Web 2.0 Tools

While the Web has always been a tool for collaboration, only in the last few years has software permitted individuals to use it as a platform for true collaborative activities. Web 2.0 is about users and content, instead of just surfing on the Internet. It’s about what the Internet can do for an active collaborator, rather than a passive viewer.

Web 2.0 tools are changing the way messages spread across the Web. A number of online tools and platforms are now defining how people share their perspectives, opinions, thoughts and experiences. Web 2.0 tools such as weblogs, RSS, video casting, social bookmarking, social networking, podcasts and picture sharing sites are becoming more and more popular. One major advantage of Web 2.0 tools is that the majority of them are free.

Online tools and resources have made it easier for educators to instruct students, and for students to collaborate with those instructors and with other students and parents. These “Web 2.0” teaching tools aren’t magical, but they may seem to defy definition at times since they save time, help you to stay organized, and often take up little space on a computer. Some of these applications are Web-based, which means that they can be accessed from any computer.

The following list is filled with tools that will make a teacher’s life easier. The categories are listed in alphabetical order and the links to each tool are also listed alphabetically within those categories. Some tools may require a fee to activate advanced features.

NOTE : After the publication of these resources, the individual creator may have modified its availability. Please let us know if that is the case to make the appropriate changes in the description. If would like to search for further resources, you may perform a google search for web 2.0 tools by clicking here.

Aggregators

The following list includes free tools that you can use to stay on top of current events, including headlines and blogs.

  1. Aggie: Aggie is an open source news aggregator that’s also a desktop application. It downloads the latest news and displays it in a Web page.
  2. Bloglines: This is more of a personal news aggregator than a bookmark tool, but it’s sophisticated and highly useful for teachers who want to stay on top of current events in any given topic.
  3. BlogPulse: BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system for blogs. You can apply machine-learning and natural-language processing techniques to track blog activity on key issues, people, news stories, news sources, bloggers and more.
  4. FeedReader: This is a free reader that is simple to use. It supports podcasts.
  5. Google Reader: If you use Google for its many tools, then use this reader to stay on top of news by keyword or by place.
  6. Plum: Use the “Shoebox” to accumulate bookmarks, and allow colleagues access to your “Dropbox,” where they can provide Web pages, news, and more for your perusal. This is a great tool for building classroom projects or for accumulating news, sites, and images about a specific topic.
  7. RSS Reader: This RSS reader is able to display any RSS and Atom news feed (XML).
  8. Syndirella: Syndirella is an open source desktop information aggregator – a program that provides a comfortable environment for reading the information coming from multiple sources, or feeds. The most common uses for Syndirella are reading news sites and weblogs.
  9. WikiNews: Anyone can contribute, and articles are written collaboratively for a global audience. They strive at all times to meet the policy of using neutral point of view, ensuring that their reporting is as fair as possible. Since this is a wiki, you can combine this site with other objectives in a project for your class.

Bookmark Managers

Bookmark managers make it easy to build a personal directory where researchers can tap into sites and materials that have been saved online and share them with others in most cases. The following bookmark managers are free to use, but they all have different angles. In other words, teachers and professors can do more with these sites than save a page or two.

  1. del.icio.us: This is a popular social bookmarker, but it’s an easy tool to use if you have a handle on how to use tags.
  2. Diigo: Turn your students onto this tool, which works like a bookmark manager with a highlighter or with sticky notes. This is an ideal way to research for a paper or to create a new project for class. This site works much like MyStickies, but without Diigo’s highlighter.
  3. Facebook: While Facebook is a social utility that can connect you with friends as well as with students, you can also use this tools to bookmark Web sites and specific Internet pages.
  4. Furl: Furl saves a cache of every bookmarked web page, so you can perform complete searches through the body of all spurled pages. Since Furl saves a particular page on their servers, you’ll never lose this information even when the page has been deleted or moved.
  5. LinkedIn: Sometimes you just want to get away from the students. LinkedIn provides a way for you to communicate with your peers instead (or not), and it’s also useful for bookmarking.
  6. Ma.gnolia.com: This site tends to be a little quieter and more organized. Like del.icio.us, you can see your links only or links posted by others. But, at this site you can create a group and keep it fairly well organized for class projects.
  7. Spurl: This bookmark manager operates exactly like Furl in most respects. You can download all your saved pages to your hard drive if you fear losing them.
  8. Twitter: Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of answers that can be no longer than 140 characters and spaces per post. Use this tool to help your students keep up-to-date, as you could advertise a Twitter address that students could use to learn about school projects, reading assignments, and other announcements. You can also use this tool as a bookmark manager for research.
  9. Yahoo! Bookmarks: Yahoo! Bookmarks is not intended to be a social bookmark site like the others. Instead, it essentially allows you use your personal bookmark list at any computer. In fact, it acts and feels very much like your browser’s built-in bookmark manager.

Classroom Tools

You need tools to help assess class progress. You need tools to help keep students and parents apprised of the students’ progress. How about tools to manage presentations using mobile devices in the classroom? You need all sorts of tools, you need them at your fingertips, and you need them to work efficiently. Some of those tools are listed below.

