k-bus-color.gif Tools for School

The WWW is loaded with wonderful free digital tools; however, some are suited better for the school environment and for specific age groups. Always help protect your students' digital footprints and keep cyber safety in mind when selecting a tool that is right for your classroom. You are the expert on content and your students' development stage. When using digital tools in the classroom, take the opportunity to include discussions about cyber citizenship as it is applicable at that teachable moment.

COPPA Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
What tools are right for your students? As a rule of thumb, avoid sites and tools that collect information about your students. Look at the user agreement for the tool, which highlights how they collect information and specific age requirements for the site. Sites that collect information require users to be at least age 13.

Add Your Own Favorite Tools!
What digital tools do you like to use in the classroom? Feel free to add yours to any of the pages below and put your name in parentheses so we know who to go to for help. Hopefully our collection of annotated tools and links will grow over time. There is always something new out there to discover! If your tool doesn't fit in a specific category, add it to the "Uber Tools You Gotta Try..." section.

Slide Show Tools

Tired of using Powerpoint? Good! Now you can use some interactive slide tools, animate, add music, share, and embed!

Audio Players & Voice Recorders

Upload or embed a podcast using these free sound players.

Shout Boxes

Post an interactive dialogue box or asynchronous chat (shout) bar on your page

Picture Generators

Use picture generators to edit or alter one of your own images, or one that is available to you through "creative commons"


Son of a Citation Machine
This is an online tools that helps create an MLA citation. The user enters key information (spelled correctly or the citation will have errors!) and the citation machines churns out a properly formatted citation. The accuracy all depends on the user inputting the correct information.

Oregon School Library Information System gives students in Oregon access to a rich selection of periodical databases and research tools

Free Clipart & Photos

Discovery School Free Clipart Gallery
This is a gallery of free and copyright free clipart that educators are invited to use.

Flickr, Creative Commons Photos
Many photo sharing sites like FLICKR have an area that is searchable by Creative Commons. Creative Commons (CC) refers to intellectual property that has only "some rights reserved." Basically, the owners of the images, sounds files, text, and movies invite you to borrow and repurpose their intellectual property as long as you give credit and link back to them.

To make sure you are searching for CC images on Flickr, go to the advanced search menu and scroll down for the Creative Commons check box. Check off the box. Then enter your search at the top of the page.

Social Networking for K-8

This is a free social networking tool that imitates the look and feel of a Facebook experience, without the added distraction of the Facebook environment. Students do NOT need to be 13 to use this space, as it does not collect any information upon sign up. Students use a code to enter the space, based on the teacher's class sign up, rather then entering their own information. The interface is simple, clean, and safe.
Check it out:

Uber Tools You Gotta Try...

This free online tool allows users to create their own list of vocabulary and definitions. The tool creates flashcards and study games based on the unique word list. Consider making a class set of flashcards that students can access. Students must be 13 to sign up for their own Quizlet account, but anyone can take a look at other sets of flashcards made by individuals in the ethersphere or by you. It's pretty cool!

Create diagrams, visual maps, and flowcharts for free. This is a visual mapping tool. If you do not have Kidspiration or Inspiration at home, this is a nice alternative and user-friendly.

Think my favorite funny face photo...what if it could also talk...what if I could embed it in my blog or wiki? This is Blabberize. Make yourself a blabber. It's addictive!

Mixed media, emotions, and ideas--this is a virtual poster tool. Glogster now offers free teacher accounts that gives you limited access, but also free 50 students accounts. Check it out!

When you have your own "pageflake," you can add individualized boxes of information, like sticky notes, calendars, weather, videos, and loads of other "widgets." This tool is fun to use as a resource page for a new unit.

Jing is a free tool that allows you to take screen captures and screencasts with voice narration. If you want your students to be able to review where to click for a new tool they are using, this is a great way to do it. It's also fun to take snapshots on a web page and save it for later.

Zamzar-- A free online tool that allows you to download and convert YouTube videos, so that you can bring the content into the classroom, even if your school blocks YouTube in general.

Video chat with your friends around the world and for free! Invite an expert into your classroom virtually, collaborate with another class, etc.

Delicious is a free social bookmarking tool. It allows you to keep you bookmarks online, annotate them, tag them (categorize them), and share them with others. You can send share a link of all bookmarks around the same tag or topic. This is a terrific way to share a list of links with your students on any topic of study.

TeacherTube is similar to YouTube, but it reviews the videos for educational quality and content. Educators work together on this space to keep the content clean and educational.

Museum Box
"This site provides the tools for you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. What items, for example, would you put in a box to describe your life; the life of a Victorian Servant or Roman soldier; or to show that slavery was wrong and unnecessary? You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view and comment on the museum boxes submitted by others." (Contributed by Susan Ramirez)

Sites We Like:

Here is a list of sites that are great for educational purposes...

Adam Bellow, Director of educational technology for College Board Schools in New York has a wonderful web site chocked full of resources for K-12 teachers, grouped by subject matter and grade level. You do not have to sign up to enjoy the resources on this site. This is a gem of a resource!

"generationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. As the youth division of Points of Light Institute, generationOn has brought the nation's leading youth service organizations and programs under one umbrella including New York-based Children for Children, The League, Learning to Give, Points of Light Institute's Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools, and HandsOn Network's youth-driven programs. By partnering with teachers, parents, schools, community organizations and businesses, generationOn gives kids the opportunity to see firsthand the issues in their communities and the tools and resources they need to respond and become part of the solution."

Student Made Math Movies
Students make their own movies about math concepts. Just think how well you must understand a concept to then turn around and put it into your own film!