Teachers around the U.S. are scrambling to come up with lesson plans and resources for students as many school districts are making the decision to shutter schools for the next two to three weeks (or even more) to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a global pandemic.
I teach high school English, and my school is considering closing, so I have to spend the next three days finding and recording videos to upload to Google Classroom so we have two weeks worth of work for my students if we close.
The good news is that in addition free and low-cost online teaching resources that already existed, many companies are offering free services to help schools, teachers, and students manage during this challenging time.
Here are 17 free online resources K-12 teachers can use to keep students learning
BookCreator lets learners combine text, images, audio and video to create interactive stories, poetry books, science reports and more. The company is offering 90 days free use of this tool, to help keep students and teachers connected.
BrainPOP offers short educational videos that can help anchor a lesson plan. There’s also BrainPOP Jnr. for K-3 and BrainPOP ELL for English language learners. The tool is being offered free for teachers affected by coronavirus school closures.
Canvas has a special section just for K-12 teachers, and it’s free to set up an account.
Schoology is an online learning management system specifically designed for K-12 that offers a free version.
Edmodo also offers a free plan, and lets you send messages, share class materials, and make learning accessible anywhere, plus helps you connect with parents as well as students.
Explain Everything helps teachers create interactive learning experiences in real time, with a free plan that covers up to 3 projects.
Flipgrid is always 100% free for educators and allows students to create short videos to reflect, discuss and showcase what they are learning, making, reading, and more. It’s an amazing way for teachers to stay connected with students during sudden school closures.
Google Classroom is an amazing and easy-to-use resource for teachers setting up online learning for the first time (HelpTeaching subscribers can also assign tests and quizzes via the tool). They’ve also put together a special series of COVID-19 resources and training for teachers new to the tool.
Google Hangouts has also announced that it will make advanced features free until July.
Loom is an app that allows you to record your screen along with audio instructions or explanations, which is great for recording anything from quick instructions on self-guided learning to a full online class students can watch anytime. They announced this week that they’ll be making their services free for teachers and students forever.
Teachers can use a free Padlet account to create a bulletin board for your students and their families, or set up an online space where students can share their work and see others’.
Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of pulling so many resources together? Wakelet helps you capture, organize and share multimedia resources with students for free so you can keep everything in one place.
With the Zoom app, you can hold and record a live lesson or classroom, and the company is lifting the 40 minute limit from their basic free plan for teachers who work at schools impacted by coronavirus.
Additional Online Learning Resources
If parents are asking you how to talk to their kids about coronavirus, share this advice from the Child Mind Institute.
If you’re wishing you could take a trip right now, Lifewire has outline the top virtual field trips.
You may also want to consider sharing a link with your students’ parents to our post on free online self-learning resources for students.
And if you’re looking for additional free tools to build lesson plans, check out our list of the top 100 free education sites.
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