  1. Charles Kelley Quiz Generator: Create multiple choice or bilingual tests. Though some of the quizzes generated here can only be used on this website, others can be put on your own website.
  2. Engrade: Engrade is a free online gradebook that allows teachers to manage their classes online as well as post grades, assignments, attendance, and upcoming homework online for students and parents to see. Engrade is free and easy to use. Join over 10,000 teachers, parents, and students using Engrade today.
  3. Free Worksheet Generator: Sponsored by Discovery Education, you can create your own worksheets or use over 300 ready-made worksheets created by teachers.
  4. Kahoot – is a game-based classroom response system. The teacher can create quizzes and surveys on getkahoot.com. Students join on any device or computer by entering the game-pin at kahoot.it.
  5. mQlicker – is a new free Audience Response System (sometimes, in the education context, referred to as a Classroom Response System). All is needed to gain access to mQlicker is registration which creates a user account. There is no need to purchase any additional equipment; your current PC, smartphone or tablet with either iOS or Android is supported by mQlicker.
  6. MyGradeBook: Keep track of grades online, where parents and students can log on to view progress. This tool is integrated with Quiz Lab (see below).
  7. My Project Pages: Built by teachers for teachers, use myprojectpages.com to create structured online inquiry-based learning activities for the courses you teach that enable your students to engage in meaningful learning experiences while online.
  8. Plickers – A new classroom polling system. All you need to get started is paper and a single smartphone. Free!
  9. Poll Everywhere – An inexpensive and quick alternative for clicker response systems. Create your first poll in 30 seconds without having to sign up. Your students simply text their answer to a predetermined number and, voila! Poll Everywhere is free if your class size is less than 40 students.
  10. Presefy – is a new FREE service that you can use to share your presentations to your students’ mobile devices. Through Presefy you can control your slides from your computer or from the browser in your iPad, iPhone, Android phone, or any other mobile device that has a web browser. When you advance the slides in your presentation the slides also advance on your students’ mobile devices. Your students can take notes as they follow along with your slides. To share your presentations just create a Presefy account and upload a PPTX or PDF file. Your account is given a channel name and URL. Share that URL with your students, have them enter it into their browsers, and they can follow along as you advance your slides. To learn more watch this video. The free version of Presefy allows you to store two presentations at a time. You can delete and re-upload presentations as many times as you want in the free account.
  11. Schoopy: You can post homework in more than one location on SCHOOPY. The first place you should consider is the calendar, where you can post important dates and notices. However, you may choose to use the Assignments/Quizzes/Files tool depending on how you would like to contact students.
  12. Slideshare: Ok, so you’re still with PowerPoint, but you can jazz that presentation up at Slideshare. This site takes your .ppt file (also works with Open Office and PDF files) so you can share it with your students (and the world at large). You can add music, embed videos in comments and more – all for free.
  13. Socrative – is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
  14. Survey Builder: Survey Builder allows you to easily create and manage online surveys suitable for Internet-based oral history projects, course evaluations, and other endeavors that involve collecting feedback. You do not need to know how to build a Web page that has forms, set up a database to store entries, or do any of the other technical tasks that are normally required to produce interactivity on the Internet.
  15. Quiz Lab: Create your own online quizzes or select from a huge library of teacher-created quizzes. This tool is Integrated with MyGradeBook.Com (see above).
  16. Web Poster Wizard: This free tool allows educators to create a lesson, worksheet, or class page and immediately publish it online.

Collaboration

Part of teaching is collaboration. Teachers need to communicate with peers, administrators, and students. The tools listed below – some free and some for a cost – will help you stay on top of your projects with ease through open channels for collaboration.

  1. Academia.edu – Academia.edu is a free platform for academics to share research papers. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research. Academics use Academia.edu to share their research, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. 9,251,273 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 2,652,441 papers and 1,069,306 research interests. Academia.edu attracts over 15.7 million unique visitors a month.
  2. BackPack: You can keep your to-do lists, notes, ideas, and calendar online with Backpack, a simple web-based service that allows you to make pages with to-do lists, notes, files, and images. Backpack also features a calendar and reminders that can be sent via email or to your cell phone at predefined times. BackPack works with IE 6 or 7 (PC), Firefox 2 or later (Mac, PC, or Linux), Safari 2 or later (Mac). Backpack is a month-to-month service so you can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your free access at any time. Use this tool in conjunction with Writeboard, where you can use an online text tool to create and collaborate.
  3. Basecamp: Projects don’t fail from a lack of charts, graphs, stats, or reports, they fail from a lack of clear communication. Basecamp solves this problem by providing tools tailored to improve the communication between people working together on a project.
  4. Coggle – Produce beautiful notes, quickly and easily. Share them with friends and colleagues to enhance your ideas collaboratively. All for free!
  5. FirstClass: Using a personalized Web page as a communication hub, teachers can send messages to the principal, pick up student assignments, change homework tasks for that evening, or have students build their own Web pages. FirstClass will run on a single server with one administrator for any number of users. This tool is not free.
  6. Gliffy: This diagram editor is easy to use, and you can save your work on their servers for free. Gliffy Online has two ways to make document sharing simple. Collaboration enables others to see and edit your work by simply entering their email address. Publishing creates a read-only, or public, image of your diagram that you can easily embed in a wiki, blog, or other type of web software.
  7. iMindMap Basic – is a free Mind Mapping software which will get you Mind Mapping quickly and easily. A simple tool to help you start thinking in a clear and creative way, iMindMap Basic uses a process that has been enhancing the way people think for decades. iMindMap Basic is completely free for life and is a great starter package for those who want to start exploring the uses of Mind Mapping for free.
  8. LiveText: LiveText is a Web-delivered subscription service for teachers featuring collaborative lesson-building activities. Simple and easy to use, LiveText uses lesson planning as a focus for engaging the educational community. This is not a free service.
  9. MindMeister – a powerful tool that is great for mind-mapping on the go. MindMeister keeps all your mind maps in the cloud for easy access. Because of this, it allows you to collaboratively build your mind map with others.
  10. Mindomo: Mindmapping is a highly productive method of visual brainstorming that you can use to plan projects or to map out a knowledge base. Mindomo has an interface and feature set that rivals other free standalone mindmapping applications such as Freemind. Maps are shareable but require you to register and login to save them.
  11. Notecentric: Organization is key when you have your head pushed in the books. This web based note taking application is an easy way to store and share class notes with friends and help your organization efforts. Account holders can easily invite friends to join in on certain notes for simple reading or collaboration purposes. NoteCentric also has RSS abilities, so sharing and reading through feed readers is possible.
  12. NoteMesh: Add some social flavor to your note taking with this collaborative wiki style class note taker. Users can post their lecture notes, or contribute to existing lecture notes. NoteMesh wants to get classmates to collaborate to create a single definitive source for lecture notes.
  13. Pearltrees –  is a visual and collaborative curation tool that allows users to collect, organize and share any URL they find online as well as to upload personal photos and notes. The product features a unique visual interface that allows users to drag and organize collected URLs into units called pearls that themselves can be further organized in a hierarchical structure with pearltrees, the company’s nomenclature for customizable folders that contain pearls (URLs). Users of the product can also engage in social/collaborative curation using a feature called Pearltrees Teams.
  14. ResearchGate – it started when two researchers discovered first-hand that collaborating with a friend or colleague on the other side of the world was no easy task.Founded in 2008 by physicians Dr. Ijad Madisch and Dr. Sören Hofmayer, and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher, ResearchGate today has more than 4 million members. It strives to help them make progress happen faster. The service is free.
  15. TitanPad – Is a collaborative tool that allows multiple people to work on one document at the same time. After creating your TitanPad you then share the link with those you want to use it and everyone can collaborate at the same time on the document. Once it is complete you can save, share, import/export, or continue to edit. Free tool.
  16. Vyew: Vyew is an online meeting service that brings people and content together. The free version is limited to 50 pages, 20 participants, and themes. But, the number of sessions is unlimited.
  17. WebOffice: Like FirstClass, WebOffice creates a virtual office environment for real-time meetings, and with the purchase of additional audio and video components, creates an experience that’s almost like being there. This is not a free service
  18. Weebly – create a free class website and let your students build sites too. Faculty can create a classroom website and blog, manage student’s accounts and accept assignments online.

