Best Websites for Teaching & Learning 2013

The 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, Web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.

Media Sharing

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and und understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.

  • 3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world context.

Pinterest 
Create connections, encourage collaboration, ignite discussions, or simply share mutual interests through Pinterest. Uploaded or “pin” images and videos from websites, blogs, or your own computer, smartphone, or tablet to create boards. These boards can be private or public, and others can be invited to pin on any of your boards. Any “pin” can be "repinned", and all pins will link back to their source. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Have students work in groups to create research projects and share their sources visually.

smore 
Flyers and newsletters become a snap with Smore! Design and create professional online flyers by choosing from an array of templates, styles, and colors to compliment your individual style and audience. With Smore you can embed links, audio, video, pictures, and text into your flyers and newsletters and then publish instantly to get your message and information out quickly. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Use Smore to create handouts and flyers to announce school and community events.

easel.ly  
Easel.ly allows users to quickly create infographics and share visual ideas online. Easel.ly has an expansive library of elements and visual objects that can be added to personalize infographics of all kinds. Students and teachers can choose from pre-formatted infographics or start fresh and create their own. Easel.ly is intuitive and easy to use, relying on drag-and-drop features and streamlined menus. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Use Easel.ly as part of a research or inquiry project and combine math, research, and digital storytelling skills in the classroom!

Digital Storytelling

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning.

  • 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

inklewriter  
Are you searching for technology that will motivate budding and reluctant writers to author the next great story? Inklewriter provides the format for writing interactive branched stories. While students focus on writing, Inklewriter handles the story paths that end and those yet to be developed. Students who love the "choose your own ending" stories will enjoy writing, editing and reading on this dynamic site. Branched stories with the potential for multiple endings will also intrigue those interested in game development. Finished projects can be shared with a limited or global audience at the author's discretion.

Tip: Use Inklewriter to explore decision making and consequences in secondary Health, Social Studies, Science, and English classes.

myHistro  
My histro provides a venue for stories displayed on maps. Watch and read thousands of fascinating timelines, or create your own complete with text, video, and pictures to create a dynamic timeline mashup. Use professionally developed maps or have students develop their own working collaboratively or individually. Export maps in a variety of formats including .csv, .klm, and pdf for offline viewing or embed them on your website, blog, or wiki for easy access. Grades 4-12.

Tip: Use myhistro to tell stories that include what, when, and why across curriculum areas and grade levels that work like a dream on your interactive presentation surface.

FlipSnack   
Flipsnack is an application used to convert PDF files into a flipping book that is easy to use. Simply upload a PDF file, customize the book, and share. The online flip books are designed to resemble regular print books. You can choose a classic, hardcover, coil, or interactive flip format for your book, as well as a book size. Color options for the cover and background are also offered. Finished flip books can be published privately or publicly and edited at any time. The final flip book is attractive and professional-looking. Books can be shared on Facebook and Twitter or emailed and embedded with a watermark. Grades K-12.  

Tip: Students can combine reports or creative writing with pictures and graphics to create flip books that can be shared with parents.

Manage & Organize

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful.

  • 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.

BiblioNasium  
How many of you use Shelfari? Library Thing? Well, Biblionasium is the social network students in grades 4 – 12 can use to set up virtual bookshelves and keep track of what they’ve read, what they like, and what they plan to read. Students will read more consistently when they connect with friends to share and recommend their favorite books. English, ELL, and Reading teachers will appreciate the inclusion of Lexile ranges. Grades 4-12.

Tip: Use Biblionasium in flipped libraries and classrooms to inspire independent reading.

LitPick 
LitPick provides free electronic books to students in grades 4-12. Students take on the role of a book critic, reading books, developing and posting reviews anonymously on the LitPick site where other students can read them. Members can also participate in the LitPick threaded discussion forum with authors, publishers, publicists, and parents who are interested in learning about YA literature.

Tip: Use LitPick to provide access to free eBooks and promote reading reviews for students by students.

padlet  
Padlet, formerly called Wallwisher, makes posting things on the Internet as easy as pinning notes on a bulletin board. Using the idea of a blank piece of paper, you can put whatever you want on your wall by dragging and dropping documents and images from your desktop, copying and pasting links to websites or videos or just typing notes on your page. When you finish posting things to your wall you will be able to collaborate with others using a unique URL as well as through a variety of social networks. Grades 4-12.

