Common Sense

TOP PICKS | 37 TOOLS

Great Student-Centered Learning Resources

Great student-centered learning experiences emerge from students' interests and give them agency. Student-centered learning also gets students more involved in planning and assessment: from setting up student learning goals to co-designing how they'll achieve them. The tools, resources, and lessons in this list will help you implement student-centered pedagogy in your classroom. There's a tool that get students invested in learning by connecting class work to their interests beyond the classroom. We've also curated tools to help students research their interests, connect with mentors, collaborate on projects, and create portfolios to collect learning activities. There are also some tools for tailoring assessments to each student's topic.

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Tools for Student Exploration and Inspiration

NOVA

Compelling science videos have high-quality classroom applications

Bottom line: Stellar simulations, teacher guides, and other activities can stand on their own, and they're enhanced with high-quality video content.

NBC Learn

Vast video site offers current, historical content

Bottom line: This is a great source for video-based news, thanks to the huge archive, current events coverage, and teacher-friendly extra links to Newsela articles.

Thrively

Cool assessment targets kids' strengths; sprawling content overwhelms

Bottom line: A great starting point for conversations about students' strengths; skip some of the digital content.

Wizard School!

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.

Common Sense Selection

Newsela

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.

Expeditions

Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom

Bottom line: With stunning scenes and a flexible delivery method, your students will thank you for journeying together through space and time.

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.

TED-Ed

Support kids' sense of wonder with outstanding short video lessons

Bottom line: TED-Ed includes excellent, engaging videos and support for flipped-class lessons with an incredible community of thinkers and doers.

Digital Public Library of America

Organized digital library features piles of useful primary resources

Bottom line: DPLA is at the top of the list of high-grade, online primary source collections if teachers make effective use of what's on offer.

Google Arts & Culture

Well-curated art and history site inspires curious learning

Bottom line: A beautifully presented one-stop shop for compellingly curated and contextualized art, history, and culture resources, but it's lacking educator supports.

Couragion

Individualized STEM career exploration targets students' values

Bottom line: Students identify career values and use them to evaluate STEM options.

Research and Citation

PebbleGo

Easily accessible, kid-friendly database for the littlest researchers

Bottom line: Delightful, safe introduction to the world of research, databases, and reporting, with interesting content and stellar supports.

PebbleGo Next

Safe nonfiction database develops students' research skills

Bottom line: Student-centric research site gives kids a just-right amount of information to build foundational research skills.

Citelighter

Substantial all-in-one tool scaffolds the research and writing process

Bottom line: This smart, intuitive system supports students in every step of the writing process.

Simple English Wikipedia

Adapted resource can help some ELLs, with potential for other students

Bottom line: This empowering research tool for more advanced English learners has the potential for wider, more creative applications.

ZoteroBib

Fewer clicks and less clutter equal a new go-to site for citing sources

Bottom line: An intuitive site that takes the stress out of citing sources, but students will still need instruction to tweak auto-generated citations.

SweetSearch

Search engine with filtered results leaves room for critical thinking

Bottom line: SweetSearch supplies valid, reputable websites that can help kids learn about a variety of topics.

NoodleTools

Expansive research tool uniquely melds learning and productivity

Bottom line: While the complex, old-school design isn't ideal, NoodleTools gives students specific assistance where they need it the most -- with citations, paraphrasing, elaboration, and organization.

Weava

Chrome extension helps organize web-based research

Bottom line: For Chrome users and mostly digital classrooms, this is a fairly intuitive tool that'll help students wrangle their research.

Google Scholar

Academic search engine, an excellent source for credible research info

Bottom line: This smart tool can help teens locate credible material for paper and report writing, general research, and other school projects.

Tools for Student Collaboration

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.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Stellar collaboration tools, controls make Minecraft classroom-ready

Bottom line: An excellent tool to engage students in learning, collaboration, and critical thinking is now more accessible than ever to teachers.

MURAL

Multifaceted interactive whiteboard promotes collaboration

Bottom line: MURAL facilitates lesson presentation and group project collaboration from anywhere by making idea sharing a simple, visual process.

Edublogs

If you want your students writing and sharing, Edublogs is the place to start.

Bottom line: Edublogs is a fantastic platform for any teacher committed to blogging as a tool for extending learning beyond the classroom.

Explain Everything Whiteboard

Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations

Bottom line: Teachers and students can make dynamic presentations that involve different types of media in this innovative, fun app.

Spiral

Provide instant feedback with collaborative, multimedia assessment tool

Bottom line: Engaging, easy-to-use tool that supports both formative and summative assessment while allowing for student collaboration.

StoriumEdu

Collaborative writing game inspires purposeful storytelling

Bottom line: With some planning and customization, this unique card game can motivate thoughtful and sustained creative writing in your classroom.

Project Pals

Unique project-based learning tool focuses on collaboration

Bottom line: Once teachers get their bearings, they'll find this to be a uniquely useful workflow and project management tool that can guide students through collaborative work.

CueThink

Social approach to problem-solving promotes deep math learning

Bottom line: An innovative, community-based platform that helps students plan, strategize, and collaborate.

WordPress

Inviting, customizable mobile blog platform with easy-to-use interface

Bottom line: Wordpress's app makes it easy to create and edit blog posts, manage comments, and view friends' blogs, and could be an indispensable tool for communication and collaboration if well-implemented.

Tools for Student Portfolios and Student-Driven Assessment

Goalbook Toolkit

Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Bottom line: You pay for quality with Goalbook Toolkit, including access to clear, well-crafted learning goals and strategies that allow for far easier differentiation.

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Versatile digital portfolio appeals to teachers, students, and parents

Bottom line: A powerful multimedia learning and communication tool that demonstrates student progress over time.

Sown to Grow

Cultivate a growth mindset with reflective, student-driven learning

Bottom line: If developing a growth mindset is an important part of your teaching practice, this is a solid choice.

Microsoft OneNote

Note-taking giant built for flexible, collaborative work

Bottom line: A powerful (and free) tool for thinking and organization that's making smart strides in the education space.

Pathbrite

Create, organize, assess sleek digital portfolios

Bottom line: A simple PBL tool that promotes digital literacy and lets kids create flexible, accessible digital portfolios.

Project Foundry

Helpful, yet complex, management tool for project-based learning

Bottom line: A powerful, though sometimes complex, tool for providing inquiry-based, student-centered learning.

Bulb

Slick portfolio tool has cool features, limited feedback options

Bottom line: A neat tool for publishing online, possibly better suited to teacher content creation than student publishing.

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