Course Management

You may need more than simple classroom tools like a quiz generator. You may need content, the ability to communicate, create a short video tutorial, organization tools and more. The following site offers at least one of these tools in combination with other capabilities. Most are open source and/or free.

  1. ATutor: Administrators can install or update ATutor in minutes, develop custom templates to give ATutor a new look, and easily extend its functionality with feature modules. Educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, easily retrieve and import prepackaged content, and conduct their courses online. This is an open source tool.
  2. Big Marker – is a good option for conducting online tutoring sessions, brainstorming sessions, and other online presentations. allows you to create your choice of a private or a public online meeting room. If you make your room public anyone can join. If you make your room private you have to give participants a password to enter the room. Once in your Big Marker conference room you can share screens, chat via text, chat via audio, or turn on your webcam so that people can see and hear you. Your Big Marker conference room comes with a white board that you and your participants can write and draw on. As the creator of a Big Marker conference you can control who can and cannot be heard or seen in the live audio and video chats.
  3. ClassCentral: ClassCentral provides the necessary tools for class and individual communications, grading and grade reporting, coursework and assignment publishing, content building, document sharing, and more. And, it’s all free.
  4. Dokeos: Dokeos is a learning management system used in more than 600 companies and public administrations to manage e-learning and blended learning programs. This is open source software.
  5. Drupal: Drupal is an open source project that offers a flexible framework to set up a social learning environment or a more traditional learning environment.
  6. Edmodo – a social network that you set up for your class. It looks like, feels like and smells like Facebook; however, it employs many safety precautions that keep students on task. Students cannot have private chats with each other, invite anyone to the class group or make private posts. It’s great because you can use it as a resource to answer questions and stay connected with your students outside of school.
  7. EduTools: On this website, innovative educators highlight their favorite e-learning tools. Discover about new tools by reading their description, by grasping their educational value and – where available – by visiting their associated learning activities on the vast Microsoft Educator Network. The EduTools site was re-launched as a community-driven site, beginning with the Course Management System (CMS) site. The site includes the ability for any user to submit reviews for new products that haven’t already been reviewed or to add their own feedback as to how well specific products have implemented various features. Join the community!
  8. eFront: Easy to use, visually attractive, SCORM compatible, open source e-learning and human capital development platform.
  9. eStudy: eStudy is an open source e-learning and collaboration platform for colleges and universities. In addition to usual course management facilities, eStudy provides special support for role-play simulations in computer science.
  10. LAMS: LAMS (Learning Activity Management System) provides teachers with a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration.
  11. Merlot: A free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with the ability to connect with peers.
  12. Moodle: Moodle is an open source course management system that is taking the educational world by storm. It provides all the sophisticated high-level functionality of an educational CMS and more – and there are no license fees. More about more colleges and universities are turning to Moodle to create, host and deliver their courses online.
  13. Sakai: Sakai is a community of academic institutions, commercial organizations and individuals who work together to develop a common Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE).
  14. Schooltool: SchoolTool is a project to develop a common global school administration infrastructure that is freely available under an Open Source license. SchoolTool encompasses three sub-projects including a calendar and resource management tools, a student information system, and the ability to track which skills students are acquiring in their classes and at what level of competency.
  15. Sloodle: Sloodle is an open source project that aims to develop and share useful, usable, desireable tools for supporting education in virtual worlds, making teaching easier. If you have enough technical support or nous, and your own server, you can download the Sloodle source code and install it on your own Moodle installation. Otherwise, you can try out a few elements on the Web site.
  16. Wink: a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users. This is a free software.
  17. WordCircle: This is a course management tool and learning community for teachers, students and those looking to create and conduct online web courses. This is an open source project.
  18. Voki– Voki is a FREE service that lets you:
  • Create customized avatars.
  • Add voice to your Voki avatars.
  • Post your Voki to any blog, website, or profile.
  • Take advantage of Voki’s learning resources, including lesson plans.

ePortfolios

  1. ePortfolios with GoogleApps: This Google Site has been set up by Dr. Helen Barrett to focus on the use of Google Apps to create ePortfolios. On this site, there are instructions on how to use the different elements of Google Apps to maintain e-portfolios.

