Teaching with Digital Learning Tools


With today’s technology, it has become possible to achieve teaching and learning from the comfort of our homes. While the value of in-classroom engagement may always hold special importance for the learning environment, teachers and students can use the technological tools available to further learning (and in some cases, replace in-class material). The use of technology can facilitate learning for those who are ill and prevent the student from feeling obliged to attend every class and spread germs for the sake of learning. Learning can occur without putting a student’s comfort and safety into jeopardy. There are several resources that allow this to occur.


Throughout the internet, we can find online classrooms, lecture-recording tools, video chatting resources, chatting resources, grading programs, practice tests, and more to facilitate online learning in ways that were never imagined before! A lot of the resource are actually offering free services to help teachers/students transition into an online-classroom. With the current pandemic breakout, technology will be the driving force behind ensuring that students do not fall behind on important course material.

Lesson Plans 

  1. How to Temporarily Teach Online This article informs teachers about the basics of an abrupt transition into online teaching. It outlines the basic needs of students and instructors and how to meet those specific needs online. It outlines synchronous and asynchronous teaching and which may be more useful for the online classroom. It suggests ideas like online office hours to help best replicate individual access to students for questions/concerns. It considers various ways of collaboration, flexibility, and even access to additional resources.
  2. Supplemental Materials By Grade PBS Learning is one of the many free available resources that teacher can use for their online curriculum. It is divided up into grades/subjects and provides games, lesson plans, and various. Additionally, it has its own Google Classroom to allow teachers to easily share any necessary documents/resources with their students.
  3. Khan Academy Khan Academy is a well-known resource students use as an additional study tool outside of classroom time. They’ve implemented an online-only specific informational portion to their site that includes guides for parents and teachers that wish to use the resources they have to offer. They offer exercises, quizzes, tests, and various lessons in 40 languages! Teachers have the option to assign students an entire course and track each student’s progress.
  4. Microsoft Microsoft offers tools to facilitate remote learning through their programs as well. They provide an online classroom for teachers and students to focus on learning. It allows for virtual face-to-face communications that can be made available on tablets, PCs, various browsers and even mobiles! Their programs offer online lectures and meetings that mimic the normal in-class environments.
  5. Smart Learning Suite Smart Learning is yet another online program offering free online-based learning tools. It allows the integration of live lessons and real-time lesson activities to provide a true virtual collaboration between teachers and students. By filling out a simple form with your name, job title, role, email, and country you can begin your complimentary access!
  6. New York Times Learning Network Prompts: The New York Times is offering free writing prompts based on news stories and current events. Their Learning Network also offers other online-based lessons. 
  7. TedEd@Home: video lessons updated on a daily basis

Resources for teaching about the coronavirus

  1. Resources for teaching about the coronavirus from Serendip Studio. This site has links to several lesson plans about the virus. 
  2. Brain Pop: Link to a video about the coronavirus with corresponding quizzes, worksheets, games, and more. 
  3. Manoharan Lab: Video and article about Harvard scientists who are working to better understand how viruses work. 

U4SC Resources

  1. Historians 4 Social Change: This United 4 Social Change project offers lesson plans for helping students think critically about a wide variety of events and periods through writing from the perspective of someone living in a historical time. This project can be completed from home and finished products can be published on our site. 
  2. Readers 4 Social Change: Another United 4 Social Change project that contains prompts for writing assignments that encourage students to place themselves inside a piece of literature. These assignments can easily be completed from home with most of the books also accessible online. There is also the opportunity to be published on our site. 
  3. Current Event Op-ed activity: Similar to the above two assignments, this project allows students to write editorial-style pieces on issues that matter to them and get published on our website. 
  4. Academy 4 Social Change: Videos that explain complex psychology, philosophy, logic, and economic topics and how they apply to our daily lives. Meant for students to comprehend independently, but each video also comes with a lesson plan and worksheet for teachers. 
  5. Students 4 Social Change: Online writing course and internship for high school and college students to improve their critical thinking and writing skills and apply them to issues that matter to them. Share this with students and parents looking for a unique way for young people to build their resumes while working remotely. 

