Free websites help boost student engagement, teacher productivity

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
February 24th, 2012

Teachers can use free sites to help boost student interest in lessons.

Cash-strapped schools can’t stop giving students the resources they need to learn and develop 21st century skills simply because budgets are tight. Luckily, educators can turn to free online resources to help them find and organize lesson plans, give students extra help in various subjects, and more.

During a webinar on, an educational social networking site for teachers and administrators, presenter Shannon Holden, a former teacher and assistant principal, and adjunct instructor at Lindenwood University and Missouri State University, shared a number of free online resources to help educators take advantage of what the internet has to offer.

Many educators “don’t know where to start” when it comes to finding, learning about, and really using free online resources, Holden said. “Most people just do not have the time to learn all of these technology tools,” he added.

Holden suggested that those educators pick one or two websites of interest and start exploring them. Users can turn to YouTube for website tutorials if they need help.

“Don’t wait for the next big thing in technology before you jump in–there’s always going to be a next big thing,” he said. “It’s just amazing that all this stuff is free, and we don’t use it because we don’t have time to find it.”

Here is a round-up of Holden’s web recommendations:
This site supplies educators with information about teaching reading comprehension to students of all ages. It includes details on Lexile scores, teaching strategies, and more.
This flash card and study game website offers more than 10 million free sets of flash cards on a range of topics. Users can find flash cards or can create and share their own original flash cards.