Infograph Tools

These sites offer resources to enhance visually data that is difficult to understand in other ways. Some tools allow for live graphical representation of interactions in social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

  1. amCharts – is a set of JavaScript (HTML5) and flash charts for your websites and Web-based products. An ideal tool to generate charts for your interactive infographics.
  2. Google Charts Tools – Provides several tools for making data more comprehensible. Google Chart Tools is the search giant’s bundling of the Google Chart API and Google Visualization API.
  3. Hohli Charts – Based on the Google Chart API a brilliant tool to create great charts the way you like them, it will let you create lines, bar and pie charts, Venn diagrams, radar charts and scatter plots.
  4. Info.am – Create free interactive charts and info graphics.
  5. MentionMap – is a free network exploring tool for Twitter. Each user is connected to the people and hashtags they mentioned the most in recent tweets.
  6. StatSilk – a  StatPlanet visualization and mapping software. The free application enables you to explore and analyze all the 5000+ indicators available from the World Bank database through interactive maps and graphs. It is available in three languages: English, French and Spanish.
  7. TweepsMap – is a free online tool that shows you where your followers are in the world. With this tool you can map the effectiveness and distribution of your following, including students or colleagues by Country, State or City.
  8. Visible Tweets – is a way to view tweets based on keyword or username. This free Twitter visualization Tool is basically a screen saver featuring your tweets.
  9. Visual.ly – Create free custom infographics in seconds with Visual.ly Create.

Office Suites

The tools listed below behave just like any other commercial office suite applications. The only difference is that they’re free to use.

  1. Google Docs: Google has managed to replicate Excel, Word, and PowerPoint with Google Spreadsheets, Docs, and Presentations, respectively. You can upload, create, and store all these files online, and then download them to other office applications and save them on your hard drive or share your work with others online. Google surrounds these tools with their famous search application, access to online books, and a scholars’ search for online documents. The tools for teaching are virtually endless.
  2. iSpring – iSpring’s online presentations are advanced versions of what you create in PowerPoint. How are they better than PowerPoint? iSpring’s online presentations are:
    • up to 97% more compact;
    • secured into Flash format;
    • viewable in any web-browser;
    • enhanced with voiceovers, video and quizzes.
  3. LibreOffice – LibreOffice opens with a main menu that let us select which application we wanted to use: Base, Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, and Writer. Each application’s interface will look very familiar to you if you’ve used MS Office products. We started with LibreOffice Writer, the suite’s word-processing application. We typed up a document and formatted it without any issues. The application saves documents as .odt files by default, which cannot be opened by MS Word. But to solve any compatibility issues, it does allow you to save it as a .doc file. Should you need it, each application includes a link that takes you to the Web site for support. Free!
  4. KOffice: KOffice is a free, integrated office suite for KDE, the K Desktop Environment for Linux and Unix workstations. KOffice features a full set of applications that work together seamlessly to provide the best user experience possible, including a word program, spreadsheets, a presentation tool, and more.
  5. Open Office: Download this free office suite to replace Microsoft Office tools. OpenOffice.org is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project that includes key desktop applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, and drawing program with a user interface and feature set similar to other office suites. OpenOffice.org also works transparently with a variety of file formats, including those of Microsoft Office, and the vendor-neutral OpenDocument standard from OASIS. You can also save files in PDF format.
  6. ThinkFree: This beta system offers Word, Excel, and PowerPoint clones that run in any browser for free. These are java applications, so they take a moment to ‘warm up’ before you run them, but once you have the program running the process runs smoothly and quickly. ThinkFree opens and saves to standard Microsoft Office formats such as .doc, .xls, and .ppt on your hard drive. They can also save documents to PDF, something you can’t do with Microsoft. If you want to save files on ThinkFree’s servers, you have 30 megs of storage space to use for free. This is a truly intuitive tool, especially if you’re already familiar with Microsoft Office.
  7. ZOHO: Zoho is an office productivity suite that works much like Google Docs in that you have access to spreadsheet, word, and an online presentation tool. You can upload, save online, download, and share. Plus you have access to other tools such as mail, project management software, and more that make this suite perfect for classroom projects.

Office Tools

Oh sure, you have a stapler, a copier, and access to other tools. But, what if you could gain access to file converters, presentation tools, and other management resources from almost any computer? Or, if you could download some tools and use them from your computer at any location? These tools could make your life a little easier or at least help you out of a jam.

