7 Great Free Websites for Learning

August 29, 2013
Audrey Stokes Product Manager, Education
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, United States
CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Technology Integration, Tools

Believe it or not, there are lots of terrific free websites out there that are great for learning. Universities, nonprofits, and even for-profit companies make them available for free for all kinds of reasons. If your school or district is strapped for cash, you can still get kids going with these cost-effective sites. Have you used any of these in your classroom? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Just sign in to add a field note!






Design Squad Nation
The Design Squad Nation website complements the PBS Kids television show "Design Squad," in which teenagers compete to create the most novel solutions to engineering challenges. The competitive aspect of activities, along with video demonstration of the brainstorming and prototyping that go into design, make the website a great learning tool for kids. Read full review.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor founded iCivics to reverse a decline in civic knowledge and help kids better understand and respect the U.S. government. Sixteen games cover core topics like citizenship, rights, the court system, governance, freedom of speech, and constitutional law. You can sort by topic or time needed for gameplay.  Read full review.

Oh Noah!
Oh Noah! is a PBS-based website that offers students a multi-pronged approach to learning Spanish vocab. With its funny, story-based interface, kids are encouraged to take an easygoing, just-try-it approach to learning languages. Students who are learning Spanish, as well as Spanish speakers who are learning English (perfect for a multilingual classroom), could benefit. Read full review.

In Codecademy, older kids and teens write computer code. They set their own pace through lessons on every major modern programming language, including PHP, Javascript, Python, Ruby, HTML, and CSS.  Read full review.

NRICH is a website featuring activities to challenge and engage kids with math problems, games, and projects set in relevant contexts. The site is divided into four student homepages representing the "5 Key Stages," or grade bands within the British education system, and corresponding U.S. K-12 grade level info is available. Read full review.

Coaster Crafter
Coaster Crafter starts  with a fun narrative about the owner of an amusement park and his daughter, who need help designing better roller coasters. They watch demonstrations of the simulator, which shows design flaws in several coasters. Then, in a series of lessons called Design Challenge, they correctly answer questions, which are clearly expressed with words and images, about relevant physics vocabulary.  Read full review.

StoryJumper lets kids create and publish their own illustrated stories. Whether kids are beginning writers or seasoned pros, StoryJumper provides an outlet for them to use their imaginations as well as learn some real writing strategy if they're ready for it.  Read full review.


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