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  • Home >> Web >> 10 Outstanding Free Websites for Teaching and Learning

    10 Outstanding Free Websites for Teaching and Learning

    Teaching is more than a full-time job. It can consume every minute of your life and still not seem like enough when you have to reach so many different types of learners coming from such a wide variety of backgrounds. Technology cannot fix the problems with education and is not a shortcut to faster, better learning, but when used correctly within the scope of the curriculum, it can enrich student learning and help teachers be more effective.

    There are a plethora of vendors peddling educational software and quick-fix tools. But anyone who has been in education knows that funding is always scarce, and most of the software is overpriced and still lacking many of the features you need. Knowledge is free, and the tools we use to access it should be as well. The following are just a handful of the free teaching and learning web applications you can find online. Both K-12 and academic educators may find some of these tools useful.

    1. Learnboost – free gradebook

    Learnboost is an online web app that offers teachers the ability to create lesson plans, track attendance, maintain schedules, and even integrate all of this with Google Apps. This makes it much more than just a simple online gradebook.

    2. Easybib – bibliography tool

    Easybib is a free citation tool that helped me get through grad school. It is good for students, teachers, librarians, and anyone else who needs to make a lot of citations but does not want to pour through style guides, manually alphabetize, and keep track of all their sources. The free version includes MLA style, while APA and Chicago/Turabian are available for a price.

    3. PlanbookEdu – lesson plan app

    Planbook can help you take lesson plans to the next level. With a full calendar of your lesson plans, standards integration, and Google Apps support, this tool is sure to be a winner for any teacher who wants the flexibility of being able to access his lesson plans from anywhere.

    4. Discovery Education Lesson Plan Library – free lesson plans

    Need an inventive, fun lesson plan? Discovery Education’s Lesson Plan Library provides a free catalog of lesson plans that you can browse according to grade level and subject area. All lessons are written by real teachers, and any teacher can submit an awesome plan to share with others.

    5. Exploratorium – digital science and art library

    Exploratorium is an online digital library for The Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception. The site includes a multimedia-rich experience allowing students to interact with exhibits, explore scientific phenomena, and download digital files for non-commercial use.

    6. WiziQ – virtual classroom

    If you need to teach online classes, WiZiQ provides a web-based platform for online teaching and learning. Beyond simple chatting, teachers and students can share presentations, audio and video files, and interact in a controlled environment. Classes are recorded for later use, and teachers can create classes with unlimited attendees for free.

    7. Footnote.com – historical documents

    Footnote is an online digital library containing 70 million historical documents. It is the ultimate historical reference site that includes social media tools to allow members to comment on documents, annotate, add footnotes, and connect with other users.

    8. ClassMarker – online testing

    ClassMarker is an easy to use app that helps teachers create online tests and quizzes for their students. With it they can manage classes, get instant results, export quiz results, and a host of other features. The site offers free and premium accounts.

    9. Google Art Project – digital art museum

    Art does not have to be boring, and Google hopes their new Art Project site, with works from 17 museums around the world, will transport students and other interested users to amazing collections of masterpieces. Art Project has precise zooming technology and the integration of Google Map’s “Street View” so that your students can walk through a 3D tour of each museum. All of it is free and available online.

    10. BAM! Body and Mind – health and fitness activities and games

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers students a fun website to learn about health, fitness, disease, and their bodies. It includes activities, teacher tools, and games. The Teacher’s Corner offers downloadable materials and activities.

    I extend my thanks to dedicated server web host 34SP.com for helping with the list. This is by no means a complete list of the multitude of teaching and learning tools on the web, but it should help you get started and make your teaching day a little easier. Your school, academic, or public librarian should be able to help you find more tools and web apps for teaching and learning.

    Tavis J. Hampton is a librarian and writer with a decade of experience in information technology, web hosting, and Linux system administration. His freelance services include writing, editing, tech training, and information architecture.

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