  1. Animoto: provides an array of tools for creating videos in your classroom. Animoto makes it easy to share your videos via email, on a blog/website, exported to YouTube, or downloaded to a computer for use in presentations. 30 second videos are free. For longer videos a Fee is required.
  2. Cute PDF: No adware, spyware, or malware involved. Just download and go to town making PDFs from just about any document file. This is freeware.
  3. Document Converter eXpress: Neevia Document Converter eXpress makes it possible for anyone to instantly convert their files to PDF or Image without the need of installing special software. There is a 1 MB restriction.
  4. Empressr: Upload video, images, text – you name it – to create an online presentation. This is the first Ajax/Flash-based presentation web application, and it’s an interesting way to get your online class projects together for free.
  5. PDF Converter – provides a quick and easy way to convert PDF to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, allowing you to create a PDF from literally any file.Not only is it a completely free file conversion service, it also enables you to avoid the hassle of having to install something on your computer.
  6. PIMv2: One of the lightest, easiest tools around to zip and unzip files. And, it’s free.
  7. SlideRocket: Works with Google to bring stunning presentations to schools. All you need is a Google Apps Education Administrator account to get SlideRocket EDU for everyone at your educational institution. It allows for collaboration and feedback of presentations.
  8. yousendit: You can use the free trial to send large files (like that dissertation!). This tool replaces the need for FTP transfers, overnight couriers and unreliable email attachments.

Productivity

If you need to get something done quickly, there’s no better method than to organize your mess. Pull notes, dates, to-do lists, create your own textbook and more together, exam the following tools.

  1. 30 Boxes: 30boxes is a calendaring tool that has the extra feature of allowing you to track headlines from RSS Web feeds. You can add your calendar to Google’s Blogger (see #1) or to your MySpace page. Share it with friends, family, or with students who need to know when that project is due.
  2. Audacity– is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:
    • Record live audio.
    • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
    • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
    • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
    • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  3. Assignment Calculator: You might think this tool is for students, and you’re right. But, you can use it to see if your assignments are reasonably timed. Or, you can create a handout to show students that they can get the work done and you’ll show them how to do it.
  4. BackPack: You can keep your to-do lists, notes, ideas, and calendar online with Backpack, a simple web-based service that allows you to make pages with to-do lists, notes, files, and images. Backpack also features a calendar and reminders that can be sent via email or to your cell phone at predefined times. BackPack works with IE 6 or 7 (PC), Firefox 2 or later (Mac, PC, or Linux), Safari 2 or later (Mac). Backpack is a month-to-month service so you can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your free access at any time. Use this productivity tool in conjunction with Writeboard, where you can use an online text tool to create and collaborate.
  5. Book Creator – is available for iOS (free and paid versions) and, as of a few days ago, for Android ($2.00 at the moment)!
  6. EdPuzzle – a free web-based tool that allows you to: (a) use only what you need from any video. (b) insert audio notes or record over a video with your voice, (c) add questions at any point in the video and track your student’s understanding, (d) search for videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, LearnZillion, Crash Course, and (e) upload your own videos and make them fit your class.
  7. HiTask: Dragging and dropping goodness makes this task tracker a fun tool to use to stay on top of things. Colored tags can be applied so users can easily identify and review important items. Meetings or reminders can be set by dragging their instance onto a calendar and into a time based schedule. Members of teams can also be assigned certain tasks by dragging the task onto the person’s name. It’s a very clean and east to use application. It does not allow for unlimited information, but there is an option for a $12/year for a premium account.
  8. iBook Author – Available free on the Mac App Store, iBooks Author is an app that allows anyone to create multi-Touch textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad. With galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, mathematical expressions, and more, these books bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.
  9. Jing –  a free and simple way to start sharing images and short videos of your computer screen. Whether for work, home, or play, Jing gives you the ability to add basic visual elements to your captures and share them fast.
  10. mySchoolog: This online application tracks and organizes school lives. Lessons are entered and organized into categories, with weekly schedules built by dragging and dropping lesson planners and times for each class. There is a to-do list where appointments and homework lists can be made and the ever-important reminders can be set and sent out via SMS or email.
  11. MyTicklerFile: MyTickerFile is a calendaring tool for managing reminders and projects. This one differs in that it uses 43 folders: 31 “day” folders and 12 “month” folders, allowing you to break down tasks by date priority. Students and professors can record and manage short-term and long-term reminders and project tasks.
  12. Neptune: Neptune is simplicity in to-do list management, allowing you to set up various folders with one or more tasks. Order tasks in each folder by priority. Neptune will e-mail you each day (if you want) with a list of the topmost task for each defined project. Task items can also be e-mailed to Neptune or uploaded from a file. Note taking allows HTML formatting, images, and limited math formulas.
  13. Pixtick – free web resource that gives you the power to capture screenshot, annotating or editing images and publishing them from within your browser. You don’t need to download or install anything. Just launch it and you are ready.
  14. Remember the Milk: If you’re a list freak, this tool is right up your alley. You can manage your tasks even when your computer is not connected to the Internet. You can choose to receive reminders via email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo! are all supported).
  15. SRecorder – Screen recorder is a software that allows to take PC screen video capture of high quality, with or without sound.  Free.
  16. Tellagami – (https://tellagami.com/) – a free iOS and Android app that lets you create short animated movies called “Gamis”. Although the site promotes the app as a way to send greetings and messages for use within social media, it is a tool useful in the classroom.
  17. TiddlyWiki: This is a reusable, nonlinear notebook that you can use to keep track of projects. This tools works with all major desktop browsers on Windows, Macintosh and Linux and many mobile browsers such as the Apple iPhone and the Nokia 770/N800.
  18. TubeBox – allows you to download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc. Free download.
  19. Voki – create a speaking avatar and use it as an effective learning tool. It allows you to engage students with interactive lessons, introduce technology in a fun way, enhance language skills and to development assignments or projects.
  20. Write my Paper– Paperfellows have called themselves: “An ultimate guide to perfect academic paper writing”. On this page of their website, you will find a compiled a collection of grammar, citation styles, writing and research skills website.

Public Content Management (Blogs, etc.)

