Favorite Free Online Resources

The following are the favorite educational Web sites of free online resources roundtable participants at Tech Forum in Chicago in April 2005. Roundtable participants were Janine Shelley, Susan Oxnevad, Steve Dembo, Sandi Millman, Robbie Malkin, David Kasischke, Mary Thompson, Brooke Gaynor, and Mary Clifford. Gwen Solomon moderated the session.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) A portal featuring links to absolutely free resources in ten academic areas (art, educational technology, foreign languages, health and safety, language arts, mathematics, phys. ed., science, social studies, and vocational education – and all have further subdivisions). The materials are all from well-respected federally-funded sites such as the Library of Congress, NASA, the National Science Foundation, etc.

The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) Another federally-sponsored portal (Department of Education), GEM offers access to thousands of high quality lesson plans, curriculum units and other education resources on the Internet. Users may browse the site by academic discipline, by type (lesson plan, research study, etc.), and by five other criteria.

Tapped In Imagine: a site that views educators as professionals and, via a series of chat rooms, helps them to build a community by networking, discussing, collaborating, learning and mentoring.

The Foundation Center Extremely comprehensive site designed for both grant-seekers and grant-makers. Includes searchable databases of foundations and of their grants. A one-stop shopping site on the topic.

Teachers’ Network Professional development, lessons, and tons of resources for teachers from first-year to classroom veterans. Includes a special section for teachers in New York City.

HPRTEC (High Plains Regional Technology in Education Consortium)A portal to a range of teacher time-saving tools such as RubiStar (create customized rubrics), Web Worksheet Wizard (create and post Web pages), TrackStar (view online lessons) and many more.

Abcteach® The site offers 5,000+ free (you must sign up as a member) printable pages and worksheets in a variety of topics including Basics, Research Reports, Flashcards, Portfolios, Theme Units, and more.

Teach42 Blogs, Podcasting, RSS…if terms such as these capture your interest then definitely bookmark and spend time at this fascinating site with its links to an enormous range of ‘think-pieces’ centered around the uses of these new technologies in education.

The Global Schoolhouse Global Schoolhouse and its partner Global Schoolnet have a long and distinguished history of enabling teachers around the globe to have their students participate in collaborative projects, many of which are showcased by the annual CyberFair competition, now in its 10th year. Be sure to visit the Projects Registry to learn about the 2000+ projects in which classes may participate.

NCTM Illuminations A collaboration between NCTM (national Council of Teachers of Mathematics), the MCI Foundation, and Marco Polo, this site offers links to standards-based mathematics lesson plans for pre-K through Grade 12 as well as a look at the standards themselves. There are also Java-based “Tools†such as an “Adjustable Spinner†and “Circle Grapher.â€

Landmarks for Schools Run by veteran educational technology guru David Warlick, this content-rich portal offers an amazing wealth of material. There are links to science resources, social studies resources, the text of historic documents, images, and tons more.

TechLearning.com Contents of Technology & Learning magazine; Educators’ Outlook ezine (including Web Tours); daily features such as Site of the Day (which leads to more free sites), The IT Guy, Professional Development QuickTips, How-To QuickFlicks, and Leaders’ Edge; databases for such topics as grants, events, and web picks; eBooks; Webinar archives; special publications, and more.

Education World Everything education, including sections labeled: Lesson Planning, Technology Integration, Professional Development, Administrators, and more.

Wikibooks Free textbooks, collaboratively created by users like yourself, to which you may contribute. The site offers 8,000+ ‘books’ on a variety of topics ranging from A(lgebra) to U(nix). Some are quite complete while others are still under development.

Wikipedia More than 500,000 articles are available at this unique online encyclopedia. Most pages are loaded with active links for further exploration. Users may edit articles or click on “Start a New Article†to contribute their own knowledge.

Vocabulary University® Learning vocabulary can be fun at this very content-rich site with its wide variety of game-like activities. The interactive site provides instant feedback. High school students will appreciate the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) vocabulary builders.

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) To reflect its goal of expanding learning access for those with disabilities, the site believes in the Universal Design for Learning concept: multiple means of representation (to acquire knowledge), of expression (to demonstrate that knowledge), and f engagement (to involve and motivate learners).

Mr.PicassoHead What if the artist Pablo Picasso had had access to a Mr. Potato Head toy? This site lets users explore that scenario by creating their own “PicassoHeads†which they can then sign and Email. A fun site for creative teachers and creative students.

Puzzlemaker From DiscoverySchool.com comes this site which allows users to create customized puzzles in any of ten different types (Word Search, Number Blocks, Cryptograms, etc.). The site offers the same features on an inexpensive CD-ROM.

Flickr This free site should please anyone interested in digital photography as it allows users to upload photos (even from cameraphones), create albums, post photos to blogs, and even add comments, notes, or tags to ones photos.

Starfall Intended for the Pre-K through 2nd-grade crowd, whether in-school or home-schooled, this interactive site attempts to turn the task of learning to read into a painless, colorful, and fun activity. The “I’m Reading†module rewards those who have mastered the task with a wide range of delightful stories, plays, fables, and more.

Brainpop Although mostly a subscription site, it does offer free modules in its six subject areas (science, social studies, math, english, health, and technology). Users can view tutorials on topics such as “Measuring Circles†and then take an interactive quiz to see how much they’ve learned.

Oracle ThinkQuest Another site with a long and distinguished history, ThinkQuest challenges teams of students to collaborate and create educational Websites for their peers. The site allows users free access to the huge library of past ThinkQuest projects in almost every academic discipline and encourages students to enter the next competition, which begins August 15 this year, although coaches may register as early as June.

The Concord Consortium Offers sophisticated modeling software based on genetics, atoms and molecules, Newtonian mechanics, and other very powerful and innovative learning tools.

Museums in the USA A one-stop-shopping portal for probably every U.S.-based art, children’s, history, science, and technology museum. Users can view the site’s database by name of museum, by state, or by type of museum. There is also a list of user-nominated “best museums†and another of newest additions to the database.

Smithsonian Institution Links to all 15 Smithsonian museums plus outreach programs plus education materials plus much more.