teachers and administrators, offers two-way, SMS, MMS, email, and phone call communications in 80+ languages. School and district-level accounts provide leadership with communications oversight and a consistent tool for all staff to use. Kinvolved is offering its KiNVO Connect parent and family engagement software free to a limited number of schools and districts for the rest of the year. Sign up at http://www.kinvolved.com.

  38. Matthew Cibula

    Knowledge Unlimited is providing our Read to Know program FREE OF CHARGE to all educators and families from now until June.

    Read to Know is an award-winning weekly news magazine focused on current events. This resource helps young people learn about the world while practicing non-fiction reading skills.

    Every issue provides new content relating to important national and international events, arts and culture, science and technology, animal and environmental news, history, and much more. Regular use of Read to Know builds vocabulary and background knowledge and improves critical thinking. It’s also a program that a family can use together to stimulate great discussions.

    Accessing Read to Know is easy. Just go to http://www.newscurrents.com and click the blue LOG IN button. Enter brain for your username and spring for your password.

    That will give you a choice of four programs. Click on Read to Know to get into the current week’s issue, where you can read stories, take quizzes, download activities, and access the extensive archive of articles.

  39. GrammarFlip

    GrammarFlip (an online grammar and writing program) is providing free for 30 days full access to all materials (instructional video lessons, slideshows, grammar diagnostic assessments, practice exercises, writing application activities, writing portals, progress reports, review games, and more) with the exception of the post-evaluations for over 85 grammar units.

    If any teachers or parents need a remote learning program to teach and track student progress from home, please feel free to share GrammarFlip with them. Teachers and parents alike can sign up for free.

    http://www.GrammarFlip.com

  40. Rob Bencal

    Would love for you to share our 60-day free offer. We’re a great resource for at-home learning because we offer streaming videos for both exercise and curriculum topics. Helps parents to make sure kids are getting physical activity while stuck inside and also a great way to make science, math, ELA, social studies fun with engaging videos and projects. We also have a great series on digital safety for kids and parents during this time of spiking device use.
    THANK YOU!!!

  41. Erin Hildreth

    Our organization offers free educational resources that are science-based and aligned to national education standards. They are fully digital and video-based, and teach all about how alcohol negatively affects the developing brain. Geared towards kids in grades 4-7, the curriculum helps to prevent underage drinking by teaching kids what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that does to them!

    There are also great lessons on saying “NO” to peer pressure and various ways to start conversations at home.

    Access them at http://www.asklistenlearn.org

    Thank you, Monica, for doing this!

  42. Bill Rappel

    PowerMyLearning is granting all impacted schools and districts free access to Family Playlists®, a research-based remote learning tool that connects students, teachers, and families. Please share this news with your local school leaders and visit our blog to learn more: http://bit.ly/3b0uHhq

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