Ten Free Classroom Tools to Transform Learning

By Rob Klindt

Online technology is continuing to transform the way educators develop and implement their classroom curricula. Developers have created a multitude of programs that cover math, reading, science, geology, geography, language arts and just about any other subject that might come up in a classroom.
And here’s the best news for teachers working with tight classroom budgets: basic versions of many of these programs are absolutely free.

Here are our top 10 favorite free tech tools designed to complement K-12 curricula

1. PlaceSpotting

Make your geography lectures come alive by using Google Earth to find images from places around the world, then create a classroom quiz about the image or choose from one of 20,000 pre-programmed quizzes designed for K-12 students.
Visit the site

2. Exploring the Planets

Blast off into space and know what to look for in this detailed interactive guide to the solar system, which includes images and astronomy facts from the National Air and Space Museum.
Visit the site.

3. Math Fact Café

Check out these printable math fact sheets, flash cards and multiplication tables for elementary school students. They are fully customizable and easy to update each semester.
Visit the site.

4. Classroom Architect

Experiment with the layout of your classroom via a cool collection of online diagrams and icons that can be customized to fit almost any space to enhance the learning environment. And best of all, until you’re ready to actually start rearranging your classroom, there’s no heavy lifting required.
Visit the site.

5. MapMaker Interactive

Put aside the old-fashioned classroom globe and log on to the Internet to review and download this versatile collection of customizable and printable maps of all 50 U.S. states, world continents, countries and global regions developed by the National Geographic Society.
Visit the site.

6. Digital Dialects

This impressive collection of interactive language-learning games makes it easy for students to learn basic words, phrases, numbers and written characters in many languages including Italian, Spanish, French, German and Chinese. Using Macromedia Flash Player, students build their vocabulary while listening to audio pronunciation clips.
Visit the site.

7. Evernote

Organization at your fingertips.  This cloud-based service allows you to make a digital record of anything at any time. Teachers can build and maintain a complete classroom planner, create notebooks on every student and include photos, test scores, grades, homework and assessments. Check out Evernote For Educators for more classroom tips.
Visit the site.

8. Jing

Capture. Record. Share. If you see a webpage, photo or document that you like on the Web, this cool screen-shot and video tool will capture it for you. Then, while using markup tools to add lines, arrows or highlights to your page, you can record your changes and share them via email or social media with students, parents and colleagues.
Visit the site.

9. U.S. Library of Congress

A special teachers page offers free classroom materials and professional development tips to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the library’s vast digital collections. Library of Congress lesson plans meet Common Core and state content standards, and the standards of national organizations.
Visit the site.

10. Funbrain

Search through this website’s dizzying collection of educational games, storybooks, flashcards and online tools focusing on math, language arts, science, history and geography. You’ll also appreciate a separate teacher’s resource guide with tips and tricks for getting the most out of the programs.
Visit the site.

Bonus tech tools we just couldn’t ignore:

  • Money Instructor: Debit cards, PayPal and online banking haven’t completely replaced the good, old-fashioned paper check. Download and print sample blank checks for students to practice their check-writing skills and learn how banks use account and routing numbers to process checks.
    Visit the site.
  • Google Drive: This popular and versatile cloud-based organizational tool works well for teachers who want to instantly create Web-based presentations, documents, spreadsheets and forms. Documents can be shared and updated by multiple users.
    Visit the site.
  • Donors Choose: A charitable website that connects teachers with donors who want to contribute to non-profit classroom projects.
    Visit the site.