Distance Teaching Tools

As a result of COVID-19 and the necessity for home-based learning around the world, many ed tech companies are making their tools available to educators at no cost. Those referenced below are just a handful of the hundreds (thousands?) of products and platforms out there. Inclusion on this list does not mean the products are endorsed by DEED, but it does mean we (DEED staff and colleagues) have used them and found them to be useful in Alaskan classrooms, schools, and districts.

Is there a tool that's not on the list below that your colleagues in Alaska should know about? Share it with us via this form, and we will add it to the site and our #DistanceLearningAK map (and you will receive full credit, of course!).

Discovery Education: Student Engagement Video Tool

Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak

As a global company serving 4.5 million educators and 45 million students in 140 countries and territories around the world, Discovery Education has been monitoring the recent Coronavirus outbreak closely. Like educators everywhere, we are concerned about the Coronavirus’ potential impact on student learning in the unfortunate event schools or school systems are closed for extended periods of time.

So, to help schools and the communities they serve maintain continuity of learning in the event of prolonged school closures due to the Coronavirus, Discovery Education has created a three-pronged response. The elements of our response are as follows:

  1. Discovery Education has created a special channel within Discovery Education Experience—the Viruses and Outbreak Channel—featuring digital content that helps educators discuss the Coronavirus outbreak with students. This content includes timely updates on what the Coronavirus is, information on how infectious diseases spread, and essential guidelines for staying healthy. Schools and school systems with access to Discovery Education Experience can find these resources here.
  2. We have worked with our content partners to make the Viruses and Outbreak Channel available to the communities our U.S. school systems serve so that parents, caregivers, and other adults have the same access to the materials children are being taught in schools. If you are a Discovery Education partner and are interested in obtaining a login for the Viruses and Outbreak Channel that you can send to members of your community, please fill out the Experience Access Request form.
  3. For U.S. schools or school systems that are not currently using Discovery Education resources, but are experiencing closures due to the Coronavirus, we are offering free access to Discovery Education Experience through the remainder of the school year. To request access to Discovery Education Experience, principals and superintendents of affected school or school districts are encouraged to fill out the Experience Access Request form. We’d like to thank our friends at CoSN for helping to spread the word of this offer to their membership.

Discovery Education is a company whose mission is to prepare learners for future success by connecting them to the world outside the classroom. So, when the world outside the classroom threatens the continuity of instruction, we believe it is critical that we support teachers in explaining events like the Coronavirus outbreak to students and support administrators in maintaining continuity in students’ learning. We will continue to monitor this event closely and look for ways to help educators everywhere prepare students for success, no matter where they are.


Scott Kinney

Discovery Education

President of K-12 Education

Flipgrid: Student Engagement Video Tool

As educators, learners and families are impacted by COVID-19, know that our entire team is always here for you. Inspired by the ways you foster community beyond the classroom, we have curated a collection of resources to help you and your peers.

Remote Learning with Flipgrid PDF

This simple one page PDF contains all the information you need to get started using Flipgrid in a remote learning environment. Click the image to download and share!

Remote Learning Resources

💡 The “Learning at Home” Disco Library Playlist is filled with 50+ ready-to-use discussion prompts for at-home learning. Each topic is simple, innovative, and fun!

💡 We have added several additional FlipgridPD webinars. During the live session, our Educator Innovation Leads will explain the basics of Flipgrid and answer your questions!

💡 We created this simple guide to help the families in your community use Flipgrid to keep their children active, connected and engaged while they may be home from school.

💡 This tweet contains the name of 250+ educators who are ready and willing to support you as you begin using Flipgrid in a remote learning situation. Please add your name and info!

Once again, you inspire us daily. Thank you for sharing your ideas and the brilliant ways your learners invest in their own learning, no matter where they are! Moreover, we love seeing how you support fellow educators by sharing on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Please know our entire team is always here for you: reach out any time at support@flipgrid.com or @Flipgrid on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Thank you for being part of the Flipgrid community!

💚 Team Flipgrid

EdPuzzle: Tech Tool

Tech tool for embedding questions and formative assessment into teacher recorded or assigned instructional videos.

Google Classroom: Online Classroom Platform

If you are a current Google Classroom user, check out the new Google EDU page dedicated to distance learning supports and resources. Learn more about how teachers can keep their lessons and classes moving along remotely in this great blog post.

