Highlights from ISTE: Free Online Resources for Educators!

Highlights from ISTE: Free Online Resources for Educators!

In June, I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia for the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Never heard of ISTE? It is a nonprofit membership organization of over 100,000 educators from all over the world who are committed to using technology to improve learning.

At the ISTE conference, I discovered dozens of new educational technology tools, resources, and instructional ideas. It’s too much for one article, but I will list three of my favorites here.

  1. Remind.com: Remind is a system for sending text message announcements to a group of students (or other people in your program, like volunteers). A key feature is that Remind keeps everyone’s cell phone numbers private. Students won’t have your phone # or each other’s. You send one message and reach every person who is subscribed to your group. This tool is perfect for the teacher or coordinator who needs to get information to many people quickly. Want to remind your students to return to class after break? Tell everyone about a snow day? Prompt your distance learners to login? Remind is the tool for you! It’s also available as a smartphone and iPad app. Plus, it’s totally free!
  2. Woot Math: Woot! Learning fractions has never been so much fun. Yes, this is an entire app / website dedicated just to mastering fractions. Woot uses hands-on, interactive instruction to make sure that students really understand the concepts being taught. The first lessons are free, and complete access costs $9/year per student.
  3. The CK-12 Foundation: CK-12 is a non-profit organization creating free and open, flexible textbooks and online learning resources for science and math. Do you need a math or science textbook? You can download one of dozens of standards-aligned texts from CK-12 as an e-book or PDF. CK-12 has an online learning platform as well, where teachers can create groups and assign learning modules to students. Totally free (and free of advertising, as well).

This is just a sampling of the resources I learned about at the ISTE conference. I will be sharing more in the months to come. If you have an interest in technology and education, and want to learn about other great resources like these, I recommend a visit to ISTE.org. It’s a great place to learn and connect with like-minded educators.

Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt, Educational Technology Manager Minnesota Literacy Council