As schools across the country make the hurried transition from in-person learning to online classes, edtech companies are stepping up to help by offering free curriculum, PD, and other tools.
Related content: 3 ways tech increased our resiliency to the coronavirus
Here are eight no-cost resources to keep the learning going.
Bloomz is opening their premium version for free through the semester to all schools. The Bloomz communication platform enables schools to communicate updates in real-time to parents and students; share lessons, student work and feedback; and keep the school-to-home connection strong so students learning at home don’t fall through the cracks.
To provide support during the COVID-19 crisis, Boclips is making its safe, curated video platform freely available to teachers until June 30. The platform includes inspiring videos covering the K-12 curriculum, accompanied by video-focused, standards-aligned lesson guides. Regular webinars, video tutorials, and video strategy guides support educators in effectively implementing video in the classroom. Teachers can sign up here.
For educators facing school closures due to COVID-19, the sudden shift to distance learning can be difficult, so Boclips is also offering a free resource kit called “Remote Learning with Video” to provide tools, ideas, and inspiration for incorporating video into virtual learning.
The eSchool News Online and Blended Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help K-12 administrators and educators adjust to the sudden shift to online learning in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It also features best practices, resources, and tips for top-notch online and blended learning practices. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!
In response to school closures across the country, hand2mind is launching a new website, teach@home: Daily Lessons & Activities for K–5 Students, which will offer a series of free daily lessons and activities created and delivered by teachers.
Each week, teach@home will provide:
• An easy-to-follow schedule, by grade, for kindergarten through 5th-grade students;
• Daily, grade-specific, teacher-delivered video lessons for Math and Literacy;
• Worksheets for the Math and Literacy lessons; and
• Daily Specials activities including Art, STEM, Social Emotional Learning, and more.
Each daily video is around 10 minutes long and paired with worksheets and activities to further student comprehension and engagement.
New lessons will be posted weekly for as long as they are needed. Hand2mind experts will be leading lessons along with several guests including educator influencers Brooke Brown of Teach Outside the Box, Chelsey Odgers of Hipster Art Teacher, and Ashlyn Ellsworth of The Creative Classroom. The variety of creative minds will bring quality education to students during this difficult time. To access teach@home, visit hand2mindathome.com.
For educators (or parents with kids at home) who want to teach building, engineering and design, and coding without an actual robot, KinderLab Robotics is offering its “No KIBO? No Problem!” booklet for free. It contains a collection of engaging STEAM activities that 3- to 7-year olds can dive into right away. All activities are drawn from KinderLab’s more than 160 hours of standards-aligned curriculum. Each activity offer clear guidance on learning objectives and the resources needed to complete the project. The PDF booklet is available for download here.
MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is offering no-cost access to ST Math for parents, schools, and districts. ST Math is a web-based visual instructional program that leads to deep conceptual understanding of math. The offer is available for grades K through 8 through June 30, 2020.
8 free resources to help everyone navigate online learning
Teachers and parents can keep children’s reading instruction moving forward with Reading Horizons’ library of virtual webinars and lessons. Past webinars such as Best Practices for Virtual Reading Instruction will be available on-demand on YouTube, as well as upcoming webinars revolving around student progress monitoring in a virtual setting and how to best support children during school closures.
Working to support students during unexpected school closures, Renaissance is offering several free programs including myON, myON News, and Freckle that enable students to access literacy and math activities and to complete assignments remotely. To further assist educators, they’ve curated a list of additional free resources that includes implementation guides, learning activities, family letters, and the 2020 What Kids Are Reading report to make the best use of their Renaissance programs to support student learning outside of school.
Content-integration platform Symbaloo is offering its PRO version to all educators at no cost for the duration of the school closings caused by the coronavirus. Existing users can upgrade to PRO with no additional charge, and educators without existing accounts can sign up for free.
For educators who are new to the platform, Symbaloo has created a series of video tutorials to help them get started. If they don’t have the time to create their own content yet, they can find a wide variety of open-source educational resources in the Symbaloo Marketplace. The platform has a gallery of 400,000 webmixes and 7,500 Learning Paths that are searchable by grade level and subject. Educators can sign up at symbaloo.com/signup/teacher.
UWorld, an online learning tool for high-stakes exams, is offering a free, full-length PSAT practice exam that familiarizes students with the format and content of the real test. Each question answered will provide the student with a detailed explanation of the answer choices to help students actively learn and retain concepts. This way, students can enter the exam room without surprises. The exam is available online at collegeprep.uworld.com/psat/.
Waterford UPSTART is offering resources to parents at waterford.org/resources and on the Instagram page @waterfordupstart. They’re also offering an Early Learning Boost email newsletter for any parent nationwide at waterford.org/boost. This newsletter will provide meaningful activities to parents with young children who are feeling overwhelmed. Early Learning Boost emails will be sent in English and Spanish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and will include a video and an activity. These are simple, age-appropriate resources that parents can do with their children, instead of spending their time searching or planning activities. This isn’t a full curriculum, but Waterford.org supports parents and knows they can succeed. And with that success, they will rediscover their role in their child’s education.