From using video to project-based learning, get recommendations on the best tools for distance learning.
Schools across the United States and the world are closing due to the coronavirus pandemic and the urgent need for social distancing. This leaves teachers and schools scrambling to figure out how to keep kids learning at home during this time.
Whether you're used to teaching with tech or not, transitioning to distance learning is a big undertaking. So many variables will determine your specific needs -- from your students' ages and access to technology, to the goals and expectations your school district has outlined for you.
While you're ultimately going to know which tools are best for you and your students, we're here to provide inspiration and support. We have thousands of reviews that dig into the pros, cons, and "how-tos" of each app, website, and game. To make sifting through these reviews easier, we've put together this collection of our most relevant Top Picks lists.
Getting Ready for Distance Learning
- 5 Ways to Get All Students Connected for Distance Learning: Help students and their families access low-cost and free internet, devices, and educational content.
- 7 Ways to Make Distance Learning More Equitable: Ensure your most vulnerable students and their families are supported during the school closures.
- Best Tools for Virtual and Distance Learning: Kick-start your school closure plan with this focused selection of tools for great virtual learning experiences.
- 18 Distance Learning Tools with Sound Privacy Practices: Build out your teaching toolkit during the school closures with these best-in-class resources.
- Teachers' Essential Guide to Google Classroom: Learn more about this popular platform and how to use it with students.
- Lesson-Planning Apps and Websites: Paperless, painless planning for teachers.
- Best Classroom Tools for Presentations and Slideshows: Slideshow apps and websites that let students' work shine.
- Classroom Management Apps and Websites: Our editors' top tools to help you motivate, manage, and maintain a great classroom in person or virtually.
Communicating with Families
- Best Messaging Apps and Websites for Students, Teachers, and Parents: Keep students and families in the loop with great classroom communication tools.
- Powering Up Your Parent Communication (PDF): Three quick tips for setting up effective parent and caregiver communication using digital tools.
- Free Distance Learning Plans for K–2 Students and Their Families: Help kick-start learning at home with these easy-to-use, customizable packets.
Core Subject Resources
- Top Tools by Grade and Subject for Learning During School Closures: These hand-picked tools -- most of which are free (or cheap) -- offer standout learning experiences for every scenario.
- ELA Tools Aligned to Common Core Standards: Find tools for a range of learning needs, from phonics, grammar, and vocabulary to advanced skills textual analysis and supporting arguments with evidence.
- Math Tools Aligned to Common Core Standards: From counting and basic operations to algebra and trigonometry, these math apps, games, and websites cover essential math skills in unique and engaging ways.
- Great Social Studies Apps and Websites: From world geography to U.S. government, this collection of resources covers key social studies topics for all grades.
- Terrific Websites for Science: From biology to chemistry to physics, these science-oriented websites will help your students learn more about the world around them.
- Teachers' Essential Guide to Zoom: How are teachers using Zoom? Is it safe for students? Learn more about this popular distance learning tool.
- The Best Screencasting Tools for Classrooms: Our top choice balances everything you'd want in a screencasting tool, including simple controls, useful editing features, and an attractive price.
- Best Interactive Video Apps and Websites: Check out these top tools for creating videos, plus a few more for video annotation and remix.
- Best Apps and Websites for the Flipped Classroom: Help students brush up on key content independently, then come together as a class to clarify, explore, and use what they've learned.
- Using Video Effectively in the Classroom: Get students to tune in through active and reactive viewing of video.
Collaboration and Discussion
- Best Student-Collaboration Tools: Great collaboration apps, games, and websites that help students help each other.
- 3 Ways to Improve Your Group Work Lesson Plan: Help your students take more ownership over collaboration.
- 5 Online Discussion Tools to Fuel Student Engagement: Give students a chance to connect with each other and be heard.
Student-Led and Interest-Based Learning
- Great Student-Centered Learning Resources: Tools to harness students' enthusiasm and let them dig into what interests them.
- Tools for Project-Based Learning: Top PBL tools for helping students plan and carry out complex work.
- Best Websites for Independent Reading: Help students read on their own terms about subjects they care about.
- Tools That Build Real-World Writing Skills: Give students a real-world outlet for their writing as well as opportunities to engage with the writing of students from all over the globe.
- Virtual Field Trip Apps and Websites: These great games, apps, and websites can bring places and experiences fostered by field trips to students virtually.
- 10 Great Free Websites for High School: Accessible, intriguing, and free websites for older students.
- 10 Great Free Websites for Middle School: Tools that support critical thinking skills and content knowledge for middle schoolers.
- 10 Great Free Websites for Elementary School: Reliable go-to destinations for kids from pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade.
- The Best Free Apps and Websites for Learning: If you want to see the range of options and find the just-right tool for your needs, check out this mega-list with the best free apps and websites for all subjects and grade levels.