Updated: Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak

  • By Dian Schaffhauser

  • 04/07/20

(Updated April 7; originally published March 13) In response to the number of states, districts and schools that are shuttering schools to students over the next several weeks in response to fears about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), education technology companies have stepped forward to help educators reach students in virtual ways. In many cases, the companies are making their paid services free through the rest of the school year; in other cases, they're lifting limits to services and/or adding premium features to what's free. The following list will be updated regularly as announcements are made. (If you know of a company that should be included on this list, please send details to dschaffhauser@1105media.com.)

The Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences and the Flipped Learning Global Initiative have published the "Rapid Transition to Online Learning," a roadmap for making the rapid shift to online learning during school closures. The resources include a checklist for administrators, another for IT managers, a transition plan and video tutorial for teachers and access to an international team of volunteers who have stepped forward to answer questions. The organization is continuing to seek volunteers for the program. http://aalasinternational.org/rtol/

Acer has put together a handy comparison table that provides an overview of remote learning tools. The chart specifically compares Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, for remote learning; and Facebook and YouTube for video conferencing. The information examines whether or not screen sharing is allowed, the maximum number of attendees, the maximum length of meetings and other features. https://eu-acerforeducation.acer.com/uncategorized/remote-learning-a-comparison-among-top-collaboration-tools/

Achieve3000 is offering free access to resources for differentiated literacy instruction. Educators can access three different programs. Achieve3000 Literacy at Home offers access to non-fiction articles at three reading levels with topics covering science, social studies and current events. Premium licenses for Actively Learn, for grades 6 -12, provides thousands of texts, including contemporary and classic literature, with collaboration and discussion tools to facilitate interactive remote instruction for English language arts, science and social studies. For students without internet, the company is offering "Literacy Printable Packets," a set of text sets with 20 printable articles and questions. The company said those text packets add up to a month's worth of content differentiated for students who are at-, below- and above- grade-level in their reading abilities. Lessons can be downloaded and sent home by email or printed out. https://achieve3000.com/community-resources/remote-learning-2020/

Addigy, a cloud-based Apple device management platform, has announced free 60-day access for schools. The program helps organizations deploy, manage and track new and existing Apple devices from a single console; automate IT tasks and implement IT policies related to deploying software, updating security settings, running scripts, managing groups of users and distributing and updating software; and troubleshoot problems for users remotely and in real-time. https://addigy.com/covid-19-addigy-60/?utm_content=covid-19-addigy-60

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