Use blogs to teach, to build classroom community, to create class projects and more. The sky’s the limit on what you can do with these tools (just ask Jeff at TechLearning). What’s nice is that these blogs are free to use, although some may be free to specific groups of educational professionals or learners. And, these content management systems range from very, very easy to use to somewhat sophisticated (that is, you might need to know some code for installation or maintenance).

  1. Blogger: Create an account, name your blog, choose a template and begin posting. Google purchased this company, so if you’re addicted to using Google tools, then this free blog is a convenient extension of their services.
  2. CMS Matrix: It would be impossible to list all content management systems here, so this site does it for us. Compare up to ten different systems and visit their Web sites through links maintained on CMS Matrix. Make an informed decision with their help on systems that range from ACM Ariadne Content Manager to zwook.
  3. EduBlog: Powered by WordPress, these free blogs for teachers, researchers, librarians and other education professionals can help you to communicate to students and to your peers.
  4. ESLBlogs: Also known as Edublogs, these free blogs also are powered by WordPress and they’re free for teachers and students at all levels and English language students.
  5. Geeklog: Geeklog is a PHP/MySQL based application for managing dynamic web content. “Out of the box”, it is a blog engine, or a CMS with support for comments, trackbacks, multiple syndication formats, spam protection, and all the other vital features of such a system. Use plugins to radically alter its functionality. Available plugins include forums, image galleries, and many more.
  6. LiveJournal: You can use LiveJournal in many different ways: as a private journal, a blog, a discussion forum, a social network, and more.
  7. SchoolNotes: Create Notes for homework and class information and post them on the web in seconds using this free community service. Parents and Students can view notes from teachers through school zip code.
  8. TeacherTube: Think YouTube for teachers and educators, as this site’s layout and focus is similar; however, TeacherTube seeks to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. Site can be slow to load at times.
  9. UniBlogs: This is essentially a place where university and college students can get their own free blog.
  10. WordPress: This tool is free, and you can set it up on a personal Web space or use the free spaces offered at this site. WordPress is known for its excellent community support.

Search Engines for Students & Teachers

Google is probably the first search engine students have recourse to when conducting an online research and even there the first website they access is Wikipedia. Some of them suffice themselves with the few lines they find on Wikipedia but others consider it just a springboard for further research. Here you have a variety of web sites that offer you an alternative! Educators need to make sure all students with no exception use Wikipedia only as a start point for extensive research. This will definitely help them sharpen their critical and divergent thinking skills. Not only that, we should also introduce our students to other alternatives other than the popular search engines ( yahoo, Bing, Google,AOL,…etc ).

  1. Infomine – is a scholarly internet resource that allows students and teachers to search for content pertaining to different academic areas.
  2. iPL2 – is a learning environment that merges collections of resources from Internet public library and the librarians internet index.
  3. iSeek – iSeek Education is a targeted search engine for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers. It allows its users to safely search hundreds of thousands of trusted resources.
  4. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence – FREE provides teaching and learning resources from the federal government. It has more than 1.500 federally supported teaching and learning resources.
  5. Newseum -through this tool you can see up-to-date/current events in real time, and see the front page of hundreds of newspaper from across the world. Also, this tool is helpful for use in presentations, research projects, or perhaps to have students get up and share a specific date in time that they find interesting. They can then read parts of an article and share their thoughts / learn about the context the article was written in. For copyright protection, watermarks are occasionally placed on front pages that cover news events of historic significance. Access is Free.
  6. Scirus – is a comprehensive scientific research tool on the web. With over 545 million scientific items indexed at last count, it allows researchers to search for not only journal content but also scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information.
  7. Sweet Search – is a search engine for students. It helps them find outstanding information faster and also enable them to determine the most relevant results from a list of credible resources.

Storage

Nothing beats a backup for storage; however, when you need to share files or if you need to gain access to files from another computer, online storage and transfer is the way to go. However, we don’t suggest uploading student test papers to grade on vacation in the Bahamas. That’s counterproductive.

  1. Boxnet: lets you store all of your content online, so you can access, manage and share it from anywhere. Integrate Box with Google Apps and Salesforce and access Box on mobile devices. Box pioneered a new level of content management security, with role-based access controls, 99.9% uptime guarantee, data encryption using 256-bt SSL and SAS 70 II Certification.
  2. Diino: The 2GB free account is limited to two users logged in at the same time.
  3. Dropbox: a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!
  4. Firedrive: Firedrive can open over 150+ file types so you  can view them through any browser or device. Provides 50 GB free!
  5. FlipDrive: Use your FlipDrive account to securely store your files online and then access it from any web browser; backup and protect your critical and most important data from computer crashes and viruses. This site is free to use for thirty days, and charges after that time will depend upon amount of storage you need.
  6. Google Drive – Google Drive is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just…there. Ready to go, ready to share. Get started with 5 GB free.
  7. HyperFileShare: Share files with unlimited transfers up to 250MB and unlimited space – all for free. If you share files privately they keep them for 30 days from the last download. If you share files for community (publicly), they may keep them longer.
  8. MediaMax: MediaMax, powered by Streamload, gives you a private and secure place to upload, store, access, and share your personal videos, photos, movies, music, and files.Get 25GBs of free online storage (yes, that’s twenty-five gigabytes) with upload limits of 10 megs. MediaMax also provides larger storage and uploads for very reasonable prices. This system uses folders and tags for easy organization and accepts drag-and-drop file transfers.
  9. OmniDrive: Access, edit, and share your files from any browser. You have 1GB free storage with drag-and-drop file transfer capability and subfolders for organization.
  10. Orbitfiles: Sign up to get a free 6000Mb Platon account. Pay a small amount for unlimited storage.
  11. Scribd: Free unlimited storage
  12. YouSendIt: Use this resource for sending large (up to 2GB) files to others, even through Outlook with their plugin. YouSendIt isn’t intended for long-term storage, as files stored here are deleted after seven days. The drawback is that they’re now advertising a ‘free trial,’ but they don’t state how long this trial lasts or how much it will cost to continue service once the trial period has ended.

