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TOP PICKS | 30 TOOLS

Top Picks for Connecting the Classroom and Real World

It’s a no-brainer that students are more engaged in learning when real-world problems and scenarios support what they’re doing. When students see the connection between what’s inside and what’s outside their classroom, they see that there’s more at stake in learning than a report card. These picks build bridges beyond the classroom by connecting content with careers, showing everyday applications of learning, and getting students doing authentic activities that have real impact.

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Top Picks

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Teaching Tolerance

Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education

Bottom line: It's an invaluable teacher tool to help reduce prejudice and encourage tolerance in schools, as well as within society as a whole.

Zooniverse

Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

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

GooseChase EDU

Digital scavenger hunts provide dynamic, fresh learning experiences

Bottom line: Students and teachers will enjoy the powerful learning of a modern scavenger hunt.

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.

iCivics

Exceptionally well-designed games, lesson plans demystify government

Bottom line: This excellent addition to a civics classroom simplifies complex topics.

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.

Explore Careers

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus, freedom to explore

Bottom line: A solid resource for Common Core math instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other subjects.

Curiosity Machine

Kids build, share, receive pro feedback with awesome engineering site

Bottom line: Though it may not be an instant fit for your classroom, the exceptional quality of the site’s projects and processes makes it worth any problem solving.

Edheads

Realistic, appealing simulations deliver superb science content

Bottom line: Definitely one for your “love it” list, the site helps kids simulate science and engineering career activities while covering related content.

KidsThinkDesign

Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun

Bottom line: A go-to site for teachers looking for well-presented project ideas; kids will need opportunities to share work locally.

Couragion

Individualized STEM career exploration targets students' values

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

The Sports Network 2

Make news and build ELA skills with this cable sports show sim

Bottom line: It's a great blend of important cross-disciplinary critical reading skills and a fun newsroom context that'll show students how learning translates to working life.

C'reer

Free app helps kids refine career search, connect to universities

Bottom line: For students who are unsure where to begin, this app helps jump-start the college and career application process.

Make New Creations

littleBits Invent

Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly

Bottom line: Easy-to-use, versatile electronic invention set that works wirelessly with your hand-held device.

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.

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.

CoSpaces Edu

VR design tool sparks creativity for those with the coding chops

Bottom line: This is a well-designed VR playground for experienced coders.

Metaverse

Ambitious augmented-reality tool engages users, promotes coding skills

Bottom line: This dynamic tool allows users to create and experience augmented-reality activities while learning 21st-century skills.

Stencyl

Code-free game development tool helps kids program and publish

Bottom line: It ups the sophistication of building block coding by connecting student work to major publishing platforms.

Appinventor.org

Great mobile app creation site has solid teacher resources

Bottom line: A fantastic and complete introduction to Android app programming concepts and methods.

Autodesk Design Academy

Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software

Bottom line: The projects found here are a great way to teach and learn digital design; all are truly fantastic (and free!), with everything you need ready to go.

Instructables

Endless collection of DIY projects; good for sharing and inspiration

Bottom line: User-generated projects inspire sharing and learning, though more refined navigation would make it easier to sift through all the great ideas.

HowStuffWorks

Explore the world's nuts and bolts in this fab interactive info hub

Bottom line: Interesting, well-researched articles make this free resource a gem.

Promote STEM Learning

Defined STEM

Stellar collection of STEM resources supports project-based learning

Bottom line: Excellent, well-thought-out resources for developing problem-solving skills in the classroom.

Coach's Eye - Video Analysis

Robust video analysis for sports, science, fine arts performances

Bottom line: Cool video-analysis tool is great for the sports field and beyond, but prepare for an onslaught of hidden costs to access all features.

Sound Uncovered

Interactive science tool teaches with virtual experiments, exploration

Bottom line: Fascinating free science resource on sound would be a great addition to any virtual library.

Color Uncovered

Engaging ebook combines art with science in playful ways

Bottom line: Color Uncovered is a great way to enhance an art curriculum or to bring a more playful and artistic side to science.

Mathalicious

Toughest palates can't resist appetizing look at real-world math

Bottom line: Easy-to-deliver lessons use real-world topics tweens like.

Get the Math

Solve real-life algebra problems with diverse crew, delightful video

Bottom line: Fantastic proof that algebra is used to solve real problems in kid-approved professions -- basketball, music, and fashion.

Solve the Outbreak

Become a disease detective -- read clues, analyze data, save lives

Bottom line: Solve the Outbreak is a free, engaging resource that teaches kids about disease control and prevention.

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