A couple of days ago, I shared the great news that Flipgrid is now completely free for educators and it got me thinking:
“What other tech stuff can I get for free?”
I started poking around, asked some questions, did a little reading, reviewed some old History Tech posts, and came up with a list. And thought you might like a peek:
Digital storytelling tools:
I love Canva and the free version is simple yet powerful enough to create all sorts of cool products.
Adobe Spark – I love Adobe Spark even more. Videos, quick and easy to create websites, and social media graphics all in one shiny package. What’s not to like?
The gold standard in my book is G Suite for Education. And I know that you already know about Google Docs. But it’s more than just Docs – be sure you check out all the goodies. Slides, Sheets, Forms, Notes, Classroom, Drawing, Keep, My Maps, Drive, add-ons, Chrome browser extensions. It’s all tied together and it’s a beautiful thing.
But you might also want to look at something called LibreOffice. You get six programs that look and feel a lot like MS Office plus it can open, edit, and save in MS Office formats.
And maybe play around with Dropbox Paper. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it can be pretty handy. It connects with Slack and plays nice with Microsoft stuff.
Free online storage:
Speaking of Dropbox, you did know that this online storage tool gives you 2 GB online storage for free? And gives you more when you recommend others to sign up for a Dropbox account?
And we’ve already mentioned Google Drive. If you’re a G Suite Education user, you get as much storage as you want. Store as much stuff there as you want. But . . . don’t forget, your school basically owns and controls access to all of it. It’s nice to have some off-site Google storage, so be sure to set up your own personal Google account. You get 5 GB of free online storage and you can buy more storage as needed for basically nothing.
And technically it’s not free cause you’re paying $100 a year for it but as an Amazon Prime member, you get 5 GB of Amazon Cloud Drive space for free and unlimited photo storage at no additional cost. So two day shipping, access to videos / music, AND free storage.
We can’t afford Photoshop and the learning curve is pretty steep. So what else is there? Start with Photoshop Express Editor. And then explore GIMP, Fotor, and Pixler. And for super simple, you might try Luna Pic.
If you are looking for a free sound editing tools, you could probably start and end with Audacity. Free and easy-to-use open source, it can record live audio and computer playback. But you might also check out Ocenaudio, a bit simpler and less complex tool.
Content curation platform
Wakelet is a super simple tool to use and one of my new favorites for not just curation but sharing, digital storytelling, collaboration, and writing prompts.
Flipboard has been my go-to curation tool for years. Customizable, searchable, able to create personalized and sharable link lists with mobile app and browser-based versions. I love this.
LiveBinders are virtual classroom binders that exist online for everyone to access. Create binders so students can quickly find resources materials without having to ask. You can also organize materials based on curriculum, category, and classroom timelines.
Try Overdrive, which connects you to your local library or academic institution. Use the free app and your library card, and you’re entitled to any number of audiobooks and Kindle ebooks.
If you’re interested in classic literature, LibriVox specializes in public domain works.
If you’re looking to implement electronic textbooks, Project Gutenberg is a great place to start. They offer over 54,000 eBooks available for download, all free for students and teachers alike. Find textbooks on every subject, older literature with expired copyrights, and audio books galore.
EPIC is basically an on-demand digital library with over 25,000 books and videos perfect for kids between the ages of five and twelve. Some have audio components, allowing your kiddos to listen as they follow along as words and sentences are highlighted. Readers can click on unfamiliar words and get definitions and pronunciations. You can also get mobile apps across all devices as well as the traditional website.
Cause free is good.
cross posted at glennwiebe.org
Glenn Wiebe is an education and technology consultant with 15 years' experience teaching history and social studies. He is a curriculum consultant for ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas, blogs frequently at History Tech and maintains Social Studies Central, a repository of resources targeted at K-12 educators. Visit
glennwiebe.org to learn more about his speaking and presentation on education technology, innovative instruction and social studies.