Learning Platforms: Many of these are either free or offering free services for a limited time in response to school closures

  1. Seesaw: Online learning platform with resources for students, teachers, and parents 
  2. Storypark: Record and communicate learning as it happens via photos, video, audio and observations within a secure online environment. Receive instant feedback and plan new ways to extend children’s unique interests and abilities.
  3. Class Dojo: Free communication platform for teachers, students, and parents
  4. GoNoodle: GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!
  5. Freckle: Freckle empowers teachers to differentiate instruction across Math, ELA, Social Studies and Science.
  6. Lalilo: Online phonics program for distance learning 
  7. MobyMax: Curriculum, assessments, and motivation tools. Offering free licenses for rest of 19-20 school year. 
  8. Padlet: Make beautiful boards, documents, and webpages that are easy to read and fun to contribute to.
  9. Boom Learning: Self-grading gamified learning for students
  10. Edulastic: Technology-enhanced assessments and more distance learning features being added in response to school closures. 
  11. Edpuzzle: This platform allows you to create videos or use existing ones and track student progress and comprehension. 
  12. Listenwise: Podcast lessons and listening comprehension activities for multiple subjects. Free access to Premium platform in response to school closures. 
  13. Achieve3000: Remote learning that is customized for different state standards. 
  14. Thinker Analytix: Argument mapping that helps students build their critical skills 

Complied Resources of Free Tools: These are lists of growing resources, being updated frequently, for use in distance learning.

  1. International Educator Shared Resources for Virtual Learning: This google doc is a collection of links to numerous other resources for educators in all countries dealing with emergency school closures, broken up by grade level. 
  2. Distance Learning Resource Document: This is a compilation of companies, helpful articles, and blogs. It is also being updated constantly as more resources become available. 
  3. Amazing Educational Resources: This is a constantly-updated site borne out of a spreadsheet compiled by other teachers. While a bit hard to navigate, this alphabetical list contains hundreds of companies with free educational programming.
  4. Virtual School Lesson Plan Database from Harvard Graduate School of Education. 


  1. Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically: This New York Times article is being updated as the situation evolves but nonetheless offers a collection of news stories, lessons, and a list of other online learning tools appropriate for middle through college students.
  2. Montana University Shifts to Online Classes Montana University, along with several other universities and schools, has begun to implement an online class/remote teaching models for their students. All forms of in-class instruction will be shifting to online or other modalities that do not require physical in-class presence. One important factor to note is that dining services, residence halls, and computer labs are remaining open for students who may still need access to them.
  3. UK Universities Cancel Exams Universities in the UK are going as far as completely cancelling exams and focusing on transitioning towards online classrooms due to the rising threat of the Coronavirus. They will no longer be holding conventional forms of examination and will rather incorporate alternative assessments. The article expresses concerns of completely shutting down universities where a large portion of students rely on them for housing and food.

Informational Sites

  1. Students Are Lonely- Online Classrooms  This article discusses the impact online classrooms will have on students such as time differences, issues with feedback and testing, and student loneliness. Teachers will have to be responsible for conducting lessons during normal class time and well as ensuring students in a drastically different time zone have access to these resources later on. There will also be inevitable issues with feedback
  2. Going Online in a Hurry  This article provides more general information on how to get an online classroom started in a short amount of time. It includes links to important sources compiled by various people such as distinctions between different types of online learning, how to use Zoom, step-by-step instructions on fast transitions to an online classroom, and general advice on maintaining a stable classroom environment.


While the transition into an online classroom can be frightening at first, teachers and students have the resource to make it possible and almost as effective as a traditional classroom setting. Familiar programs like Google Classroom and Khan Academy are readily available as well as new, less popular programs that teachers can test out. Whatever the obstacles may be, learning will not stop! Giving the rising threat of COVID 19, a large portion of these programs have made their resources readily available for free.

Additional Resources

1. Teaching Art, Music, and PE Online This article discusses teaching hands-on subjects such as art, music, and PE. For a lot of teachers, this is their first time teaching online which calls for creativity, but also mass confusion! Some music classes have assigned individual students song lyrics to sing, record, and upload onto an online education platform. PE classes have introduced various professional training videos for students to watch and imitate. The point is generic subjects like math and science are already hard, so hands-on subjects are going to require ample amounts of effort and creativity to mimic real-life classroom settings but it is doable!

2. Also see our page on Using Online Platforms for Students with Special Needs