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TOP PICKS | 56 TOOLS

The Best Free Apps and Websites for Learning

If you're looking for easily accessible resources for your classroom, then you're in the right place. Whether you just got new tablets, Chromebooks, or computers -- or you're just looking to fill some curricular gaps -- it can be pricey to connect students with quality content. That's why we've hand-curated these awesome free apps and websites that get high marks from our editors for engagement and pedagogy. You'll find picks for each of the core subjects and all grade levels, so whether you're teaching elementary school, middle school, or high school, or focusing on arts, math, ELA, science, or social studies, you're sure to find something. If you've got a little more time on your hands, try digging into our full database.

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Math

Gracie & Friends Birthday Cafe

Numbers-and-quantity game has precise focus and superb scaffolding

Bottom line: Super approach to teaching a very specific topic: Help kids develop an easy familiarity with quantities under five.

PBS KIDS Measure Up!

Fun mixes with learning in adventure-themed measurement activities

Bottom line: Games and videos give kids great exposure to and practice with a variety of measurement topics.

Cyberchase Shape Quest!

AR adds unique twist to geometry, spatial reasoning games

Bottom line: Once kids get a hang of things, this app's puzzles will get them thinking creatively about shapes and spatial reasoning.

Matific

Engaging supplemental resource encourages conceptual understanding

Bottom line: A fun and engaging conceptual supplement for math lessons with easy-to-find standards-aligned activities.

Inside Mathematics

Dynamic videos and printables support CCSS math practices

Bottom line: An excellent, free resource for educators who need support and inspiration for teaching and addressing CCSS and mathematical practices.

NRICH

Untangle robust math problems for all ages; plenty of teaching support

Bottom line: It's an excellent classroom companion that can be implemented quickly with little adjustment and a high probability of success.

Prodigy

Adaptive math practice wrapped in role-playing adventure

Bottom line: Sometimes kids just need some math practice to get things to stick, and Prodigy delivers in a fun format with great teacher support.

Fraction Mash

Face mash-ups plus fractions equal goofy, meaningful play

Bottom line: Math-flavored goofy fun is great for casual exposure to fractions, but will need thoughtful integration if used as a dedicated learning tool.

Math Snacks

Satisfying mathematical treats kids will gladly gobble up

Bottom line: Teachers and students will excel with engaging, often funny material; it's a pleasure to explore these extensive resources.

Math Science Music

Thoughtful tools teach STEM skills through music and creativity

Bottom line: Limited but quality content gives STEM teachers a new toolset for fostering engagement and understanding.

Choreo Graph

Animate with fun geometry STEAM app; learning requires teacher support

Bottom line: Teachers and classroom communities are needed for app activities to meet their learning potential; start with the coordinating lessons.

Desmos

Elegant graphing calculator and math simulations promote collaboration

Bottom line: Innovative calculator and simulations are a standout graphing option for inquiry-driven math.

GeoGebra

Create, share, and modify math models and simulations

Bottom line: Free, open-source software that lets teachers build or adapt learning experiences to meet their kids' needs.

CanFigureIt Geometry

Flex your deductive reasoning muscles with geometric proofs

Bottom line: A really good way for math students to learn about proofs and explore them from a number of angles.

ELA

Khan Academy Kids

Creative, smart mix of pre-K to K activities is a breath of fresh air

Bottom line: It's tough to stand out in the crowded early learning space, but this collection does just that, offering a one-stop shop for creative learning of foundational skills.

ReadWriteThink

Excellent free resource for all things reading and writing

Bottom line: A language arts teacher's dream; lesson plans, professional development, and all-around quality support.

Toontastic 3D

Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling

Bottom line: Despite some lack of variety and simple drawing tools, Toontastic 3D remains a terrific, versatile storytelling tool.

826 Digital

Popular after-school program shares its resources with teachers

Bottom line: This is a worth-bookmarking resource thanks to relatable writing lessons and motivating examples of actual student writing.

ReadWorks

Differentiate reading instruction with high-quality texts and lessons

Bottom line: The quality and scope of texts, lesson plans, assessments, and supports on this platform can help facilitate targeted reading instruction in any classroom.

CommonLit

Feature-rich literacy resource offers superb support for readers

Bottom line: Access a hefty collection of reliable, ready-to-print, leveled passages that allow you to tailor lessons, assign online reading, and track progress.

Rewordify

Text-leveling tool gives every student access to complex readings

Bottom line: This utilitarian differentiation tool is useful enough to be in every teacher's toolbox.

