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TOP PICKS | 35 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

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.

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.

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.

WhiteBox Learning

Design, analyze, then build STEM applications

Bottom line: Complete learning modules include simple CAD design simulation tools, a digital competition, and options for hands-on building.

Anchor

Podcasting app is super easy to use, if you can do it all in one take

Bottom line: There are few easier ways to publish a podcast, but that ease of use comes at the cost of one-take creation and few tools for post-production.

Google Applied Digital Skills

Practical PBL lessons teach critical computer skills

Bottom line: Thorough digital literacy curriculum offers mix-and-match options to fit any classroom.

Lightwell

No coding required -- visual app design for the rest of us

Bottom line: Create authentic learning experiences for your students with app design in the classroom.

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.

UL Xplorlabs

Safety engineering site blends in-class experiments with online sims

Bottom line: Middle school students get to design and test solutions to actual safety problems.

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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