Online Learning Tool Guide for Students New to Distance Learning


Before 2020, remote learning was not part of our daily vocabulary. While many schools embraced technology in the classroom, few had taken the next steps to prepare for providing tools for kids to learn at home. Until this year, there wasn’t much need outside of the occasional snow day.

Then COVID-19 hit the United States. Students were abruptly sent home in the spring in the interest of health and safety.

Teachers and school districts had little time to prepare and were left scrambling. Education comes in the form of an online learning tool or tools.

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, many students remain home. As you support your child through remote learning, whether hybrid or 100% remote, let’s look at some of the best tools available for education.

Online Learning Tool

Online Learning Tool Guide

We have learned to wear masks, we have learned to clean our homes, and kids are learning to go to school online. Parents found themselves juggling remote learners amidst working from home or looking for work after COVID caused the loss of a job.

For many kids, this was a difficult transition, but as schools remain closed, the need for the right tools has grown. Many schools provide instruction, but other resources have fallen to parents to provide.

You may have the best laptop for online school, such as a Lenovo, but are you aware of the best online tools? We have divided the tools into different categories, depending on what your child needs.

Tools for General Learning

ABCya!: Offering games for pre-K through Grade 6, ABCya! makes learning fun while meeting common core standards.

Albert: Support students with practice content, assessments, and quality content. For middle and high school students. It also offers AP and college entrance materials.

BrainPOP: Playful and rich in content, BrainPOP has everything from science to social-emotional learning. BrainPOP is for grades 4 and up, but BrainPOP Jr. is for grades K-3.

Khan Academy: A nonprofit with a mission to make learning accessible, Khan Academy offers courses for students (and adults!) to learn at their own pace.

PBS Learning Media: PBS Learning Media has videos and other interactive content on a wide variety of subjects. Content for Pre-K to high school.

Outschool: Your kids may need additional live instruction outside of remote learning. Outschool offers interactive classes with teachers and a small group of students. Content ranges widely from fun topics like Minecraft to studies of U.S. History.

Quizlet: Lots of kids learn better with flashcards, and this free tool offers just that. Create your own flashcards or browse through millions of flashcard decks created by other students.

Tools for Presentations

Apple Keynote: Students can collaborate and create memorable presentations. They can use features like diagrams, illustrations, and more.

Flipgrid: This simple and free tool allows students to create discussion topics and then record videos to share with others.

Google Slides: Free to use, students can choose from a wide variety of templates, embed video, add animations, and more. Real-time edits and comments make it easy to collaborate.

Parlay: A discussion-based learning tool, Parlay allows students to build community and have rich discussions, even when learning is asynchronous.

Tools for Organization

Google Calendar: Help students remember class meetings or assignments using Google Calendar. Many online resources that have scheduled events will sync to Google Calendar, making it easy to use.

Hott Notes: Want a digital version of sticky notes? Hott Notes offers sticky notes and reminders for your desktop.

Remember the Milk: This online to-do list and task management app is simple. Whether on the web or on the go, it can help older students stay organized.

Tools for Writing/Language Arts

CommonLit: A free literacy resource, CommonLit offers thousands of reading passages for grades 3-12. Resources are research-based and aligned to common core standards.

Epic Books: A digital library with thousands of thoughtful and engaging books, you can personalize your child’s daily reading and track their progress. 94% of schools in the United States use Epic Books.

Grammarly and Hemingway: For your writers at home, Grammarly and Hemingway identify mistakes, hard to read sentences, and offer suggestions to improve writing.

NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program: NaNoWriMo challenges kids to write an entire novel in 30 days! Progress can be tracked by parents for participants under 18.

Scholastic Story Starters: Activate the imaginations of young writers by offering writing prompts in categories like adventure or fantasy. For grades K-6.

Tools for Math

Dad’s Worksheets: Printable worksheets provide you with math resources from multiplication tables to play money.

LegendsofLearning: Thousands of free fun online games, content is aligned to state learning standards. Games include both math and science for grades K-8.

Mathletics: An award-winning math resource, Mathletics is a comprehensive learning journey of math lessons and activities. For students from early through secondary learning. eBooks are also available.

Zearn: This top-rated math program offers hands-on instruction and an immersive experience. Digital lessons are free for all students, and the content is aligned with state standards.

Tools for Science

Discovery Education: Discovery Education drives student curiosity about the natural world through hands-on virtual investigations and STEM projects. Content also includes math, social studies, coding, and more.

Froguts: Who needs a classroom when you can dissect a frog virtually? This uses virtual tools such as a scalpel and displays the subject to be dissected in 3D.

Live Science: Featuring articles on all of the latest science topics, including space, science, space, technology, health, and the environment. Browse the Strange News section for oddities and mysteries.

Tools for Social Studies

Crash Course World History: Learn about the history of the world, starting with ancient civilization. This YouTube channel explains historical developments and encourages learners to be more informed global citizens through a series of 42 videos.

Civic Online Reasoning: From Standford University, the Civic Online Reasoning curriculum teaches students to fact-check online information that affects them, their communities, and the world. Lessons and assessments are free.

Zinn Education Project: The Zinn Education Project wants students to have a more accurate and engaging understanding of history. Explore resources by time period or theme. Content includes audio, articles, film clips, digital collections, and more.

Tools for Computers and Coding

Bitsbox: Learn to code at home with this subscription service. Code simple apps with no experience and build new skills each month. For ages 6-12.

Codecademy: Learn to code for free with courses in everything from SQL to Python. Code is tested as soon as it is submitted, so you have instant feedback. For both students and adults and paid plans offer personalized lessons.

Google Sites: Does your student want to build a website? Google Sites is free and offers templates and drag-and-drop functionality to add elements. Advanced modifications can be made with a little bit of coding.

Tools for Foreign Language and Culture

Duolingo: Learn to speak a foreign language through gamification. This online web app offers 30+ languages. Race against the clock and earn points for correct answers to level up.

Google Arts & Culture: Access free content from over 2,000 museums and archives around the world. Choose from interactive experiences such as a tour of the international space station or virtually walk the halls of a museum.

Smithsonian Learning Lab: This free, interactive platform has millions of authentic digital resources. Curate your own collections to engage learners or adapt a collection already created.

Tools for Physical Activity

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Build strength, balance, and confidence with these YouTube videos featuring yoga for kids. Help kids calm their minds during the day. For younger children.

GoNoodle: Kids need to move around during the day! Watch free videos on movement and mindfulness created by child development experts.

Shape America: Shape America has physical education resources specific to remote learning. There are ideas and resources to keep kids moving, even while at home.

Tools for Music

Classical Music Archives: Listen to the world’s largest collection of classical music. Over one million songs to stream or download. Visit the “Must Know” section to select music by composer, period, or genre.

Metronome: Practice your instruments in time with this online metronome.

Moosiko: Online guitar lessons for grades K-12, students can choose from hundreds of fun songs and play along at their own pace. Adaptive technology allows students to progress at their own pace.

MusicTheory: This site has lessons on the fundamentals of music, from notes to chords. Exercises help students identify what they have learned.

Online Learning Tips

The key to remote learning is variety. Kids are not built to sit in front of a screen for hours on end. If you need to supplement your child’s remote learning experience, you can use an online learning tool that is both fun and educational.

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