Teaching Resources

The Web has evolved to such a level that instructional resources to teach different disciplines are available online. This section provides key FREE resources that a teacher can use to enhance the learning experience of his/her students.

  1. Over 1,000,000 Torrents of Downloadable Books, Music, and Movies: The Internet Archive is now offering over 1,000,000 torrents including our live music concerts, the Prelinger movie collection, the librivox audio book collection, feature films, old time radio, lots and lots of books, and all new uploads from our patrons into Community collections: audio, Videos and Community texts (with more to follow).
  2. Academic Earth – Academic Earth believes everyone deserves access to a world-class education. A comprehensive collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities is available. Learning is taken outside the classroom with its’ original series of thought-provoking videos, designed to spark your intellectual curiosity and start a conversation. Watch, learn, share, debate. Resources are free!
  3. Apple in Education – offers over 20,000 free apps for iPad. Includes resources through the iTunes U that can be downloaded to mobile devices.
  4. Albert Einstein Archives Online: The Einstein Archives Online Website provides the first online access to Albert Einstein’s scientific and non-scientific manuscripts held by the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, constituting the material record of one of the most influential intellects in the modern era. It also enables access to the Einstein Archive Database, a comprehensive source of information on all items in the Albert Einstein Archives.
  5. Ardora – es una aplicación informática que permite crear más de 34 tipos de actividades (crucigramas, sopas de letras, paneles gráficos, relojes, etc.) en html de forma sencilla. Se trata de una aplicación multilingüe, en el menú “Idioma” se puede escoger entre gallego, catalán, euskera, español, portugués (PT), portugués de Brasil (BR), inglés, aragonés, ruso, asturiano y rumano.
  6. Banco de Objetos de Aprendizaje– de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia y pone a disposición de la comunidad en general los materiales educativos digitales, resultado del trabajo desarrollado con los docentes de distintas facultades, que servirán de apoyo a los procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje presenciales y virtuales en diferentes modalidades educativas.”Un objeto de aprendizaje es un conjunto de recursos digitales, autocontenible y reutilizable, con un propósito educativo y constituido por al menos tres componentes internos: Contenidos, actividades de aprendizaje y elementos de contextualización. El objeto de aprendizaje debe tener una estructura de información externa (metadatos) que facilite su almacenamiento, identificación y recuperación.”Andrés Chiappe
  7. ChemCollective – a collection of free virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests. Teachers can use our content for pre-labs, for alternatives to textbook homework, and for in-class activities for individuals or teams. Students can review and learn chemistry concepts using our virtual labs, simulations, and tutorials. The ChemCollective is organized by a group of faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon who are interested in using, assessing, and creating engaging online activities for chemistry education.
  8. ChemEd X – Chemical Educational Xchange (ChemEd X) is the new name for the former web site of the Journal of Chemical Education. A major emphasis of ChemEd X is to better serve precollege and two-year college audiences for whom the journal may not be a central resource. It strives to deliver content that is more accessible to this audience while at the same time adhering to the scholarly principles of peer review and assessment of contributions.
  9. Classicly – books are public domain classics- generally from before 1923. These can be read online, use an HTML5 reader that let’s you read in your web browser and saves your place! You can even download for free, both Kindle and PDF formats- and there’s no limits on downloading. Sync to iPhone & iPad Register to keep your reading collection in sync whether on the web or on the go.
  10. eXeLearning – The eXe project developed a freely available Open Source authoring application to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML markup. Resources authored in eXe can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages. (Auckland University of Technology y Tairawhiti Polytechnic)
  11. Fair Use Evaluator – Free tool that helps you better understand how to determine the “fairness” of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code. Collect, organize & archive the information you might need to support a fair use evaluation.
  12. Free Programming Resources – is a repository of free resource links to books or online courses available at various OpenCourseware or institutions of specialized disciplines dealing with computer programming languages or operating systems. A Professional Development section is included in the site.
  13. Freezeray – This site offers a growing bank of imaginative, highly visual teaching-aids. The resources are designed to be used as rich sources of visually stimulating material, making use of both animations and drag and drop interactivity. The appropriate Key Stage is indicated for each resource. It is hoped that the resources will help students to make sense of some of the more challenging concepts they encounter.
  14. GeoGebra – Free mathematics software for learning and teaching. Provides:
    • Interactive graphics, algebra and spreadsheet
    • From elementary school to university level
    • Free learning materials
  15. Guide to Start a Teaching Career-  In this guide, you’ll learn why teachers are more important than ever and how to start your teaching career.
  16. Guidebook Series: Education Technology Guides For educators, just having the technology at their fingertips is not enough. For technology to be effective there has to be quality content. Teachers need resources that help them utilize technology as a medium for their instruction instead of as the focus, or even worse- a distraction. This site provides 150 resources for educators, including popular and up-and-coming classroom technology tools, online resources and apps. (Read more…)
  17. How to Become a Math Teacher–  Math teachers facilitate students in preparing for more advanced studies like engineering, science, and technology courses. Teachers of Tomorrow will help to learn everything you need to know about degree options, career training, and licensing instructions to verify if this career is for you.-
  18. iCivics – prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.
  19. iTunes U – Now it’s easier than ever to unleash the full potential of iPad in your classroom by creating your own courses for iPad. You get to share your ideas in a powerful new way, and your students get a rich, immersive learning experience using the iTunes U app for iPad. iTunes U is available no matter where you teach — at any college, university, or K-12 school.
  20. JClic – Clic is a set of free software for the development of multimedia educational activities. The clicZone is a public service from the Ministry of Education of the Government of Catalonia created to give diffusion and support to the use of these resources, and to become a space of cooperation open to the participation of all the educators that want to share the applications produced using the programmes.
  21. MathPapa – provides step by step help in solving Algebra problems. Includes a virtual Algebra calculator.
  22. MERLOT Mobile Learning – has tools, resources, and ideas you might use to help develop, discover, and/or use mobile computing in your teaching and learning activities. Includes its’ own mobile apps for your iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and Blackberrys.
  23. MIT OpenCourseware – is a free web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
  24. NSF Multimedia gallery – National Science Foundation multimedia gallery with free resources for use in various disciplines.
  25. Newsy Science – YouTube Channel with up-to-date videos that relate Science to everyday events.
  26. Renderforest– Online Video and Animation maker in the Cloud! On this site you can create a free account for limited access to free tools to create professional intros, animations, slideshows and music visualizations in minutes. For additional features (and no watermarks) you might have to get for a fee other plan available at the site.
  27. ThatQuiz – review Math proficiency in different disciplines. Teacher can create a virtual classroom and have students take a test. Free!
  28. VideoScience – (http://sciencehousefoundation.org/videoscience/) – a collection of short videos of science demonstrations designed to serve as your digital colleague and science teaching companion. With over 80 videos currently, and more added every month, Video Science helps you find inexpensive lab tools and lots of experiments that are easy, effective, and hopefully fun to offer your students.
  29. Vocabulary –  a quick and easy way to improve your vocabulary. Regardless of education level or age this tool will help you learn new words that are essential to academic and business success.

