• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


Fantastic Resources for the Enthusiastic Educator

Page history last edited by Beth Pollock Burke 12 years, 1 month ago

F.R.E.E. - Fantastic Resources for the Enthusiastic Educator


Be sure to check out the most recent version of this presentation called "Footloose and Fancy Free!"


Attend this session at IETC and/or IL-TCE and learn about a myriad of online resources that are absolutely FREE! We will move through each resource quickly during the presentation, but links to all the sites we will discuss are listed below, so you may go back to learn about each one in more depth. Some of these tools you can use in your classroom immediately, while others are tools you may just “play” with for personal use. Most importantly, they are all fantastic, fun and FREE!  The content will be different at IETC and IL-TCE, so feel free to attend both!


NOTE: I am always bookmarking new sites.  Check out my del.icio.us page.




 Please feel free to add your own resources.  The password to edit this wiki is FREE (all caps).



Uses in Education or Otherwise

Multimedia and Presentation Production

Animoto - Create cool videos with just pictures and a song.  This online web application does most of the work!


Screencast-O-Matic, Free Screencast, Jing & Wink - Not just a screen capture - a VIDEO screen capture!  Helpful when demonstrating how to do something on the computer.  Captures everything you do and creates a video.  Wink, Jing and Free Screencast require you to download and install software, but Free Screencast allows you to store your screencasts on their server, embed them, share them, etcScreencast-O-Matic is an online program that you can use anywhere.


Zoho, Google Presentations and PreZentit - These are great alternatives to PowerPoint and are absolutely free.  Plus, since these applications are web-based, they allow for multiple users to access them, thus providing a perfect opportunity for collaboration.  As PreZentit says, "Create, share and show your presentations online."  NOTE: There are a ton of online presentation sites.  Check out this article Forget PowerPoint: 13 Online Presentation Apps.


Presentations ETC - Free presentation resources for students and teachers.  Lots of PowerPoint and Keynote templates.


VoiceThread - Voice Thread allows you to have an asynchronous group conversation around images, documents and videos.  Take a look at the Voice Thread, "What's a VoiceThread Anyway?" for more info.


Gabcast & GCast - Podcast using your telephone.  An easy way to get the reluctant podcaster started.
Scrapblog - allows you to combine your photos, videos, audio and text for online multi-media scrapbooks.  Check out their mini-tour
.   You can embed files, upload them, whatever.  And, these presentations look great!  There are a lot of similar tools out there, such as Bubbleshare and Empressr, but this is my favorite.


Tuxpaint - This program, which you download and install on your local hard drive, is basically a free version of KidPix.


Bookr -  Bookr is an tool that allows you to create online books using Flickr images.


DaftDoggy - This tool allows you to quickly and easily record your voice online.  It immediately provides a link that you can share or embed.



Screencast Software

  • View various educational screencasts using Screencast-O-Matic.
  • Also, check out some of Atomic Learning's free screencasts.  Atomic Learning is a subscription service, but they do have a few free videos.  Also, ICE members get a free subscription.  Contact the ICE office to receive the monthly login information. 
  • This screencast is one I created for a group of students on a day I knew I would be out of the building.  I had taught them something incorrectly the day before, so I created this screencast to fix my mistake! (Expires 3/5/2008)
  • Here is another screencast I created for students when i knew I'd be out of the building.
  • Here is a screencast about RSS feeds, what they are, and how to subscribe.


Zoho, Google Presentations and PreZentit


Presentations ETC - When your students are getting sick of the same old templates, have them check this out.  The Edcuational Technology Clearninghouse (ETC) not only has presentations tools.  Check out their home page for TONS of great FREE stuff!


VoiceThread Samples


Gabcast & GCast

  • Don't have tools for podcasting?  Use these!

  • Have students give a brief summary of the day for parents to hear in the evening.

  • Post your homework assignments in auditory format.


Scrapblog - Take a look at this excellent example of using Scrapblog in education.  And below are sample projects that some of our French students did using Scrapblog: (Thanks, Beth Cummo for sharing these with us!)