For live, Alaska-based assistance in setting up a Google classroom, contact Brittnay Bailey, DEED Content Specialist, at brittnay.bailey@alaska.gov

Additional Google trainings (which can lead to Google Certifications) are available at the Google for Education Teacher Center.

From Pixar and Disney, these are full online courses that take you behind the scenes to learn how these innovative minds create the magic.

IXL: Pre-K-Gr. 12, Practice in all core content areas

With many schools preparing for school closures (or potential closures) due to COVID-19, we’ve put together a few easy strategies for using IXL with students while they’re away from the classroom.

Implementation guide: IXL for distance learning

Try this easy 3-step strategy to help students continue learning while school is closed.

Download now >>

Videos: How to use skill plans and Suggested skills

Dive deeper into these two helpful resources mentioned in the above implementation guide:

Free webinars: Distance learning strategies with IXL

Through the end of March, we are hosting free 30-minute webinars every week covering ways to keep students progressing during school closures.

Register today >>

If there’s anything else we can do to support you or your school, please reach out to your IXL Account Manager or contact us at help@ixl.com. Wishing you and your students good health!

Khan Academy: Ages 4-18 Math, ELA, Humanities

Hello parents and teachers,

With concerns growing over the coronavirus (COVID-19), we know many of you are making plans to keep learning going should your school need to close. As parents and teachers ourselves, we know there’s a lot on your minds, from health and safety to child care and jobs.

We want to do everything we can to support you. We are a nonprofit organization with free educational resources.

We are having daily (weekdays) 9 am PST/12 EST live streams on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for students, parents, and teachers navigating school closures.

Here are guides we’ve created for you:



Khan Academy is a free resource for students, teachers, and parents.

What is Khan Academy? We offer exercises, quizzes, and tests so students can practice and master skills, as well as instructional videos to help students learn or review material.

  • Khan Academy has a library of standards-aligned lessons covering kindergarten through early college math, grammar, science, history, AP® courses, SAT® preparation, and more.
  • Students can practice skills with exercises, quizzes, and mastery challenges and get immediate feedback and support.
  • Khan Academy is available in 40 languages.
  • Students without laptops can access the Khan Academy website or use the Khan Academy app on smartphones.

Teachers get tools and reports designed specifically for them.

  • Teachers can easily assign students an entire course—Algebra 1 or AP Biology, for example—a specific unit, or a specific skill.
  • Teachers can easily track student progress with our reports.

School and teacher resources: How can you use Khan Academy?

We have several resources including a step-by-step Welcome Guide and a series of online videos featuring real teachers demonstrating how to use Khan Academy to assign instructional videos and practice skills and monitor student progress. All these resources are available at Teacher Essentials. Teachers can also join our #TeachWithKhan Facebook group.

How to get started:

  1. Create free accounts from our home page.
  2. Take a tour of our free content.
  3. Check out our teacher and parent resources, and learn how you can easily assign students a course to master.

More questions? Visit our help center.

Khan Academy Kids for Early Learners

If you have a child ages two to seven, we recommend our free app, Khan Academy Kids. In addition to building early literacy, reading, writing, language, and math skills, the app encourages creativity and builds social-emotional skills. It is 100% free, with no ads and no in-app purchases. Khan Academy Kids is available on iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon App store.

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization.

Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. We are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19, and are here to assist communities with their learning needs. Check back with us in the coming days and weeks as we are updating our resources for you.


The Khan Academy team

Be sure to check out the content provided by partners like NASA, Exploratorium, MIT+K12, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brookings Institution, and Code.org.

Kami: Remote Learning Platform (integrates w/ Google Classroom, Schoology, & Canvas)

Kami is a remote learning platform that integrates with Google Classroom, Schoology, and Canvas. The platform gives you interactive tools (such as the ability to provide text, voice, or video feedback to your students), real-time interventions, in-app assignment submission, and a built-in grading feature. Kami can even be used offline! Once a file has been opened you can work on it knowing that Kami will save your pending changes and upload them once you are back online.

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread globally, we want to help students continue learning remotely. If your school is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus, please get in touch with us to get an immediate deployment of Kami to your entire school staff and students. Our dedicated team is here to help and respond as soon as possible to accommodate your needs.

This free offer is available to any educators and schools in affected areas. The Kami Premium license will give you access to all tools and features available in Kami, including integrations with Google Classroom, Schoology and Canvas. All users granted access to this offer will have the school-wide license activated until April 30th, with validity to be extended for as long as schools are closed due to the COVID-19.

How does Kami work?