Tip: Use Padlet to brainstorm ideas for group projects or to collect and showcase student work.

edcanvas   (Now known as Blendspace )

Edcanvas is a connected space where students and adults can organize, present and share information. Gather, annotate and share presentations easily by dragging and dropping images, movies, maps, audio and text and embedding hyperlinks onto a blank canvas. Use multiple frames on each canvas to pre-teach a topic, provide 1:1 and differentiated instruction, and share pathfinders and explore connections. Use your own content or searching on the Internet, without leaving the Edcanvas page to create collaborative projects. Older elementary and secondary students can create collaborative projects by copying individual canvases to make a complete dynamic canvas. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Use themed canvases to share how-to videos with students and staff.

WorkFlowy  
Workflowy is an easy to use outliner/organizer that also functions as a to-do list. Logging on, you see a blank page that looks like a word processing document. After you type your first item, everything thing you type becomes part of one giant list. You can have sub-lists and nested-lists and the best part is that you can click on any topic and you will see a new page with all of the related items. Workflowy can easily be used in many educational settings, but can really be helpful in organizing assignments. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Use Workflowy to plan and organize a group project or to collaborate with others on shared tasks.

Social Networking & Communications

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

  • 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.

  • 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

socrative  
Socrative transforms multiple student devices into student response systems for free! Engage upper elementary and secondary students in classroom activities with educational exercises and games in real time via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Socrative is easy to set up and features formats including multiple choice, True/False, and short answer. Results can be viewed online in a Google spreadsheet or received via email as an Excel file. Grades 6-12.

Tip: Use Socrative to administer pre- and post tests to Common Core and AASL standards in your library program.

QuadBlogging  
Quadblogging connects students in four different schools around the corner or around the world to blog with a purpose. Instead of having students write blog posts "that go in their tray to die" teachers sign up on this site and are linked with three other schools to provide an opportunity for elementary and secondary students to blog with each other. Over the last 12 months 100,000 pupils have been involved in QuadBlogging from 3000 40 countries. Grades 3-12.

Tip: Use Quadblogging across curriculum areas to develop student awareness of similarities and differences of people from different cultures.

Marqueed  
Marqueed is an easy-to-use, collaborative, web-based platform for annotating images. Simply drag-and-drop images from the Web or add from your computer. PDF files can also be added. Type or draw annotations. Collections of annotated images can be created and shared publicly or kept privately. Best of all, multiple students can collaboratively annotate an image. Grades 3-12.

Tip: Analyze a historical photograph to deepen students' thinking about a historical event or period. Upload a poem for students to discuss.

Curriculum Collaboration

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within a learning community.

  • 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.

  • 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

19Pencils   
19Pencils is an easy-to-use online platform for locating and sharing PreK – 6 educational resources, assignments and quizzes. The site’s quality search engine enables teachers to explore the 19Pencils library for resources specific to their students’ needs. Teachers can also add their own content and customize quizzes to target specific learning goals. A helpful feature, especially for younger students, is the display of each resource as a thumbnail image instead of just the URL. After creating class pages of resources, teachers can monitor student progress and assignment completion. Grades PreK-6.

Tip: This website is a great tool to use across the curriculum for blended learning and the flipped classroom.

iCivics  
Order in the court. Hail to the chief! Roll call…yea or nay… iCivics is game, activity and resource filled Web site, founded by Justice, Sandra Day O’Conner to help young people of all ages learn about branches of government, citizenship, separation of powers, media influences on government, the budget, and the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Games can be accessed by topic or playing time. In addition to games and webquests, iCivics provides lesson plans with supporting resources for teachers. Grades 3-12.

Tip: Combine curricular learning with service learning by challenging students to participate in the iCivics Impact Project.

Wonderopolis  
Wonderopolis is a whimsical, fun website providing "Wonders of the Day" such as "Do Rabbits Have Good Eyesight?" to "When is Technology Old?" A vocabulary list provides a learning base for each lesson. Related questions will spark students' curiosity and motivate them to learn more about the topic. The "Wonderize It" tool lets teachers customize a lesson based on a daily "Wonder" question. The engaging informational text can be used to address Common Core Standards in reading while incorporating related images and videos. Grades K - 12.

