Browse all articles

Distance Learning Short List: Best Free Resources by Grade and Subject

Topics:   EdTech

Hand-picked tools for every scenario, all well-suited for use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tanner Higgin | July 29, 2020

It's tough in a typical school year to serve each student's unique learning needs, but the coronavirus pandemic has transformed the meaning of meeting all students "where they are." For many, this means converting some or all elements of your teaching and curriculum to distance learning. 

We've heard from educators how overwhelming it can be to wade through the dozens of emails and articles with hundreds of "great apps for distance learning" from people and companies that possibly have their interests -- and not yours -- in mind. That's why we've curated this short list of free, quality classroom resources for each grade band and subject area. Each tool has scored well on our research-based ratings rubric. More importantly, each tool is something we think would work well given the unique circumstances of the pandemic. Of course, you'll also want to dig in to their privacy and safety practices, so make sure to check out the privacy evaluations on the review pages (when available).

Elementary school math and science

Khan Academy Kids iconKhan Academy Kids 

Creative, smart mix of pre-K to K activities is a breath of fresh air
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android, Amazon

Prodigy iconProdigy

Adaptive math practice wrapped in role-playing adventure
Price: Free (with optional paid upgrades)
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

Tami's Tower iconTami's Tower

Build a tower, test, and improve to help a hungry monkey
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android, Amazon

 

Elementary school ELA and social studies

Epic! iconEpic!

Free, expansive digital library unlocks treasure trove of books
Price: Free for teachers
Platforms: iOS, Android, Chrome
 

Lalilo iconLalilo

K-2 literacy program offers comprehensive, adaptive activities
Price: Free and paid versions
Platforms: Web
 

Rewordify websiteRewordify

Text-leveling tool gives every student access to complex readings
Price: Free
Platforms: Web

 

Elementary school arts and creativity

Artsonia iconArtsonia

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work
Price: Free
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android

Picture Dots iconPicture Dots

Kids connect the dots with multisensory, interactive media creator
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS

Sounds Rebound iconSound Rebound

Make musical contraptions with playful sound and physics sandbox
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS

 

Middle school math and science

CK-12CK-12

Super STEM, social studies resource with highly customizable content
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Inside Mathematics iconInside Mathematics

Dynamic videos and printables support CCSS math practices
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Science Journal by Google iconScience Journal by Google

Turn your phone into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data
Price: Free 
Platforms: iOS, Android, Chrome

 

Middle school ELA and social studies

826 Digital icon826 Digital

Popular after-school program shares its resources with teachers
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

CommonLit iconCommonLit

Feature-rich literacy resource offers superb support for readers
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

iCivics iconiCivics

Exceptionally well-designed games, lesson plans demystify government
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web (individual games available on iOS and Android)

 

Middle school arts and creativity

Google Arts and Culture IconGoogle Arts & Culture

Excellent curation and an unmatched art collection invite exploration
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Math Science Music iconMath Science Music

Thoughtful tools teach STEM skills through music and creativity
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Tinkercad logoTinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful online CAD tool turns kids into makers
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web, iOS, Chrome

 

High school math and science

Big History ProjectBig History Project

Fascinating look at life's bigger questions with a fresh perspective
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

BioInteractiveBioInteractive

High-quality multimedia brings biological research to life
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

CanFigureIt IconCanFigureIt Geometry

Flex your deductive reasoning muscles with geometric proofs
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

 

High school ELA and social studies

Facing History iconFacing History

A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Global Oneness ProjectGlobal Oneness Project

Captivating, cross-curricular stories increase cultural awareness
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Glose iconGlose

Interactive ebooks and web content make reading a social experience
Price: Free (200 students and five classrooms)
Platforms: Web

 

High school arts and creativity

Adobe Spark IconAdobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites
Price: Free 
Platforms: Web

Garageband iconGarageBand

Amazingly powerful audio workstation unleashes creativity
Price: Free 
Platforms: iOS, Mac

Snapseed iconSnapseed

Extremely powerful photo editor will equally delight pros, amateurs
Price: Free 
Platforms: iOS, Android

 

Check out our Common Sense Selections for Learning to find best-in-class media resources and tools that facilitate great learning experiences for students and educators.