Online/virtual/distant/at-home learning modes of instruction will take on increased importance even after the pandemic lifts. We spoke to national board-certified teachers and online education ninjas to identify the tools they find most useful in making the transition. This list is far from exhaustive, and ISA receives no royalties for sharing these tools; we have no relation to their parent companies in any way, shape, or form. We aim only to help ISA’s educators find the resources best suited to meet the learning needs and conditions of their students.
- In many instances, tools shared below are free and may offer their premium features at no cost through the end of 2019-20 school year.
- Instructional videos abound on YouTube, built by educators for educators. There is no question entered into a search bar that someone else has not previously asked, answered, and then recorded a video showing the steps to take.
- Many of these tools may cross into multiple categories. We try to position each within its primary area.
- For those who live, work, and play within the Google and G-Suite environment, the below site may be more focused to your needs:
Google created a “temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.” You will find all of Google’s educational applications, tools, partners, and tutorials in this comprehensive site.
Comprehensive Office Suites
The Microsoft Office 365 suite and G Suite for Education (Google) are the most common options purchased by states, districts, and networks for staff use. There are other suites as well. Determining the right one for you may rely on permissions set by your employer and the ease with which other tools, apps, and plug-ins work with your identified suite.
|Office365||G Suite for Education||Zoho Workplace||OpenOffice|
Forms, Surveys, & Quizzes
These tools allow a teacher to push questions to students on their devices and in real-time or asynchronously. Questions can take any form (e.g. open-ended, multiple choice, etc.) and often embed photo or video for students to analyze, respond, etc. The native interactive nature can take the form of a lesson, game, quiz, or exam.
|Google Forms||Microsoft Forms||Socrative||Quizlet|
|Survey Monkey||Poll Everywhere||Quizizz||Kahoot!|
These tools are your hard drive in the sky. Most are accessible across any platform and are increasingly compatible with a wide array of tools, suites, and learning management systems.
|Google Drive||One Drive||DropBox||iCloud|
These tools allow for audio, audio+video, and chat options for synchronous communication. Some allow for session recording, screen sharing, remote control, and other collaborative and archival tools.
|Zoom||Skype||Microsoft Teams||Google Meet|
Training & Certification
Through these links educators may access training on most every tool, app, suite, and program. In many instances, the instructions are written by educators for educators. There is rarely a question you can ask that someone else has not already asked, answered, and created a video to show how to do it.
|Google Teacher Center||YouTube|
These tools are more than calendars; they help students, caregivers, and colleagues schedule times to meet.
|Google Calendar Appointments||Microsoft Bookings||Calendly||Doodle|
Content for Many Disciplines
Rich, engaging, and often interactive content for multiple disciplines are offered through these tools.
|Newsela||Google Expeditions||Google Arts & Culture||PHET Simulations|
These tools have advanced capabilities beyond what is baked into apps of the same family and yet may be necessary for late-adolescent, secondary, post-secondary academics.
|Math/science graphing calculator||Student art portfolios||Digital pen and paper to annotate PDFs and more||A citizen science app for project creation and data collection|
|Links to apps for students with special needs||Online writing assistant|
Student Voice & Choice
These tools are designed to increase student voice and choice in their learning. They provide multiple ways for students to show what they know, whether done individually, in groups, or at the teacher’s direction.
These tools make the novice student or educator look skilled in designing flyers, newsletters, web banners, cover art, and more. Some also may support online collaboration.
With templates for flowcharts, diagrams, and more, these tools allow the educator to design custom graphic organizers to fit the specific needs of the content, user, or lesson design. Some may support online collaboration.
Social media algorithms may cause caregivers to miss timely posts and messages between teachers and caregivers. These tools allow for clear and timely channels of communication.
|Bloomz||Google Groups||Remind||Talking Points|
These applications offers educators a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, suite of tools that establish a virtual classroom, complete with ways to build and post assignments, hold classroom discussions, and assess student work. They are not full-fledged learning management systems.
Though designed initially for in-class management, these tools have expanded services to support remote learning, provide positive reinforcement, and offer communication with students and families.
English Language Learners
These tools assist with communication with students and families whose native language is not English. Some may allow the users themselves to translate assignments given to them into languages of which they are more fluent and familiar.
|Talking Points||Google Translate||Microsoft Translator||iTranslate|
Extensions & Plug-Ins for Chrome
These tools extend the capabilities of the Google Chrome Browser.
|Screen reader||Screen recording||Add instructional content into any website||Save, tag, and annotate online and PDFs|
|Read Aloud||OpenDyslexicFont||Application Launcher for Drive|
|Screen reader||Font to increase website readability for those with dyslexia||Open Drive files directly from the browser in compatible applications|
Extensions & Plug-Ins for G-Suite Apps
These tools extend the capabilities of G-Suite apps. Many are designed by educators for educators.
|Add interactivity in real-time to G-Suite apps||Tool for scaffolding, managing, organizing, and assessing student projects in Google Drive||A rubric-based assessment tool||Convert spreadsheets into flashcards|
And Even More
If you’ve not found what you’re looking for here, then you may wish to consult these sites that also offer comprehensive lists of online tools.
|Common Sense Education||Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence||loom|
|Capture screen, voice, and face in video|