Tip: Let students pick a "Wonder" to explore and then research the topic more in depth.

Youngzine  
Youngzine is a child-centered website that provides articles, images, and videos about world news, science and technology, society and arts, movies, and books. School-age children are encouraged to respond to the content and may submit articles, short stories and book reviews. All content is reviewed by Youngzine’s editors and updated every two weeks. Grades K-8.

Tip: Do you and your students discuss current events? Use Youngzine as a springboard for these weekly or daily discussions. Students can post comments and reflections in the comments section.

Garbology  
Garbology is an exciting and interactive website that answers the question, "Where should my waste go?" It helps elementary-age students better understand how they can reduce trash and stop polluting. In addition to the interactive game, the “For Teachers” section includes nine lesson plans and five fact sheets; the “For Students” section includes a waste assessment and seven useful handouts; and the “For Families” section will inspire families to reduce and recycle. Grades K-8.

Tip: Garbology is the perfect addition to your Earth Day unit.

Content Resources

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

  • 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

  • 2.4.4 Develop directions for future investigations.

  • 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

Seriously Amazing  
How do you spur curiosity? Just ask the six quirky characters of Smithsonian's Seriously Amazing Website. The Wild will share the diversity of the animal kingdom; The Green reflects the wonder of the natural landscape; The New will show how technology and creativity collide; The Masterpiece embodies artistic expression; The Storyteller shares the tales of the people of America; The Discoverer explores the world and universe. Seriously Amazing links the knowledge and resources of the Smithsonian Institution and sparks a spirit of inquiry. Grades 3-12.

Tip: Challenge students to select one of the 6 areas of exploration and learn 5 new facts to share with the class.

Edudemic  
Edudemic is more than just an educational technology website. For students and teachers it's a one-stop-shop for forums, articles, ideas, and resources on everything technology. Edudemic is explorable by topics such as How-To, Tools, or Online Learning. Or browse through the videos collection for amazing examples of teaching and learning. Have a great idea or story to tell? Try submitting a post to Edudemic for a global audience. Grades 6-12.

Tip: The All Topics word-cloud allows users to quickly see what's trending in educational technology. Click through and explore!

Science NetLinks  
Science NetLinks is a dynamic Website connecting K-12 teachers, students, and families to STEM resources produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science including lesson plans, interactives, and reviewed Internet resources. The lesson plan and tool databases are searchable by grade level, themes, and content area. Collections spotlight various themes such as Earth Day, Summer Science fun, and Science Apps. There is an Afterschool collection that offers hands-on science experiments which offers student activity sheets, online resources, as well as teacher resources. Grades K-12.

Tip: Check out the latest research findings about many interesting topics in Science News.

TEDEd  
TEDEd allows educators to create and share lessons built around YouTube videos. The embedded lesson creator allows users to 1) FIND video content through an integrated search panel, 2) SELECT a video or lesson to be customized, and 3) FLIP a video by adding questions, notes, and content. The TEDEd library is continually growing and is searchable and browsable by series and subject. Grades K-12.

Tip: The best lessons are curated by volunteer teachers and TEDEd and compiled under the Best Flips tab. If you're looking for teaching inspiration, look no further!

Codecademy  
What happens when you combine the knowledge and talent of a handful of techies that want to make a change in education? Visit Codeacademy and participate in the teaching and learning experience of the future! Codeacademy has set out to create an online social instructional experience that teaches programming to people around the world. Learn the fundamentals of various programming languages, participate in online coding language labs, and learn how to start a coding academy at your own school. Grades 6-12.

Tip: At the completion of the Codeacademy course, have students build their own websites with the code they have learned.

Digital Public Library of America  
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an online collection of millions of photographs, maps, sounds, manuscripts, books, and more accessible anytime, anywhere, for anyone. DPLA materials come from museums, archives, and libraries across the United States, and provides primary source examples of our American Heritage and human history. With DPLA, users can explore resources by topic, map, format, timeline, or exhibition. With a free account, items can be saved to lists and shared with others. Grades 6-12.

Tip: DPLA's programming interface and open data promote transformative use by designers and developers. Look for amazing tools and programs built by the DPLA’s partners that will turn in to indispensable resources for your students and staff. 

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