TOP PICKS | 19 TOOLS

Great Online Communities for Kids and Teens

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.

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.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Free, Free to try

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Bottom Line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 1–12
Price:
Free

Zooniverse

Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

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

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 3–8
Price:
Free to try

Tinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful online CAD tool turns kids into makers

Bottom Line: Full-featured site and app make iterative 3D design accessible, social, and relevant.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 4–7
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

KQED Learn

Civic discussion site encourages media literacy and deep thinking

Bottom Line: This platform features excellent videos students will enjoy discussing, but teachers will need to prep students to make quality contributions.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Fandom Forward

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

Bottom Line: A smart, fun, and accessible way for people of all ages to better engage with critical social issues and take meaningful action as a result.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

Youth Voices

Aging online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom Line: With some patience and understanding, this could be a good space for supporting healthy student expression.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Parlay

Comprehensive discussion platform develops critical-thinking skills

Bottom Line: A great tool in any subject or topic for teachers looking to make discussion a central part of their classroom.

Grades: 5–12
Price:
Free, Paid

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