TuxPaint - Look at all the features of TuxPaint!  Just about anything you used to do with KidPix, you can now do for FREE with TuxPaint (and more)!

Bookr - The archives have some cute Bookr books, such as this book on penguins.  I can see this being a decent tool for kids of all ages, even the little ones!  It's fun to turn the pages like a real book.  (Although we know nothing will ever replace the real thing.) 


DaftDoggy - This is another GREAT tool for a simple podcast.  It is similar to Gabcast & GCast, but you can use this without having an account, and as far as I know there is no limit to how much you can record; however, you do need to have tools to be able to record on your computer instead of using a telephone.



Uses in Education or Otherwise

Media Converters

Convert Tube - Download YouTube (or other videos in flx format, such as Yahoo videos) to your hard drive.


Zamzar - Allows you to convert MANY types of files.  You are e-mailed when the conversion is complete and then follow a link to download the converted file.


Media-Convert - Similar to Zamzar, but you don't have to wait to be e-mailed when the conversion is complete.  It is completed while you wait and is then available for download immediately.

Uses for file conversion:

  • Planning on showing a YouTube video in class about something related to your subject area?  What if the internet is down?  Convert and download the video so that you can still show it to your students.

  • What if part of the video is inappropriate, or you just want to share a short portion?  Download the video and edit out what you don't need or want.

  • Converting and downloading videos allow students to use them in project.  Just be careful of copyright issues!

  • We use it a LOT for this...many students have the newest version of Microsoft Office, which adds an "x" to the end of the extension.  Zamzar can convert them to an earlier version, which can be viewed and edited in our district.  (i.e. .docx to .doc).

  • Sometimes you just need some file in another format for whatever reason.  These help with that.



Uses in Education or Otherwise

File Storage and Transfer Tools (managing large files)

File Storage/Transfering - All of these services allow you to share large files (100MB or more) with others, without having to send them via e-mail.  Filedropper is my new favorite; it allows you to share files up to 5GB in size.  Wow!

Sharing large files:

With the increase in multimedia projects, it's hard to share them with friends and family.  These tools allow you to upload a large file (or multiple files - especisally with Drop.io) and then send a PRIVATE link to another individual to pick it up. 


Some of these sites limit your daily use, file size, etc., so keep all of these links handy, as you may have to use more than one of them in a day.



Uses in Education or Otherwise

Search Engines

SortFix - Unique way of searching online.  Allows users to drag keywords to and from the search terms.  Great for your visual learners.


Skreemr - MP3 search engine.  Copyright concerns here.


Songza - Another music search engine.  Files not downloadable, but you may listen to them.


Soundsnap- Sounds effects and loops that you can listen to and download in mp3 or wav files.


ViewFour and Searchme -  Visual search engine.  Results show a large thumbnail of the page. (Searchme is a little "fancier!")


Quotiki - A quotation search engine.

Sortfix - I use this search engine for students who are visual learners.  Also, it gets all kids thinking about possible search terms for narrowing down their search in order to find the informatio they need.


Skreemr - Depending on copyright issues, it's an easy way to find MP3s that may be needed for multimedia projects.


Songza - This site allows you to purchase songs, but it also allows you to listen to the full version of a song you find online.  Studying apartheid?  Search for the Peter Gabriel song "Biko" and play it for students.  Have them write what it means to them.


ViewFour and Searchme - Great for visual learners.  Also good for your ESL/ELL kids.  Plus, it helps to have a thumbnail of a website before clicking on it, especially if you forgot to bookmark something but sort of remember what it looked like!


Quotiki - When I taught language arts and reading years ago, I used to start each day with a "Quote of the Day."  I wish Quotiki was around back then.  Example: we do a lot of character education in our district.  Here's a great quote from Abe Lincoln, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."  Could stimulate some great conversation amongst your students.



Uses in Education or Otherwise

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Voz Me - Convert text to an mp3 file.  Great for students with special needs.


Ustream - Have your own TV channel!  Stream classroom activities live or archive them.


ToxBox and Vawkr - VERY easy ways to do a videoconference.


