In response to school closures, we've updated this page to provide clear guidance regarding free tools—recommended and used by adult educators—you can start using right now to keep learning going.
- New to distance learning? Check out this great guide from the EdTech Center @ World Education that walks through up-front considerations, provided on their Distance Learning Resource Site.
- Ready to formulate a plan? Check out our new implementation plan template to help you think through considerations for selecting the most effective tools for you/your learners.
Communication is key to learner persistence and support, especially if learners are being asked to engage with new procedures and technologies. The following tools allow you to set up clear communication channels with your learners.
Video Calls / Meeting Tools
What? "I want to be able to communicate with learners via video, either one-on-one or in groups."
Why? Video conference tools help you check in, teach synchronously, and show students "how to" through presentations and screen sharing.
How? This video provides an overview of how to get set up with a number of the tools shown here.
What? "I want to be able to message my students individually and in group threads."
Why? Students are familiar with texting and messaging tools. Using tools that support group messaging threads allows you to push out notifications, assignments, and information in ways your students are more likely to access.
How? Consider what type of information you need to share. If you plan to use course and learning platforms, these may also include tools that allow messaging and discussion threads.
Quality content is really important! There are myriad great, high-quality, free content sites available. Whether you want to provide self-guided learning options or custom-create your own lessons, these resources provide engaging learning for all.
Subject-Area Course Platforms
What? I want to be able to point my learners to resources they can go to at any time to learn on their own.
Why? These platforms provide consistent curriculum, allow for teachers to assign content to one or multiple students, and offer class- and student-level reporting.
How? Create learner accounts and organize into classes. Help learners identify appropriate levels and topics for self-study, or directly assign lessons.
Supplemental Learning Content
What? I want to find engaging activities, simulations, videos, and media-rich content to enhance lessons.
Why? There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. Lots of great sites exist with high-interest, interactive content you can use to augment your curriculum and increase options for learners.
How? Find great resources and copy-paste links into lessons or other assignment tools, organize in meaningful ways for learners, or allow learners to self-explore.
Quiz / Assessment Tools
What? I want to provide formative assessments to track student understanding.
Why? Particularly in self-guided learning, formative assessments help learners check their understanding. Use game-style quizzes during synchronous lessons to engage learners while monitoring understanding.
How? Create your own, or search for quizzes others have created and shared on a number of these tools.
Management, Assignment, & Sharing Tools
Content is great, but effectively sharing it so learners can easily access it and know what to do with it is equally important.
Learning Management Systems
What? I want one place where I can create assignments, communicate with students, and track learner work.
Why? LMS tools provide a "home base" where learners can go to see all assignments, communicate with their instructor, and see instructor announcements and notifications.
How? Decide first if you intend to create structured, traditional "courses," or if you want a hub that is fluid and more assignment-based.
Content Sharing Tools
What? I want to create a place where regularly used sites are organized for learners.
Why? Providing students a consistent place where all tools are organized makes it easier for learners to work independently.
How? Consider what tool will be easiest for you to regularly maintain and update content.
These resources provide comprehensive lists and information about a wide range of tech tools for education.
Top Tools for Learning 2019—https://www.toptools4learning.com/
Annual compilation of top 200 tools for personal and professional learning, workplace learning, and education, compiled by way of an open survey. All resources are organized into the following categories: instructional tools, content development tools, social tools, personal & professional tools, and content.
The EdSurge Product Index | EdSurge—https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews
Comprehensive, well-organized and community-driven list of tech products organized by resource type.
Tech Tools Repository | Workforce EdTech—https://workforceedtech.org/tools/
From the EdTech Center@ World Education, a growing library of educational technology tools and resources aimed at supporting workforce and adult education organizations looking to leverage technology to improve learning and training, organizational management, and service delivery.
EdTech Reviews | Common Sense Media—https://www.commonsense.org/education/
Comprehensive source of product reviews that include user reviews, top pick lists, and even 30-second videos that provide quick overviews of "everything you need to know" for a number of tools.
Holon-IQ | Global Learning Landscape—https://globallearninglandscape.org/
Open source taxonomy that provides crowdsourced capability for cataloging and organizing resources based on user-types and purpose.
MOVEUP Tech Tools Repository—http://moveup-techtools.weebly.com/
Compilation of tech tools organized into the following categories: Career Planning & Exploration, Knowledge Acquisition/Learning, Learner Coaching & Support, Program Management, and Social Networking.