Tools to Utilize Across the Curriculum

Open an existing file or create a new page. Then, explore Kami’s toolbar stacked with interactive tools, like text, voice, and video comment. Whether you’re an English teacher looking for markup tools to analyze text, or a math teacher looking for a tool to solve simple equations, draw lines and insert shapes—Kami has something for all teachers and learners!

Seamless Integrations

Create a Kami Assignment with your LMS and share it with your class. While students use Kami tools to complete work, teachers can encourage feedback and collaboration with real-time interventions. Plus, the in-app ‘Turn In’ button makes submitting work easy, along with the built-in grading feature, all within Kami.

Accessible anytime, anywhere

Get started by opening an existing file from Google Drive or your computer, and continue to work knowing all your annotations will be saved automatically. Kami will continue to work even if you’re offline, making equal access to all students. Kami will automatically save your pending changes the next time you’re online.

Students get work done

Students enjoy getting work done with Kami’s user-friendly and vibrant interface, sparking creativity and curiosity as they learn. Can’t keep track of multiple files? Never lose homework with our Google Drive auto-save feature.

“To me, Kami is the perfect solution for the digital workflow. Students complete the assignment, using voice typing or traditional annotating. Teacher and student can also comment back and forth using text, voice or video comments. This way teachers can give feedback directly to students who can then understand what they did well and what they have to work on.”

— Dodie Ainslie, EdTech Coach at BT BOCES | New York, USA

Helpful resources to get you started

Microsoft Teams EDU: Online Learning Platform

Making the transition to remote learning

As concern grows around COVID-19, many education leaders are making the difficult decision to close schools. To help make the transition to distance learning, we’ve created resources, training and how to guides that we hope will help support IT, educators, staff and students as they make this transition.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, assignments, and apps together in one place, letting teachers create vibrant learning environments. Build collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and connect with colleagues—all from a single experience.


Nearpod: Content Delivery Platform & Lessons

We know many educators are developing plans for possible school closures due to COVID-19, or already dealing with active closures. Since Nearpod has always been a go-to for keeping students engaged, wherever they are, we want to do our part to help.

To aid in your planning, we’ve rounded up the most relevant information related to Nearpod for home-based learning below. Plus, we’re sharing free lessons and other resources.

Join our Webinar

Every week, we’re hosting deep-dive webinars to show you how you can use Nearpod to prepare for possible closures due to COVID-19. Sign up, and share the link with anyone who might be interested or benefit.

Join the Webinar!

Try These Tips for Using Nearpod for:

Home-Based Learning

Use Nearpod for live lessons together with a conferencing solution.

Did you know that popular conferencing tools are offering FREE access to educators? Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and more are making it easier for teachers to keep their classrooms in-touch. Launch a live Nearpod lesson while conferencing with your students to create an in-class feel. Learn more.

Make learning collaborative and social, even while remote.

In a live lesson, try using Collaborate! or Time to Climb to create a sense of class community, even when students can’t be physically together. Learn about all of our interactive features here.

Assign independent work using Nearpod’s Student-Paced mode.

With Student-Paced mode, students can get work done on their own time. You can set a Student-Paced code for any lesson and set an expiration date of your choosing to enforce due-dates. Learn more.

Make learning accessible, no matter the setting.

Nearpod’s integration with Immersive Reader means that Nearpod is accessible for every student, and accessibility can continue even beyond the walls of the classroom. Students learn how to enable this feature. See how it works, here.

Share materials with students the same way as usual.

Nearpod works with your LMS (Canvas, Schoology, and more!), Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, or however you share info with your student. Learn more.

Access How-to Resources

To ensure teachers have access to the full power of Nearpod, we’re offering site-wide access to any school or district affected by COVID-19 closings. Learn more, and request access, here.

And, for those educators who are intending to use Nearpod for their contingency plans, here are some helpful resources:

Instructional videos on how to use Nearpod

Student instructions to send to families on how to access Nearpod

Instructions for our Google Slides add-on

Over 7,500+ pre-made lessons

More getting started resources

Newsela: Leveled current events reading & writing

** Newsela is offering FREE access to their entire suite of materials and tools -- for individual teachers and for entire schools/districts. **

Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that features high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science. Users can choose a free account (which just features news and current events) or paid subscriptions that include daily news story updates and subject-specific products for ELA, social studies, science, and SEL. Content is updated daily, with stories from a wide range of sources (from the Associated Press to Scientific American to the Washington Post) in English and also often in Spanish. Topics run the gamut from pop culture to roller derby and Minecraft, and they touch on subjects that encourage cross-curricular reading, such as DNA testing, global women's rights, living conditions in Syria, and travel to Mars. All articles are available in five Lexile levels, ranging (roughly) from third to 12th grade. Each leveled text features a quiz tailored to that particular article plus a writing prompt that asks students to write and respond to what they've read.

