Educators can use these free tools to support Common Core efforts

common-coreEducators throughout our state, nation, and world are always trying to save time and get better resources in order to provide the best available for their students. There are so many resources available, what’s an over-scheduled educator to do?

Thankfully, more and more excellent curation websites and tools are becoming known to—or created specifically for—teachers and administrators. Within California, we’re fully immersed in Common Core implementation and with the new influx of devices to our schools, it’s more important than ever to focus first on the learning goals of Common Core and discover what technology is best suited for the learning goals proscribed.

With that in mind, there is an overview of some of the movers and shakers of collaboration and curation—making sure teachers can access what they need, when they need it, for free and from the most reliable sources (hint: those reliable sources? Yeah—it’s you!).

(Next page: 4 Common Core tools educators should check out)

1. Edmodo

Description: One of Edmodo’s principles centers on the belief that “creating connections is just the beginning,” and if 38 million teachers have anything to say about it, Edmodo is doing just that—creating connections. Teachers can create classes, assign work, and assess progress using their new SnapShot feature. In addition, many teachers also choose to connect with other teachers through common interests, conference sessions built in Edmodo, or simply through sharing resources. Edmodo is a comfortable community space for teachers and students that
feels like social media learning, with more learning and less media.

Where to find it: Web, iTunes Store, Google Play Store, Chrome Web Store

2. eduClipper

Description: Think of this as Pinterest for Educators, except better and more focused on teachers’ and students’ specific needs. Teachers and students can collect their resources, interact with materials socially, and can create portfolios easily. From their website: “eduClipper is born out of the educational need for teachers and students to have a better platform to explore, share, and contribute resources and materials to help enhance teaching and learning of both a formal and personal nature.”

Where to find it: Web, iTunes Store, Google Apps Marketplace

3. Appitic

Description: Appitic is a directory of apps for education curated by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs), and categorized across hundreds of areas. Want to find an app for students who are Pre-K and have autism? This is your place. Want to find apps that are great for physical education? This is your place. How about apps that support project-based learning or a particular level of Bloom’s Taxonomy? Yep…that’s here, too. While there’s no user interaction with this site, it’s a regular recommendation because of its clear pedagogical focus, and the apps listed are coming from folks who actually use this in their own schools and classes.

Where to find it: Web

4. Gooru Learning

Description: Gooru is our only nonprofit on this list, and as educators, we fall squarely in line with Gooru’s mission, to “Honor the Human Right to Education.” Gooru allows for searching of standards-aligned content, easily remixing of that content for your use, sharing and assigning the content and resources and then monitoring student progress in an easy, drag-and-drop format. With Gooru, you create (or remix other teachers’) “collections” of resources, forcing you to think clearly about lesson design and formative assessments. Gooru can be as simple as a resource collection space for yourself, or as detailed as you’d like—depending on how deeply you’d like to get into lesson design, assessments and data analytics for personalized learning. Districts are beginning to use Gooru to create district-wide collections to share for both classroom units of study, as well as professional development purposes.

Where to find it: Web, iTunes Store (Gooru Classes)

This article first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of OnCUE, the quarterly publication of CUE.

Elizabeth Calhoon is a curriculum creator, author, and the Manager of Educational Technology Services with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, in San Jose, Calif.