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Exploring the World of Free Teaching Productivity Resources on the Web

by Kelly Walsh on November 28, 2010

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There are so many free productivity tools available on the Internet for today’s educators. I’m creating a resource page that list many of the most useful ones, and I’d love to have your input!

By “productivity” tools and resources, I am referring to tools that can help teachers get their jobs done more efficiently or effectively, at no cost (beyond the effort required to use the resources, of course). There are so many of these types of tools out on the Internet – sites providing free lesson materials, quiz and test banks, worksheets and flash cards, and much more.

READERS: CLICK HERE (or the tab in top menu) TO ACCESS THE “Free Productivity Resources For Educators” PAGE that this post resulted in

It would be nice to have a page here on EmergingEdTech where I would collect and organize links to good quality sites like this as I come across them, a page that educators could reference any time that they are looking for these types of resources. My goal with this series of posts is to lay a foundation for such a page – a list of free productivity resources intended specifically for educators, grouped into logical categories. I will limit the listing to better quality sites (those with more resources, better organization, easier use, etc.), and update it regularly.

I did a lot of searching around the ‘net for this sort of thing over the long holiday weekend, and developed a list of categories, with some example sites for each category. Defining these categories and organizing them in an informative way seems to me to be the biggest challenge here – once the categories are in place, it’s easy to find and add listings of sites. I realize there are many sites out there that offer similar listings, but most of them don’t seem to be very well organized. I am hopeful that you, the reader, will share your ideas and input, and help me expand and organize this listing to make it highly useful.

Here’s my first draft of some categories, with examples of each (if you know of better resources in these categories, please comment and let us know about them!):

Activity & Materials Creators

Communications Tools (Print & Electronic)

Course Management Systems & LMS alternatives
(You have to register to use these tools, so you can save your own personalized content. Note that these tools are generally more involved than many of the other resources on this page.)

Clipart

Interactives (for White Boards, or Powerpoint)

Lesson Plans

Open Educational Resources

Quizzes & Tests
(These types of sites require sign up)

Rubrics

 

Seeking Your Input!
Is there a category that you think I am missing (I struggled with certain types of free tools that can be useful, but are not intended specifically for educators, and decided for now to leave them off the list, to help keep it manageable). Do you have any favorite productivity tools that you think I should add to one of these categories? Are you aware of better resources than those I have listed? Have you used any of these tools and had a particularly good or bad experience? I need your informed input to help me refine these listings and make them all solid recommendations. Please comment and share your knowledge.

Next
As the next few weeks roll by, I’ll be using reader input and further research to continue to update and organize this collection of resources.  Next Sunday I’ll put up the new page – I’ll rename the “Free Tools & Resources” tab to “Free Productivity Tools & Resources”, and build out an organized, formatted page of resources.

[Incidentally, I do realize that this is slightly off-topic from the site's main theme of "engaging students and enhancing learning outcomes", but it's still about leveraging technology for educator's needs, and I'm sure you'll forgive the "transgression"! - KW]

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Video blog entry for this post
30 Posts About Free Education Technology Tools & Resources
10 Free Educational Game Sites

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer and a faculty member at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amee November 29, 2012 at 7:09 am

Buen Artículo
Me encantó la manera en que aborda sobre el tema.

Seguiré volviendo esta página

Victoria Evans September 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

Maybe it’s on here somewhere, but I didn’t see ENGRADE http://www.engrade.com which is the best piece of teacher productivity software I have every stumbled upon! It is a gradebook, but MUCH more.

You can have multiple teachers on classes if you collaborate, parents and students have their own logins, it’s totally web-based, it’s FREE, students can take quizzes right on the site, turn in assignments, message, participate in discussions, and it is SUPER easy to use.

Online Education Database rated it #1 in its list of top 25 tools for teacher productivity http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/top-25-web20-productivity-apps

Ultimately teacher productivity is linked to student success, which is what I wish everyone would understand! We are mandated to use INOW which is the WORST piece of software I have ever used.

Thanks!

Brock December 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Here’s a few that I think are worth putting up on the list:

http://www.google.com/apps/
Online, free office suite that has applications similar to Word, Excel, etc. It allows for peer editing as well.

http://www.wordpress.com
Easy site to set up a personal teaching site. Though it’s primarily a blog site it can be used for education as well.

http://www.random.org
I use this whenever I need to organize groups or whatever randomly. Students joke about me “randomly” making seating arrangements or whatever and this site uses atmospheric radio noise to do the random work. You put in your student list and click to randomize it.

http://scratch.mit.edu/
Students can make online games, cartoons, etc. More for the tech savvy/interested in your class but it can provide an additional option for doing presentations.

Colleen Young December 2, 2010 at 5:12 am

So many tools. Where to start? I have so many bookmarks. I use WordPress blogs to gather favourites together. (You can see the links on the right of my website)

Is it worth having a category – not sure what you would call it – but I have personal favourites that help me do my own work as a teacher. In particular I would not be without WordPress, Evernote and Diigo.

Ronald C. Smallwood November 30, 2010 at 8:35 am

Jing for quick & easy screen capture: just a picture or a flash movie with sound.

capsticm@gmail.com November 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm

http://cybertrain.info/ offers free quiz game and test making facilities for your ‘Activity & Materials Creators’ section
regards
mikec

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