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Online Tools for College and Career Readiness

16 Sep 2014 by Insight Editor

The Common Core State Standards, as well as the other standards individual states are coming up with, are all about preparing students for the world of college and career. The standards are designed to provide more real-world experiences that utilize critical thinking, communication, and cooperative learning.

Hopefully through the implementation process you’ve been able to incorporate some of those ideas into your curriculum. But what are some fun ways for students to get those kinds of experiences online without having to break the budget on field trips or equipment?

Virtual field trip: Polarhusky.com

There are always teams of researchers exploring the unknowns of the Arctic and Antarctic. Polarhusky gives students the opportunity to accompany a team of researchers as they explore the frozen tundras of the world. Classroom activities are made available in real time as the expedition continues. Unfortunately, that means waiting until the winter. Once the next trip starts, students can interact with the trekkers through video, chats, and lesson plans.

Microsoft’s Kinect

A devoted community of educators started using Microsoft’s Kinect motion-capture device in their classrooms years ago. Since then, games have been programmed and lessons have been written that let students practice a variety of skills without leaving the classroom. KinectEDucation is a huge repository of lesson ideas and actual games that can be used with the Kinect that cover a range of subject areas and content. Microsoft also keeps its own repository of lesson ideas. Apps.kinecteducation.com also makes apps and programs available to the learning community.


Although the chances of one of your students making a career out of creative writing are slim, BoomWriteris great simply as a collaboration resource. Students are given a story starter as the first chapter of a prospective book. It’s up to the students to provide Chapter 2. Then the other students on the site vote on whose chapter was best before moving on. Various gamification rewards come into play so students stay engaged.

Skype in the Classroom

Along the same collaboration lines, teachers have had a lot of success with using Skype to let their students collaborate with classes from around the world. Skype in the Classroom is a searchable database of teachers willing to start a relationship. Although most classes only use the tool as a sort of pen pal collaboration, the sky’s the limit. What about doing a cross-curricular, real-world project on D-Day with students from France?

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