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Great Online Communities for Kids

From age-appropriate social-networking sites to vibrant communities of writers, edtech increasingly provides terrific ways for teens to learn from their peers online. Introduce your students to some of these sites (in responsible, safe ways) and watch them gain valuable commenting, critiquing, and sharing skills. Not only will students be learning how to collaborate and the value of teamwork, they'll also be building and displaying their own creations that tackle community problems and promote social change.

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Makers Empire

Stellar 3D design hub promotes innovation, collaboration, and creation

Bottom line: This is a great design and creation tool that teachers and students can use to be innovative and share ideas with a vibrant community of makers.

Dreamdo Schools

Sleek project-based learning platform encourages global connections

Bottom line: An excellent tool for project-based learning; plan, create, and share learning around the world.

Scratch

Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool

Bottom line: With plenty of time and support, Scratch can help kids of all ages learn essential programming concepts.

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.

Zooniverse

Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

Bottom line: Engage in meaningful, relevant research with citizen scientists from around the world.

DIY

Design, build, and share new things offline and online

Bottom line: DIY motivates kids to tackle a wide range of problems with independent and scientific thinking.

ePals

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.

Edmodo

Manage classes, content, and communication with social LMS platform

Bottom line: This free platform allows for teacher-monitored classroom communication but lacks excitement.

Project Noah

Engaging online community for relevant, hands-on science fieldwork

Bottom line: Project Noah is a free and easy way to take part in biodiversity research with the support of a knowledgeable and global community.

Roadtrip Nation

Outstanding site motivates kids to follow dreams, work hard

Bottom line: Incredibly inspirational, fun, and helpful guide for kids trying to figure out a sustainable, happy future.

Tinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful online CAD tool turns kids into makers

Bottom line: A big step forward in making iterative 3D design more accessible and social.

Sit With Us

Teen-created social tool boosts lunchtime inclusion and community

Bottom line: This app has the potential to help students make connections with other students they may not otherwise engage with.

The Harry Potter Alliance

Fan site promotes real-world heroics with activism for social justice

Bottom line: A fun, empowering community for Potter fans who want to talk Hogwarts and make the world a better place while they're at it.

Youth Voices

Vibrant online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom line: Supported student writing, collaboration, and communication make this a healthy space for kids to express themselves.

Genius

Collaborative tool lets users annotate songs, literature, web content

Bottom line: Students can collaboratively engage in the process of annotation and analysis with various texts -- both within the forum and on the web.

Goodreads

Lively community for bookworms to share their love of lit

Bottom line: Using Goodreads can enhance teens' reading experience and help them become thoughtful, enthusiastic readers.

Make: Online

Fuel creative makers with project ideas, reviews, and community

Bottom line: Excellent DIY resource that empowers kids to learn by making and experimenting.

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.

GroupTweet

Simple and safe way to use Twitter with your students

Bottom line: A great way to use social media in school without compromising student safety.

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