Back to School Resources for Distance Education

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Due to the current pandemic this year's back to school is unique. Most of you will be conducting their classes either remotely or using a hybrid mode of instruction that combines both online and in-person teaching. With that being the case, teachers and educators will definitely need to have access to  the appropriate EdTech resources to help them optimize their blended teaching experience.This section in our blog features some helpful EdTech content in this regard.

In today's post we are sharing with you this collection of resources curated specifically to help make your back to school event a successful one. We have organized these resources into the following categories: tools to host your online class, tools that support collaborative teamwork, curriculum resources, digital textbook providers, and video conferencing tools.

1- Tools to help you host your classroom online 
Two of our favourite free platforms to host your online classes are:

   A- Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a virtual platform that you can use to:
  • "Create and manage classes, assignments, and grades online without paper.
  • Add materials to your assignments, such as YouTube videos, a Google Forms survey, and other items from Google Drive.
  • Give direct, real-time feedback.
  • Use the class stream to post announcements and engage students in question-driven discussions.
  • Push content to students’ screens.
  • Invite parents and guardians to sign up for email summaries with a student's upcoming or missing work."
   B- Google Sites
Another great  platform where you can host your classroom website. You can choose from numerous pre-made templates, customize the layout of your site  the way you want and with one click generate a unique URL of your new website.Once created you can use your new class site for a variety of educational purposes. You can for instance use it to create a space for discussion, share assignments and learning materials, push out important announcements, connect with the school community and parents, design portfolios, track students learning progress and many more.

2- Collaborative teamwork tools
Below are some of the websites that can help you work and collaborate with your team remotely:

   A- Asana
This is a work management platform that allows you to work and collaborate with your team wherever they are. Some of its features include: "set priorities and deadlines and share details and assign tasks all in one place; follow projects and tasks through every stage; create visual project plans to see how every step maps out over time; use the power of automation to simplify workflows, reduce errors, and save time for solving more important problems..."

   C- Jamboard
Jamboard is ‘a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas in real-time and create without boundaries comes with a bunch of interesting features that can make team work way more productive. Realtime collaboration allows users to work with each other wherever they are. They can also access each other’s Jamboards and remotely use the smartphone or tablet companion app. Jamboard integrates G Suite services so that collaborators can easily pull in content from the web or Drive apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides, Photos and add it straight to their ‘jams’.

3- Curriculum resources
Below are websites to help you find curricular materials to use in your instruction

   A- Khan Academy
Academy is "a worldwide knowledge platform, community, and marketplace for educators and publishers." Kahoot! Academy provides teachers and educators worldwide with a virtual space where they can collaborate, share educational materials, and create a global knowledge resource.

   B- Smithsonian Education
Smithsonian Education offers tons of educational materials and resources that kids can use to learn about different topics including science, history, art, nature and many more.

   C- BrainPOP
BrainPOP offers engaging educational content in the form of animated videos covering a wide vareity of content areas including Math, social studies, science, engineering, health, arts, music and many more

4- Digital textbooks
These are platforms where you can access digital textbooks

   A- OER Commons
Open Education Resources (OER) Commons is a platform that provides open access to a wide variety of open educational resources that are either in the public domain or are licensed under Creative Commons.  These resources include things such as :"full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge."

   B- Open Textbook Library
‘The Open Textbook Library provides a growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks. Explore the library's books to see if an open textbook fits your course's, and students', needs.’

   C- TextbookGo
‘ is your number one source for free e-textbooks. We bring you free digital textbooks from all sources and for all courses! We offer free e-textbooks for many subject categories and for all tablet and digital textbook viewing devices.’

5- Video conferencing tools
Here are 4 of our favourite tools for holding your online classes:

Video conferencing tools for teachers