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Easy (and Free) Tech Ideas for Home School or Distance Learning Classrooms

integrating technology easily and free for your remote and distance learning classroom
I have always enjoyed infusing technology into my upper elementary and middle school science classrooms to spark engagement and motivation among my learners. Finding a balanced approach to hands-on learning while infusing digital components was something that I felt kept kids engaged and pushed boredom away.
       Fast forward to March 2020 and now this is a necessity to be able to teach in my classroom. Remote or distance learning overnight became something that was needed in order to continue teaching students and a way to continue earning a paycheck during a time when all non-essential employees are told to stay home. Despite loving technology, it is still a lot to take in. Below, I shared some of my favorite tech tools and what I use them for to help you make better decisions in your classroom.
Zoom: Zoom is a FREE online video conference call program. It’s super easy to use. Check out this handy walk-through document. I am using this to have face to face communication with my students. I set up a weekly video call with the students to join. Only those with the link can join, so it is safe. If students cannot join, the meeting is recorded (parents and students are aware of this) so that other students can view it later.
 
       As I get more comfortable, I can use it to teach as it has a screen share feature and a whiteboard feature, both of which will make teaching much easier.

Flipgrid

 
I love to use this as an option to have students summarize or explain rather than having to write a response. Learn more about what it is here. Again, it is a free feature. It is also a safe
Using flipgrid as a tool to communicate and assess grade 4 5 6 students in the home school or remote distance learning classroom.

because only those with the code or link can join in. I love using this in the classroom because it allows students to show what they know in a creative way. Students do not have to simply respond in writing. They can create a face to face video or get creative. Students that don’t like to have “facetime” can hold up an illustration, their notes, a diagram, etc and then respond. There are so many ways to get creative to help students. Read more about them here.

 
 

Kami

 
Kami is another FREE program that lets users annotate and write
Kami is a PDF writer that can be used on worksheets in the home school and digital remote distance classroom.

on PDFs. This is a great tool to use if you haven’t gone digital yet. If you have PDF worksheets or assessments that you want to send the students, but you are unsure of how they will complete it and submit it back, Kami is something you should look into. You can read more about its features here.

 
 

Brainpop

 
Brainpop always has SOME free features but for the time being, they are opening their site up to everyone. I love Brainpop for many reasons. I use it to introduce or summarize a topic. I like using this site because it contains short, easy to digest videos that do a great job of appealing to students to teach the concept. You can read more about how I use Brainpop in my classroom here.
Edpuzzle: I love this site to also use to introduce or review a concept. Edpuzzle takes videos and allows you to embed questions within them so that you can assess student comprehension. There are premade videos that you can use or you can make your own. Again, this is a free program. You can also access my free states of matter Edpuzzle by clicking here.
 
Quizizz: Want to assign a fun review? I call this the quieter, easier to use sister of Kahoot. Take homework up a notch by using Quizizz. Quizizz has a homework feature that allows you to assign it through your Learning Management System. I prefer to use this for a variety of reasons, most notably because time is not a factor. Many of my students have an IEP that allows for extra time. Quizizz does not put these students at a disadvantage. Practice by using my Quizizz on the skeletal and muscular human body system by clicking here.
I hope these tech features will help you in your remote distance learning classroom if you have additional questions, feel free to comment below! 
 

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