It’s a difficult time for education globally amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Schools are closing and transitioning to an e-learning model to keep educational prospects afloat. Teachers are learning how to use online platforms, are adapting their teaching methods, and trying to maintain student engagement, in only a few weeks.

We wanted to offer a reference in support of schools and other organizations that are planning to take their school online.  One area to prioritize during this transition is going to be communication. Now, we know that not all schools and districts have access to expensive resources. So we have compiled 8 free resources that you can utilize in this transition and a few tips on how to use them.

Instruction and Assessment

Student learning should not stop because of school closures. We have access to more information than ever before, being able to utilize different resources to aid instruction online, can help within the student journey. Here are a few examples of free resources to utilize.

Newsela

Newsela is an instructional tool focused on building student reading comprehension by providing high-quality news articles which feature questions and writing prompts that align with common core standards. Along with a library of articles, Newsela provides real-time assessments of student comprehension through multiple-choice quizzes and writing prompts.

Tip: Assign articles to students, assess them on proficiency.

Freckle by Renaissance

Freckle’s mission is to reach every student at their level. With Freckle, your students automatically work on the Math, ELA, Science and Social Studies lessons that are perfect for them. That way, they are always engaged and challenged, never facing material that is too difficult or easy for them.

Tip: While they have K-12 content, you’ll have to sort through it to find the most impactful content for your instruction.

Communication and Planning

Communication is an important factor within this transition to e-learning. Students and teachers need to be able to communicate effectively and lead daily lessons. Being able to communicate through various tools to parents, students, and other teachers is going to help progress the intended studies. Administrators can lead the way forward with a proper communication plan using these technologies.

Zoom

Zoom Video Communications helps you build today’s collaboration classrooms online. Enrich teaching & learning. Expand traditional classrooms with video-first unified communications to meet the growing needs of modern learners.

Tip: You can meet with teachers and admin online and work together for free, they have made it free for all educators to use for the next 3 months. 

Chalk

A planning and analytics platform that helps educators plan daily lessons, share plans with students and engage with students online. Administrators have the ability to give continuous feedback to guide teachers in real-time and view teachers’ progress in teaching their lessons. Connect classroom instruction, curriculum, and manage your school’s transition.

Tip: Share lesson plans publicly and assess where you are in regards to your pacing guide with Planboard.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free collaboration tool for teachers and students. Teachers can create an online classroom, invite students to the class then create and distribute assignments. Within the Google Classroom, students and teachers can have conversations about the assignments and teachers can track the student’s progress.

Tip: Schools must register for a free Google Apps for Education account to use Classroom.

Student Engagement

Students will require engagement throughout their online educational journey. Being able to use multiple tools to support engagement will end in higher student outcomes. Student grades might fall due to the school closures, to limit this impact and push continuous learning, using different tools will be crucial. You want to avoid alienation, low achievement, boredom, and dropout rates. As engagement is multifaceted, these tools can allow to focus on behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement, online. It’s all about creating a safe, positive online environment that rewards small actions, which is easier done with these tools.

Kahoot!

A platform to help create fun learning games in minutes, or choose from millions of existing ones to introduce new topics, review and reinforce knowledge, and run formative assessment. Make learning fun, engaging and impactful for all students even at a distance.

Tip: Host games with students on multiple subject matters and engage learning.

flipgrid

A social learning platform that allows educators to ask a question, and receive student responses in a video. Students are then able to respond to one another, creating a “web” of discussion.

Tip: Use videos as tests to understand students’ proficiency and understanding of shared lesson plans and other resources.

SEESAW

A student engagement platform that allows kids to complete assignments using various tools such as drawing, photography, video recording, and writing. The design lets teachers and parents track kids’ thought processes and review their finished work, which saves personalized digital portfolios.

Tip: Use to showcase students’ creativity on subject matters and get insight into how students interpret the material.

These are the 8 resources and tools you can implement easily during this transition to e-learning. These tools will support your goals for communication and coordination that is required to ensure success for your school. We are very grateful for the role we play at your school and remain as committed as ever to ensuring your success.