Gaggle - This started out (over 10 year ago) as a safe, filtered e-mail product for students.  Now, they have added so many more tools, such as storage locker, chat, message boards, etc.  It is completely CIPA compliant and completely free.  And, they have an ad-free subscription that is very reasonable.  Gaggle is also eligible for E-Rate funding.


Wikis - What is a wiki?  It's a webpage that anyone can edit.  Wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian.



Voz Me

  • Use with students who have trouble reading.  Studying the Gettysburg Address?  Convert it to an mp3 and post it on your website.  Not as good as voice, but quicker.


Ustream - Below are cool classroom/education samples:


ToxBox and Vawkr

  • Use this to have a videoconference with an ePal or students from a sister school.

  • I have a special ed student whose mother lives in Korea...he uses this regularly to communicate with his mother.



  • I set up all of the 7th grade students with Gaggle e-mail accounts so that that they may register for great online tools such as VoiceThread and Google Docs.

  • One teacher I work with uses the threaded message board as a place to post reading questions that students may answer.  It's great to see them not only answer the questions thoughtfully, but respond to their peers' responses.



  • The number of uses for wikis in the classroom is endless.  If you have never created a wiki, start small.  Try getting a free space at http://www.pbwiki.com.  Play around with it...it is addicting! 




Uses in Education or Otherwise

Photo Editing





Online Tools - Online photo editors allow you to do just that...edit photos online.  Some, such as Splashup, allow you to do advanced editing, while others, such as Snip Shot and Flikr Toys only allow you to do quickie edits and image manipulation.


Stand-Alone/Downloadable Applications - These allow you to download and install programs onto your computer.  Most of these have more advanced features than the online tools, and you have the advantage of not having to worry about the internet going down, upload/download time, etc.

Free Photo Editing

  • Great tools if your school does not have any photo editors of its own.

  • NEITHER of these sites requires registration, so no need for students to give e-mail addresses.

  • The online tools allow students to do a "quick and dirty" edit of photos, and apply cool effects to them.  As  result, they focus more on the content than the technology.

  • The downloadable, stand-alone applications help you stretch your budget.  Why pay for Photoshop when you can get something very similar for free?  Check out this comparisonPicasaGIMP in the classroom.




Uses in Education or Otherwise 

Office Productivity Tools: (i.e., Microsoft Office Alternatives)

Your Draft - Work collaboratively on a word processing document.  The best part about using this with students is that no registration is required.


Google Docs, Zoho and Think Free Office - These are online suites of applications similar to Microsoft Office.  Zoho seems to add a new tool every week!


Open Office and NeoOffice - Downloadable productivity suites.  They are basically Microsoft Office but for free!  Another free office suite is KOffice, but I have not used it, so I can not attest to the quality of this product.  If you have used this, please share your thoughts with us!

Your Draft

  • Kids can work collaboratively on a document.

  • Kids can work at home AND school on a document.

  • NOTE: Only one person may work on the document at a time.  The last save is the one that "takes."


Google Docs, Zoho and Think Free Office

  • Anything you use MS Office for, use one of these for instead.

  • Advantage to using Google Docs or Zoho? Multiple people can collaborate on the same document at the same time, and there is a record of who edited what.  Great for group work...no more group projects where 1 student does the work for everyone.

  • Disadvantage - if internet is down, you can't work on the documents.


Open Office and NeoOffice

  • Again, use this for anything your currently use MS Office (or Appleworks) for.

  • These products open documents that have already been created using Microsoft Office.  Why not use these instead...they are FREE!!!


Feel free to download a Microsoft Office Alternatives handout I made for my students at the start of the year.



Uses in Education or Otherwise 

Miscellaneous Tools

CircaVie, Dipity - Create and share timelines online


Doodle - Schedule an event such as a board meeting, business lunch, conference call, family reunion, movie night, or any other group event.  Or make a group choice such as what movie to see, dinner menus, travel destinations, or anything else.


Snip URL - Make long URLs shorter.  There are lots of sites like this out there, but this one (if you register) allows you to specify the end of your URL instead of getting a random string of characters.


Weebly - Easy-to-use web creation tool.  Allows student to focus on the content of their website instead of the technology.  Webnode is another online web page development tool.  It looks cool, but I haven't had enough time to play with it yet.


