Hi, I'm new to this community and looking forward to the discussions.
I'm a parent of kids in grades 2 and 5 French Immersion (Ontario), and I've been running an after school club called the Thinking Skills Club using the website http://kids.thinkingskillsclub.com, which I have been developing over the past two years there and just made live a couple of weeks ago. It's a curriculum of free online games I've selected based on research that suggests they can help in various areas of cognition, which supports academic skills. The idea was to see if I could lower the barrier to interventions for cognitive improvement by finding brain-building games kids already enjoy, and which were free on the internet, such as my own kids were playing. Their education intersected with my going back to school to study Cognitive Science, which created this perfect storm.
Full disclosure: Though the games are free to use and the research is free to access, I do make money from the site (or hope to!!) by offering to track each student's progress using a "brain puzzle" that they build by passing the games to the levels I assign. I also ask for donations to cover the cost of free memberships for those who can't afford it and to put clubs into low income schools.
Please forgive the self-promotion angle of this post, but I developed the site exactly for a community such as this, people looking for educational online resources. I hope it will become a favorite online "cool" tool for many of you.
I would love to share this article I just found the other day:
The 33 digital skills every 21st Century teacher must have
Here is one from EDSITEment-reviewed International Children's Digital Library called StoryKit.
StoryKit is their family-friendly iPhone app which children can use to create stories on their phone (or iPod Touch) with text, pictures and other story elements. Download it for free take pictures, create drawings, record sounds, and yes of course - write actual words. Then automatically post it to a website and share with your friends.
My favorite tool that I have used with my students in grades 4, 5 and 6 this year is Weebly.com Weebly is a website creator. You can insert a PowerPoint, documents, pictures, embend applications by using the custom HTML code and new to the site are the social media connection plus many more options! It is totally free. The teacher can even create classroom accounts. My students used Weebly to create class projects. I used Thinkfinity's website as an example of a wonderful website. As I continue to use Weebly I am amazed at how professional the website will look as they are created. I hope you get to try it out because I know youwill love it too.
Wonderopolis offers fresh daily content that can be shared with a classroom, at home, or even on the go. What makes it better than most online tools is that it's FREE, no signup is required, and the content is up to date!