Top Tools for Online Teachers and Homeschooling Students
Here is a collection of leading educational resources.
You may want to bookmark this page as there is a lot covered here.
Let’s jump right in!
If I had to pick just one tool for teachers, it would be Khan Academy.
It was started in 2008 by Salman Khan — an MIT math wizard — who began creating short videos to tutor one of his cousins in mathematics.
He put a few videos up on YouTube and they became so popular that his lessons grew into a truly great educational platform with a great mission — to make a high quality education accessible to all people anywhere in the world for free.
I first encountered Khan Academy on YouTube.
Khan Academy now offers classes in several subjects and has what I have found to be the best online math training around. Classes cover curriculum for all grade levels on through to university level studies including things like GMAT prep.
Take a look at the great Khan Academy Math Lessons here — I recommend you check it out even if math isn’t your subject.
Their platform has complete classes with explanatory videos followed by practice modules with supplemental reference materials and periodic testing.
Progress is easily monitored whether it’s for your own studies or for any number of students.
Open Culture is a really beautiful free educational resource.
It is an impressive collection of free resources in the form of a powering educational guide.
Materials cover K-12 and through to postgraduate studies with links to free courses, ebooks, MOOC’s, textbooks, and movies.
One of my favourite Open Culture features is the “Great Lectures” collection in which people like Richard Feynman, Joseph Campbell, and Margaret Atwood — to name just a few — give their lectures on video.
If you want a curiously well curated catalogue of exemplar educational tools — for free — this is a wonderful site.
Udemy is an educational marketplace with a wide array of courses available (full disclosure: I have sold courses and am an affiliate with this platform). I’m also enrolled in several classes myself.
Here you can find student rated courses by some wonderful teachers and experts in their field.
There is usually a sale a couple times per month with courses selling for around $14 — no matter what their regular price is. So, best to add a course to your wish list and then purchase it during a sale.
If you’re looking for courses on computer programming and development, this place is probably the best bet.
Udemy started with a focus on computer skills, but has grown far beyond that now.
I have found the writing courses of Shani Raja — including Writing With Flair — to be especially good.
Students can be enrolled in music and arts courses, and homeschoolers may find this an excellent way to maintain a regular and steady study and practice schedule as classes are usually in small but progressive parts.
If you are so inclined, you can also create and sell your own courses on Udemy. Check out our article: How to Create and Sell Your Own Online Courses.
Duolingo is a language learning app and website that teaches a variety of languages with short, high-quality lessons.
If you’re looking to learn a new language or to have your children or students study one, this is a strong and popular option.
It’s designed with game-like elements paired with serious language training to keep students engaged and learning.
It uses a number of teaching methods including its impressive speech recognition software to test pronunciation.
This app makes it easy to mark progress and offers periodic tests to measure accumulating language skills.
I started with the free option, which I used for months before opting in for a subscription (their yearly is around $107 at the time of writing).
I also used the free version of the next educational tool on our list…
Another great tool with both free and paid options is Memrise.
While they are focusing on Language Learning, they offer tutorials in a wide number of subjects.
They started with a principle of creating tutorials that made it as easy to memorize new material as their instructors found possible.
Memrise can be used on a desktop (where you set-up your profile and course selection) and on their app.
Memrise allows teachers to create programs as well by simply uploading questions and answers which it turns into a series of interactive tutorials.
I have used this to learn several subjects: Poetry, Logical Fallacies, Geography, and even Bird-Calls. I really love it. And, yes, I have also used it to supplement my French language learning.
The French course offers some amazing features. In particular the “Learning New Terms” sections use high-quality video clips of native speakers speaking to you with a few of the different accents and the vernacular that one can expect to hear. I was really impressed when I saw this — it elevated the learning experience significantly.
I have been using only the free version. If you want access to the full courses (all-access Memrise) the fee is around $50 at the time of writing.
If you want to take this type of “human interaction” to an ever higher level, you may want to check out Fluenz. They are more expensive, but this is their specialty.
Ted-Ed is an excellent educational platform developed by Ted-Ex. While the parent platform’s mission is “Ideas worth sharing,” Ted-Ed’s motto is “Lessons worth sharing.”
This is a collection of high quality educational videos with options for the wee little ones right through to you and me.
They also offer up platform space for teachers who want to create their own lessons and provide tracking tools to follow up on student progress.
They have lessons on a wide variety of subjects.
My favourite Ted-Ed video lesson so far is Power to the People.
They have high quality teachers who can address challenging subjects with intelligence and insight.
I do look forward to their having a wider, more global perspective, hopefully as their contributors expand.
Fun Brain is an educational platform with videos, readings, and interactive online games in math, grammar, science, spelling, history for Pre-K through to Grade 8.
This site, as far as I’ve seen, is free.
I’ve found it to be quite educational as an adult and fun to explore. It can also be a fun learning adventure for parents and their kids.
Fun Brain celebrates the idea that learning can be fun, and they do it well!
This is also the birthplace of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
If you want a child (or the child in you) to explore topics in a fun and often interactive way…
Another Pre-K through Grade 8 resource is Scholastic which offers curriculum and activities in purchasable print-outs as well as online activities.
Sometimes it’s just nice for a kid to own a notebook. Sometimes you may want options for your child that don’t include a screen. Scholastic has this covered.
You select the grade and the subject (from a full school curriculum) and pages and pages of options are available.
My preferred section of this platform is Scholastic Teachers.
Here they have sections that include Lessons and Ideas like:
They also have educational videos with interactive whiteboard activities, a teacher’s store, a book club (where they offer deals like 50 books for 50 bucks), and other resources.
They offer several free materials with more comprehensive “guided lessons” coming with a fee.
When I, after years of being out of university, wanted to amp up my resume and my knowledge, I turned to Coursera.
This is an educational platform with university level courses offered by some of the leading universities in the world. They cover a wide range of subjects and you can study on your schedule and at your own pace!
They have a nice quality app as well.
You can test and get a final grade issued by the school. They have small certificates you can post to Linkedin if you are so inclined.
It can also be a great way to improve your applications to grad school — if that’s where you’re at.
You can even get a bachelor’s or master’s degree from through Coursera in a handful of subjects including an MBA.
You can audit courses for free without a grade or certificate or you can pay for all the testing and credentials. Costs start around $70 per course with master track programs costing in the thousands (still far less than a traditional uni setting).
I recommend you check out a course I loved — its one of the most popular and highly rated courses online:
I think this course should be a part of every school curriculum.
There are great courses here and I also think it’s a great way to give adults and kids a jumpstart on college and university study.
When massive open online courses first began to appear online, MIT was one of the leaders. MIT and Harvard partnered up and Berkeley joined in to form edX.
They offer university-level courses — over 2500 courses from 140 institutions.
Some courses are free — MIT famously put their entire electrical engineering program online so anyone could access the learning materials — and some cost.
Some really amazing courses are offered here — Harvard has a course on contract law that is amazing.
This platform also offers bachelor and master’s degree programs including Purdue’s #6 rated civil engineering program fully online.
But, they also offer “micro” programs including a micro-bachelor’s and micro-master’s like a micro-masters in UX Design and Evaluation from HEC Montreal.
Top Tools for Online Teachers and Homeschooling Students Summary
There are a wide array of high quality educational resources now available.
The ones listed here can help you overcome and even thrive in the educational challenges of teaching and learning online.
These tools, put to good use, can elevate the learning experience of every teacher and every student.
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Stay well and thanks for being a life-long learner!