Engrade - FREE online gradebook.  Easily allow parents to check students' grades, homework, classroom calendar, etc. online.


KoolWire - Easily convert almost any type of document into a PDF by just e-mailing it to pdf@koolwire.com.  Your PDF will be e-mailed back to you.


Stretching Your Tech Budget - AWESOME list offree resources from Susan Sheahan and Laurie Jacob in Champain Dist 4 who presented at IETC.


Comiqs - Create and share comic stories.  This online tool is very much like Comic Life, for those of you who have used it, with less features.  In my opinion, less features means more focus on content!

Timeline Tools

  • Students can create timelines of their own lives.  (Even though this is an online tool, they can make their timelines private.)
  • Create a timeline for a famous person or event.
  • Develop timelines for literature, either fiction or non-fiction.
  • Use a timeline tool to create a project timeline for your students.


Doodle - Good for school or classroom polls.


Snip URL - Good way to share long URLs with your staff and/or students.



  • I love this site for webpage development.  It can be password protected.  There is an option to embed almost any type of file, as well as include a blog.

  • The user friendly interface allows students (and teachers too!) to focus on the content rather than the design/technology.

  • I use this for my class website, and take a look at some of the sites students created for their Europe Trip project.



  • Allows parents to easily keep up with students' grades.

  • It's FREE!!!!



  • The need for this might become obsolete, but for now not everyone can create a PDF.  This is a great and VERY EASY tool to convert your files into PDF format.


  • The possibilities for comics in education are endless!
  • Have students "rewrite" Shakespeare in comic format.

  • How about using this when learning transitions words/terms for expository writing

  • Take a look at http://www.comicsintheclassroom.net for more ideas for using comics in the classroom.  And Arlington Heights School District has a great page of resources for using comics in the classroom.



Uses in Education or Otherwise

 Just for Fun!

Juke Pix - Easily put someone else's face onto someone else's body.  Lots of fun can be had with this!


Bubblesnaps - Make an e-card out of a photo and speech bubble.


Go2Web20 - HUGE directory of new Web2.0 websites that come out every day.  I'm finding the majority fall under the "Just for Fun" category, but there are a lot of great ones that can be used with students as well.


Fuzzmail - Fuzzmail records the act of writing and lets you send it as an email. Dynamic changes, typoes, pauses and writeovers are captured and communicated.


Free Magic Tricks - This is just a list of how to do a bunch of magic tricks.  Great to use as a reward for when students follow instructions!


You Don't Know Jack! - I just had to add this one because it was one of my favorite games when it first came out on CD-ROM.  Now you can play completely online!


Mag My Pic - Make a magazine cover out of your photos.

Hmm...not much educational value here, but these tools are a lot of fun!


However, keep an eye open when visiting Go2Web20...sometimes you can get some good educational "gems" from there.  But, there are a lot of dating, real estate, business, etc. sites listed, so search using the "education" tag for more appropriate sites.


Please share your sites here below.  Don't forget to write your name and give yourself credit!


  • Check out this list at "Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in Every Classroom." (Karen Janowski)
  • Rollyo- This site allows you to list 25 URLs and create a seach tool. When students search using the Rollyo search tool that you created, it will only search through the 25 URLs you have included in Rollyo. It allows you to create a search with reliable sites while the students still learn how to research. (Kim Hauman)
  • SeaShore- It is an open source image editor for the Mac. It has layers just like AdobePhotoshop. Great for elementary or middle school students. (Kim Hauman)
  • Kerpoof -- "You can be the artist in Super Doodle. Paint, choose and mix colors and more." (Kim Hauman)

  • DIgital Quill  Resources for Digital Storytelling.  Created by Jon Orech
  • Wordle Make a tag cloud out of ANY document or webpage. 
  • Goanimate Free, easy, and powerful animation tool.

Comments (2)

Anonymous said

at 11:51 am on Nov 16, 2007

Love the way you have organized this page - makes it very effective!

Anonymous said

at 2:23 pm on Feb 28, 2008

This page looks great!! Great organization!! So helpful!!

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