For teachers, the paid subscriptions offer the site's most useful options, including a dashboard to manage students' assignments and view both individual and class results, tracking progress toward meeting the related Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Subscription packages include Newsela Essentials (formerly Newsela PRO), which features news stories, and subject-specific subscription packages for four subjects: ELA, Social Studies, Science, and SEL. The subscription-based accounts are designed for implementation by schools and districts, and they include more features for tracking student progress, customizing their reading experience, and supporting teachers' professional learning. The subscription pricing isn't available online, so contact Newsela for a quote.

NoRedInk: Gr. 5-12 Grammar & Writing Practice

NoRedInk is a website designed to help students learn and practice essential elements of English grammar and understand important elements of good writing (such as use of evidence). Teachers can create classes, add students, and assign specific skills for student mastery. There's material for just about every possible writing convention students might need help with, ranging from subject-verb agreement and parallelism to compound sentence structure and citation formats. Beyond grammar practice, NoRedInk also allows teachers to create and assign writing prompts, usefully expanding assessment potential beyond grammar drills. Within the teacher dashboard, it's easy to see students' work completion and progress toward mastery of individual skills. The diagnostics, practice, and quiz elements give detailed information about each student. The Premium version also adds some of the site's best features, including a complete curriculum for grammar and writing as well as tools to help students revise and improve their writing.

For students, NoRedInk allows for some degree of personalization. Students can select their interests (sports, TV shows, books, etc.) and then see sentences reflecting these interests. When beginning a new topic, NoRedInk gives straightforward instruction and learning tips and then provides clear, easy-to-understand support as students build understanding. Students can easily monitor their own progress and recognize areas for growth.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Discover, create, share, and learn with Smithsonian Learning Lab. Understand history, art, culture, and the sciences through inquiry and analysis. Remote learning resources, training, and support available.

Zearn Math: Gr. K-5 Curriculum & Digital Lessons

Thanks to generous donations, our entire K-5 curriculum - including 400 hours of digital lessons with on-screen teachers and supportive remediation - is available for free. Kids, teachers, parents, and caregivers can directly access and get oriented to all of our top-rated content 24/7, outside of school, including paper-based materials that can be used without a device.

To help schools, teachers and families get started quickly and share information with parents and caregivers, we’ve set up a Distance Learning Resource Center. The Resource Center includes:

  1. Quick-start instructions for using Zearn Math programmatically as part of a distance learning plan
  2. Parent/caregiver packs to send home to quickly orient to Zearn Math (in English and Spanish, more languages coming)
  3. Daily webinars for administrators, teachers, and parents to walk through quick-start instructions and parent/caregiver packs. Each webinar will offer ‘office hours’ with time for questions with our team.

Visit our Distance Learning Center to access resources and sign-up for webinars

As a nonprofit, we are grateful to the generous donations that have made it possible for us to provide support during this time. Our hope is that all schools, districts, teachers, parents, and caregivers know that Zearn Math is available to help them to continue math learning. Feel free to forward this email and share the Distance Learning Resource Center more broadly.

Zoom: Easy-to-Use Video-Conferencing Tool

Zoom has a wealth of experience helping educational institutions optimize the Zoom platform for virtual classrooms and online learning. It’s our goal to make Zoom easy to use and accessible for everyone, and we’re committed to streamlining the experience for our educational users amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Zoom’s teams are working to provide teachers, administrators, and students around the world with the resources they need to quickly spin up virtual classrooms, participate in online classes, and continue their studies online. It’s our intention that everyone, from seasoned Zoom users to those who’ve never interacted with our product, can easily download the client, start and schedule meetings, set students up with Zoom, and start using Zoom for virtual instruction with ease.

Help for schools

To ensure all of our K-12 districts and other institutions can most effectively leverage Zoom for virtual education during this time, Zoom is:

  • Temporarily removing the 40-minute limit on free Basic accounts for schools
  • Providing multi-language resources specifically designed for principals, vice principals, teachers, students, and parents to set up and use Zoom
  • Expanding live trainings, webinars, and recorded offerings to share best practices for using the platform