By Lani Aquino
Teachers are constantly in search of resources that will effectively impact student learning. When these resources also include a digital component, they allow teachers a much more manageable way to stay up-to-date on student progress while also allowing students to work through content at their own pace. These three new resources offer tools that can impact grading, testing, and decision-making, and all come with a free price tag that will have no impact on the budget.
Free Math- This free program allows students to digitally complete problems, and then the work is graded. Yes, the work is graded. Free Math does not do any of the problem solving for students, it is simply the platform they use to input and complete their own work. This free resource works seamlessly with existing LMS products like Google Classroom, Schoology, Moodle, and more. Free Math groups solutions by similar final answers allowing teachers to pinpoint and address pockets of confusion and/or misunderstanding. The program also compares the overall documents that students submit as a way to identify possible cheating; it will flag any two or more documents that share an abundance of similarities for teachers to review. Students copy problems into the program, so the system can be integrated with any existing bank of exercises that a teacher wishes to utilize.
Ethical Dilemma Modules- The Good Project has developed a new set of modules to lead middle and high school students through the ethical decision-making process. The two dilemmas provided offer real-world scenarios with complexities and arguments from numerous viewpoints. Through the exploration of the beliefs and ideas of the characters within the modules, students are able to examine their own moral and belief systems. This reflection and introspection allows for an abundance of opportunities for rich discussion and self-discovery. As students use the modules to explore the decision-making processes of others, these scenarios can begin to shed new light on their own processes and systems, or lack thereof, for making difficult choices in everyday life. The research group that developed the modules was co-founded by Howard Gardner, and resources are also available for elementary students via Good Project’s Elementary Good Work Toolkit.
Prepfactory- While standardized testing may not have teachers and students jumping for joy, finding a free way to prep for it is a bonus. Prepfactory has added PARCC and SBAC test prep to their already existing repertoire of SAT and ACT materials. The format is easy-to-use and the adaptive technology meets students at their current entry points. The study paths generated for students take them through pre-quizzes, strategies, and interactive modules that prep them in all areas while allowing them to pinpoint and focus on areas where the most practice is needed. Teachers can set up class accounts and follow progress as students work through modules. The formatting of the questions utilized offers students a great way to build their comfort levels when it comes to completing these online assessments. Prepfactory’s addition of PARCC and SBAC materials is an excellent free find for teachers in grades 6-10.
Whether it’s a platform for grading, an exploration of ethical decision-making, or a practice tool for standardized test prep, these digital resources have teachers and students covered. In today’s diverse classrooms, finding the best tools to fill a variety of needs can be costly and time consuming. These new finds will help lighten the load by offering quality resources with no-cost price tags.