Top Pick

EdTech That Inspires Interest-Driven Learning

When students are passionate about something, it's essential to create an environment of support that helps them dig deeper. One of the best ways to get students invested in learning is to connect what they're doing in the classroom to what interests them beyond the classroom. These picks help students get inspired, research their interests, connect with mentors and collaborate on projects, and create portfolios. There are also some tools for tailoring assessments to each student’s topic.

Interested in seeing tips on how you might use some of these tools to build curiosity in the classroom? Check out our blog series We All Teach SEL: Inspiring Activities for Every Classroom

Exploration and Inspiration

Podcasts Publisher: Apple
Search, access, and organize podcasts from iTunes' free library
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 5
Thrively Visit Website: http://www.thrively.com/
Cool assessment targets kids’ strengths; sprawling content overwhelms
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 5
News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading Publisher: Press4Kids
Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Wizard School Publisher: Duck Duck Moose
Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 5
Newsela Visit Website: https://newsela.com/
Absorbing daily news stories offer kids just-right learning content
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Expeditions Publisher: Google Inc
Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
KidsThinkDesign Visit Website: http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/index.html
Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Couragion Visit Website: http://www.couragion.com/
Individualized STEM career exploration targets students' values
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Research and Citation

Citelighter Visit Website: http://www.citelighter.com
Substantial all-in-one tool scaffolds the research and writing process
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Simple English Wikipedia Visit Website: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Adapted resource can help some ELLs, with potential for other students
Grades 5-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
findingDulcinea Visit Website: http://www.findingdulcinea.com
Quality search tool with curated resources and links to credible sites
Grades 6-10
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
SweetSearch Visit Website: http://www.sweetsearch.com
Search engine with filtered results leaves room for critical thinking
Grades 6-10
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Evernote Visit Website: http://evernote.com/
Handy storage locker for anything and everything you might create
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Imagine Easy Academy Visit Website: http://www.imagineeasy.com/academy/
Versatile site helps integrate literacy skills into the curriculum
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
NoodleTools Visit Website: http://www.noodletools.com/
No noodlin’, just serious research with this comprehensive resource
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 3
EasyBib Visit Website: http://www.easybib.com/
Helpful citation and writing resource for instant bibliographies
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4

Collaboration

Dreamdo Schools Visit Website: https://edu.dream.do/
Sleek project-based learning platform encourages global connections
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Edublogs Visit Website: https://edublogs.org/
Customizable classroom blogs get students writing and collaborating
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Actively Learn Visit Website: http://www.activelylearn.com/
Empowering social ereader keeps kids actively, independently engaged
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Google Hangouts Visit Website: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/
Communication, learning, and fun converge nicely in Google's slick platform
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Wikispaces Visit Website: http://www.wikispaces.com/
Powerful tool for creating collaborative websites
Grades 7-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Google Drive Visit Website: https://drive.google.com/
Nifty tool for collaboratively editing docs and syncing files across devices or online
Grades 9-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
WordPress Publisher: Automattic
Inviting, customizable mobile blog platform with easy-to-use interface
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4

Portfolios and Assessment

Goalbook Toolkit Visit Website: https://goalbookapp.com/toolkit-info/
Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Seesaw: The Learning Journal Publisher: Seesaw, Inc.
Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Chrome
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
WeLearnedIt Publisher: eduClipper, Inc.
Digital portfolio and management tool for project-based classrooms
Grades K-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
PlayPosit Visit Website: http://www.playposit.com/
Simple design makes it easy to jump into interactive video
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
eBackpack Visit Website: https://www.ebackpack.com/
Easy system to submit, review, and store digital assignments
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Project Foundry Visit Website: http://projectfoundry.org/
Helpful, yet complex, management tool for project-based learning
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 5