Teacher-Student Communication

Communication between students and instructors is the cornerstone of the best educational relationships. Distance learning offers a great challenge to promote this relationship. The best teachers are marked by how they communicate information to their students and how well they create feedback and debate mechanisms to ensure a free-flowing stream of ideas and questions is always active between learner and educator. As a result of education technology, a wealth of brilliant new tools present themselves to the modern educator to stay effectively connected to students 24/7/365 in a myriad of exciting different ways.

  1. Bubbl.us – online mind-mapping tool allows groups to collaborate on planning and brainstorming ideas around a particular topic. Teachers and students can use it to keep in touch and collaborate on new projects inside and outside the classroom.
  2. Brainify – Aimed more at slightly older students, Brainify is a social-bookmarking site specifically designed for students and teachers. Use it to create dedicated lists of educational websites and share them with students – or to allow students to show you the sites they’ve been using. Great for creating different lists of resources to share quickly and simply with students working on different topics.
  3. Edmodo – This safe and simple platform designed specifically for student-teacher communication allows assignments to be set, grades to be tracked and homework to be submitted all online from anywhere. School notices can be communicated via the site too, making it the perfect tool for weekend or holiday student-teacher communication.
  4. Quizlet – A free learning tool, this site allows teachers to create online quizzes and flashcards on a range of content, which students can then use to help them study outside the classroom. Many of the pre-existing quizzes might also be useful for time-strapped teachers.
  5. QuizSnack – This tool is a quick, simple way to create polls and surveys and embed them in online blogs or articles. It’s a great way for students to communicate with teachers about feedback, preferred topics and other issues.
  6. Screen Chomp – This iPad app enables teachers to create learning content, combining audio and whiteboard-style visuals to create videos, which they can then upload for students to watch online. A great way for teachers and students to communicate and learn even outside the classroom.
  7. TodaysMeet – could be used in meetings, and could easily be used in the classroom as well. With this tool you create a room that can be accessed for a certain amount of time you set for it. This allows the audience to interact without interrupting by asking questions or interjecting additional ideas. The presenter could address at a later time or as soon as it is seen or needs to be answered. Free tool.

Video Conferencing

Occasionally, an instructor needs to communicate and teach a lesson online. Here are a few free downloadable and web-based video conferencing tools for holding multi-party video calls.

  1. Anymeeting – completely free ad supported, full-featured web conferencing service. Allows for 200 attendees on the free option.
  2. BigMaker  – BigMarker gives you all the tools to plan, conduct, record, store, and share your community’s web conferences. It also provides a hub to connect between conferences, access recorded past conferences, and promote future ones. The free plan allows you can host public conferences, manage conferences, recordings, and members in a public community. Provides Seamless YouTube Integration.
  3. eMeet.me – is a free, web based, online meeting service where you can video conference, screen share, and chat. People can dial in by phone, or use their computer camera and microphone. It even records your meetings for later playback! Watch a short introduction video here.
  4. Meetings.io – Web-based – Free persistent video conferencing rooms for up to 5 people. You can: (i) share your screen with your peers, (ii)show anything on your computer, (iii) give interactive presentations, or (iv) run product demonstrations.
  5. ooVoo – Free video conferencing for up to 12 people. (available for Mac + PC + Android). You can connect with anyone, anytime, with video calls, video messages, phone calls, instant messaging and more. Use ooVoo to get face time with people you can’t meet in person (and save travel time and money!).
  6. Skype – is a proprietary voice-over-Internet Protocol service and software application originally created in 2003 by Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennström and his Danish partner Janus Friis. It has been owned by Microsoft since 2011. The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones are charged via a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including file transfer, and videoconferencing.
  7. Sifonr – Web-based – Free public and private video conferencing rooms.
  8. VSee – Free video conferencing for as many people as your CPU can hold (on average between 6-7 people). For Mac & PC. Allows for one free screen share per day. More features may require a fee.

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