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Common Sense


Best Global and Cross-Cultural Education Apps and Websites

Use these global perspective and cross-cultural education tools to raise the stakes of learning, creating authentic learning opportunities that build empathy and broaden students' perspectives. Through the study of other places and cultures, students can even better understand their own culture (and biases and privileges). They can explore the similarities and differences among people, and the shared global challenges -- like climate change and inequality -- that require global, cross-cultural collaboration and deep empathy. These picks will help students build these skills. Students will also grasp how big -- and small -- the world really is, and that it's full of discoveries to make and problems to solve. 

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Top Picks


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National Geographic Kids

Kid-friendly science and social studies info via videos, games, and more

Bottom line: Large collection of approachable, fun multimedia resources about animals, habitats, countries, and cultures.

Common Sense Selection

National Geographic Education

Top geography resource site provides global exploration opportunities

Bottom line: This is a must-bookmark site for classrooms across the curriculum hunting for inspiring place-based resources.

Roots & Shoots

Lessons, activities, and projects promote social and environmental change

Bottom line: Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots will inspire you to lead change in your community.

Homes by Tinybop

Explore homes -- and cultures -- around the world in exquisite detail

Bottom line: Offers a delightful and accessible way for kids to learn about the world's cultures.

Google Earth

Dazzling globe-trotting tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: This tool defines engagement and offers a completely open-ended experience perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

The Wonderment

Ambitious global community aims for public good through student engagement

Bottom line: A powerful, improving social network for exploring the world and effecting positive change.

Touchable Earth

Videos of kids from around the world encourage global citizenship

Bottom line: Brief, high-interest videos present a wonderfully authentic way for kids to find connections with other kids from across the globe.

Better World Ed

Wordless videos link core subjects, SEL; connect students to the world

Bottom line: If your school or home can afford it, Better World Ed is a well-done interdisciplinary curriculum that will expand students' global view.

Common Sense Selection


Great stories, just-right leveled reading; now mostly by subscription

Bottom line: Up-to-date, high-interest articles will meet students right at their level, and help teachers bolster students' nonfiction reading skills.


Kids travel the world, cultivate global curiosity and responsibility

Bottom line: Kids get a sense of culture and global responsibility via kid-friendly articles and great multimedia.

Common Sense Selection


Impressive cross-curricular platform establishes global connections

Bottom line: Versatile video-based curriculum inspires reflection and action.

Google Earth VR

Explore the world with an incredible new perspective and sense of scale

Bottom line: An amazing experience that brings the world to life, despite the heavy investment in VR required.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: This is a thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic and safe cross-cultural collaboration.

SDGs in Action

Empowering sustainable development app organizes, educates

Bottom line: It's a well-packaged way for teachers to educate students about the current challenges facing the world and to give them a conduit for social justice.


Kids learn together in well-rounded, collaborative global classroom

Bottom line: A safe communication system and excellent learning materials help create a global youth community.

Fantasy Geopolitics

Impressive fantasy "sports" game engages students on current events

Bottom line: This game could be the hook that gets students engaged with international news.

Google Maps

Hugely popular mapping tool has tons of learning potential

Bottom line: This familiar tool can go beyond here to there and take kids to new educational destinations.

Common Sense Selection

My Hero

Global community of storytellers share inspiring examples of humanity

Bottom line: Free resource that teaches kids about all kinds of heroism, gives them skills to tell stories, and offers a platform to share them.

When Rivers Were Trails

Point-and-click story shares Native perspectives on forced migration

Bottom line: Offers a valuable alternative perspective to the colonial history found in U.S. classrooms, through a familiar, Oregon Trail-style format.

Facing History and Ourselves

A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism

Bottom line: These valuable materials empower students to understand and address difficult ethical choices -- past and present.

Proven Sustainable

Globally-minded materials spotlight the wisdom of resilient cultures

Bottom line: This is a valuable resource, with perspectives often kept out of curricula, but it'll require a motivated teacher to turn into actual lesson plans.


Interactive animated charts explore global development trends

Bottom line: Gapminder brings meaning to what otherwise might be considered “boring” numbers; students learn about social, economic, and environmental development.

Stop Disasters!

Slick sim explores global natural disasters

Bottom line: Few other browser-based sims better illustrate the potential of gaming for learning about serious issues in our world.


Engage with passionate international perspectives from youth

Bottom line: Offers a rich variety of news and opinion stories on global issues, and its young writers will get U.S. students hooked on civic engagement.

Write the World

Global community helps young writers write, revise, think, and grow

Bottom line: With interest-based writing prompts and thoughtful feedback from peers and pros, this is a great tool for writing for authentic audiences.

Bury Me, My Love

Moving portrayal of the dangers and uncertainty of a Syrian refugee

Bottom line: It effectively connects students with the harrowing journey of a Syrian refugee, even though some of the interactive elements are underwhelming.

Global Oneness Project

Captivating, cross-curricular stories increase cultural awareness

Bottom line: Teachers looking to enrich their curriculum with high-quality, thought-provoking videos and photos will find plenty of inspiration, but may need to create or fine-tune some lessons.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Complex global-influence game in which players’ choices rule the world

Bottom line: Complex multi-issue game succeeds in teaching world politics and global development while building perspective and decision-making skills.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Deep, complex database is challenging but a peerless research tool

Bottom line: This is a highly academic site for better and for worse; it's filled with deep, research-backed resources and primary sources but is intimidating without clear guidance.

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