Critical Media Project

Relevant media clips get students examining identity, culture

Bottom line: Teachers will need to take time to build effective lessons, but if they do, this is a useful, relevant, high-interest resource for deconstructing identity and building critical thinking and empathy skills.

Whooo's Reading

Innovative take on independent reading ditches multiple-choice quizzes

Bottom line: A convenient, well-intentioned tool for supporting a quality, interest-driven independent reading program, but make sure to tweak the auto-generated scores and questions.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Wildly engaging contest turns students into novelists in 30 days

Bottom line: A thoughtful adaptation of the famous and fun grown-up novel writing contest, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is brimming with advice and encouragement as well as classroom support.

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.

Science

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.

Code.org

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.

CK-12

Super STEM, social studies, resource with highly customization content

Bottom line: Making content accessible to kids with different learning styles, CK-12 could be the key to mastery for some students.

PhET Interactive Simulations

Massive cache of excellent (and free!) science and math simulations

Bottom line: Instantly add meaningful lab experiences to math and science classrooms for exactly $0? It's tough to beat that.

OK Go Sandbox

Creative music video-inspired STEAM design challenges

Bottom line: After watching OK Go music videos, kids will be excited to make new creations by integrating art, science, and math.

NASA

Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm

Bottom line: A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.

Prepmagic

Customize science simulations to highlight phenomena

Bottom line: Science simulations become more effective with teacher-added edits and formative assessments.

High-Adventure Science

Highly relevant site teaches how to construct arguments, defend claims

Bottom line: Provides a crucial and timely earth science backdrop to lessons on analysis, data, and modeling that are important for all students to grasp.

Science Journal by Google

Turn your phone into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data

Bottom line: Science Journal does a good job recording real-time motion, sound, and light data using phones.

BioInteractive

High-quality multimedia brings biological research to life

Bottom line: Superb multimedia tools and lesson plans help kids explore biology through real-world examples.

Social Studies

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth is an engaging and completely open-ended app perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic, cross-cultural collaboration.

Ken Burns in the Classroom

Critically acclaimed documentaries repackaged meaningfully for classrooms

Bottom line: Top-notch documentary clips offer opportunities to expand students' perspectives, but some lesson materials might be underwhelming.

Annenberg Classroom

Civics website makes teaching the Constitution manageable, meaningful

Bottom line: Go for the videos, stay for the lessons: Annenberg Classroom saves teachers' prep time when teaching the Constitution, current events, or other civics lessons.

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.

DocsTeach

Historical texts, interactive activities can promote critical thinking

Bottom line: This text-rich app encourages students to conduct their own analysis of history, but the formats and graphics may prevent them from making a thorough analysis.

Ancient History Encyclopedia

Crowd-sourced ancient history site features extensive, varied resources

Bottom line: It's free, web-based, and regularly updated with vetted info, so classrooms can turn to this site often to kick off research projects.

Stanford History Education Group

High-quality, document-based lessons spark stellar historical inquiry

Bottom line: A gold mine of cross-curricular literacy lessons that encourage sound, research-backed strategies for reading, analysis, and critical thinking.

Big History Project

Fascinating look at life's bigger questions with a fresh perspective

Bottom line: A wonderfully innovative and divergent way to teach foundational concepts in history, humanities, critical thinking, and science.

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.

NPR News

Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves

Bottom line: Provides an easy, fun, and effective way to engage students with radio.

Arts

Picture Dots

Kids connect the dots with multisensory, interactive media creator

Bottom line: Kids will love playing with this one, but it needs more developed features and additional support to be effective for classroom use.

Artsonia Kids Art Museum

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work

Bottom line: A well-loved digital art museum that allows students to share work and reflect on their artistic process while helping teachers assess student understanding of artistic concepts.

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.

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.

Shadow Puppet Edu

Resource-rich video slideshow maker a gem for a variety of classrooms

Bottom line: Easy-to-use free tool is a must-have for elementary classrooms; just keep an eye on sharing and privacy.

Paper by WeTransfer

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.

Canva

Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.

Google Arts & Culture

Excellent curation and an unmatched art collection invite exploration

Bottom line: A one-stop shop for a vast amount of compellingly curated and contextualized art, but it's lacking educator supports.

Adobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites

Bottom line: This free, one-stop shop for creating sleek graphics, web stories, and animated videos is incredibly easy to use and challenges students to think critically about visual presentation.

Snapseed

Extremely powerful photo editor will equally delight pros, amateurs

Bottom line: It successfully walks the fine line of photo-editing features, offering satisfying experiences for those making quick edits and those crafting perfect images.

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