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18 Distance Learning Tools with Sound Privacy Practices

Build out your teaching toolkit during the school closures with these best-in-class resources.

Erin Wilkey Oh | April 13, 2020

With so many great edtech tools available, deciding which to use with your students can be a big task. One important question school administrators and educators ask when choosing new classroom technology is: How does this tool protect student privacy? But answering this question is the tricky part. Privacy policies are notoriously difficult to read, often filled with legal jargon that seems to require a law degree to understand.

This is why Common Sense Education, with the help of our Privacy Program and its more than 250 district partners, provides privacy ratings on the learning review pages of hundreds of popular edtech products. Teachers can quickly see whether the tool earned a "Pass," "Warning," or "Fail" rating and can read at-a-glance information about how the tool addresses data safety, data rights, ads, and tracking. Each summary also links to a full, in-depth evaluation equally as robust as our learning reviews, which can be a valuable resource for school and district leaders who vet products.

As you build out your distance learning toolkit during the coronavirus-related school closures, consider the following 18 tools as best-in-class options. All the tools on this list have earned top marks in their learning evaluations as well as a "Pass" rating from our privacy team. Be sure to browse all of our privacy ratings to see how your other classroom tools measure up.

Adobe Spark EDU

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: 6–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Book Creator

Magically easy way to create and publish digital books and multimedia
Price: $4.99
Platforms: iPad, Web
Grades: 3–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.

Clever animated videos, activities, and games for elementary and middle school
Price: Free through the end of the 2019-2020 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–3 (BrainPop Jr.) and 4–8 (BrainPop)
See full privacy evaluations for BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.

 

ClassDojo

Handy management and portfolio tool can promote student growth
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–6
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Code.org

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

DreamBox Learning Math

Individualized game-based math adapts to kids' needs
Price: Paid subscription for schools; free 90-day trial for families due to the coronavirus pandemic
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–8
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Edulastic

Powerful formative assessment tool tracks achievement of standards
Price: Free; paid upgrade available for additional features
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Flipgrid

Pose questions, spark thoughtful video responses with stellar tool
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: 3–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Formative

Superb real-time assessment tool a fit for 1-to-1, BYOD classrooms
Price: Free with paid upgrade available; team accounts available for free due to the coronavirus pandemic
Platforms: Web
Grades: 3–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus and freedom to explore
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

LearnZillion

Quality Common Core-aligned lessons with great modeling for teachers
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

PBS Kids

One-stop shop for a wealth of fantastic PBS Kids educational content
Price: Free
Platforms: Web
Grades: Pre-K–6
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Pear Deck

Interactive slideshows offer a variety of ways to engage and assess
Price: Free; Premium version available for free due to the coronavirus pandemic
Platforms: Web
Grades: 4–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Remind

Teachers' text reminders keep students -- and parents -- up to speed
Price: Free for individual teachers; paid school and district plans available
Platforms: Web
Grades: Pre-K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents
Price: Free with paid upgrade available
Platforms: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome
Grades: K–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

ThinkCERCA

Well-structured lessons encourage deep analysis, thoughtful writing
Price: Free for schools and districts due to the coronavirus pandemic
Platforms: Web
Grades: 3–12
See full privacy evaluation.

 

Zearn

Innovative combo of live instruction and adaptive online math lessons
Price: Free for individual teachers and families; paid school accounts available with additional features
Platforms: Web
Grades: K–5
See full privacy evaluation.