107 Free E-Learning Tools for Teachers in the Digital Classroom
October 11, 2019
Nothing comes without a price tag, and the same goes for education. As learning becomes increasingly digitized, new expenses continue to arise for educators, making it an expensive endeavor to keep your classroom stocked with the latest e-learning tools and technology.
Fortunately, there are plenty of open source and freemium e-learning tools available online that you can take advantage of to keep your students engaged and expenses within your budget. By utilizing these free online teaching tools — and the multitude of teacher discounts — you’ll have your class leaping into the digital age in no time!
Check out our full guide below to see all the ways you can save on e-learning costs, and be sure to take a few dollars off your next classroom purchase using these Scholastic coupons as well!
Free Tools for Lesson Planning
Lesson planning and preparation is a large part of the workload for teachers. Luckily, there’s a lot of free tools out there that can save you time. Read on to see all the free tools you can take advantage of so your workday is that much easier!
Free Digital Storytelling and Authoring Tools
BookWidgets: Here you can create interactive lessons for tablets, phones and the web! The basic plan costs $9, but comes with a 30-day free trial.
Bubblr: Make your own comic-strips or “photo novels” using Flickr images with this free tool.
MakeBeliefsComix: Create your own comic strips using the tool’s own suite of characters, backgrounds, colors and other designs.
PicLits: Choose a background and select the right words to explain the essence of the setting. It’s free, easy to use and interactive!
Storybird: Storybird is a creative writing platform that inspires students of all ages with visual writing prompts designed from artists around the world. Try it today with its free trial period!
Free Infographic and Visual Design Tools
Adobe Spark: Create web pages, videos and graphics from scratch or choose from their database of free templates.
Animaker: Sign up for a free account for free access to Animaker’s infographic maker and an assortment of other visual design tools.
Canva: Canva allows teachers to create customized graphs and diagrams with easy drag-and-drop functionality. Create a free account to get started!
Easelly: Sign up for a free account that will give you limited access to Easelly’s infographic features.
Infogram: Assemble data into visually appealing charts and infographics to make learning that much easier for your students!
Lucidpress: Lucidpress offers sleek, professional templates that make for impressive data visualizations.
Snappa: Snappa’s free starter plan gives you access to over 5,000 templates, HD photos and graphics and infographic templates designed for shareability on the web.
Sway: Already have an Office365 account? If so, you can use Sway for free! This design tool allows you to easily create newsletters and presentations.
Free PDF Tools
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Adobe’s free PDF tool allows you to view, print and comment on PDF documents.
Doro PDF Writer: Only free for Windows users, Doro installs a virtual printer interface so you can convert any document into a PDF.
PDFill: A free PDF tool that gives you an array of editing and customization options.
PDF Buddy: PDF Buddy is a free online tool that allows you to upload documents to its server so you can convert that document to a PDF.
PDF Merge: PDF Merge is a Chrome extension tool that allows you to easily edit PDF files both off and online. This tool is only free for files up to 10MB, but offers a 30-day free trial option for their full premium service.
Free Photo Editing Tools
Cacoo: This app allows you to draw your own charts and diagrams and even collaborate with others while constructing your images. Comes with a free trial or a one time $5 fee.
DoppelMe: DoppelMe allows you to create your own Avatar that can be used almost anywhere on the web — for free!
Gickr: Create your own custom animated GIFs at no cost!
Glogster: This free tool allows students and teachers to compile notes, images and videos into high-level presentations.
PhotoPeach: PhotoPeach allows you to seamlessly upload your own photos into slideshows, which can be uploaded online or saved at no cost!
Pixlr: This online photo editing software is free to use and very user-friendly! Simply upload your own images and adjust as needed.
SketchUp: This free Google tool is a 3D modeling software that allows you to design 3D renderings that can be used on other tools, such as Google Earth.
ToonDoo: Create your own cartoons online for free!
Free Screen Capturing Tools
Clip2Net: Clip2Net gives you even more editing features — for free!
Lightshot: Capture images on your screen, edit them with built-in tools and share them by downloading a short link to the photo.
Skitch: An Evernote tool, Skitch offers the user to use a variety of sketches, shapes and annotations to enhance your screenshots.
Snagit: This screen capturing software offers you advanced editing and recording options and comes with a free trial period or a one time fee of $49.95.
Wisdom Software: Record up to one minute of MPEG-4 video for free, capture full-screen or rectangular images and even create your own custom hotkeys.
Free Stock Photo Tools
FreeFoto: This free stock photo site has over 1 million photos organized into over 3,000 categories!
FreeImages: This stock photo database contains over 18,000 free images and 89 searchable categories.
Pexels: Download free photos from this massive online database. Use its intuitive search engine to fine-tune your results!
Pics4Learning: This free stock photo resource was designed for educators. All photos are safe and educational!
PublicDomainPictures.net: Download or upload your own photos from this massive database for free.
Free Survey, Poll and Quizzing Tools
ClassMarker: Create up to 100 free quizzes a month, register multiple users and assign unlimited questions with this quick and easy online testing tool!
CrowdSignal: With a free account, you can easily and quickly generate unlimited surveys and customize the font, color and add HTML, images or videos.
FlexiQuiz: FlexiQuiz’s free pricing allows you to create unlimited quizzes. What’s more, the software also automatically calculates, scores and grades for you!
Free Online Surveys: Create surveys, quizzes, forms and polls online with various question formats, automated scoring and other features.
Google Forms: Google Forms allows you to create and share your own surveys, polls, and tests.
Mentimeter: Easily create your own polls and present the data anonymously while adding fun design elements to make your visualizations more engaging!
ProProfs: ProProf’s free quiz maker tool allows you to assemble an unlimited amount of quizzes and questions. Plus, you can even sell your quizzes online!
Survs: Sign up for a free account to get up to 200 responses per survey with up to 10 questions!
Vizzual Forms: This free tool allows you to create forms or surveys, which you can then pull the data from to create visually appealing reports.
VocabTest: The free account comes with ads, but allows you to easily create online vocabulary tests for your students.
Free Tools for Teaching in the Classroom
Interacting with your students is a delight when you have the proper tools needed to teach! From online videos to podcasts, there’s plenty of educational resources out there to keep your kids plugged in.
Free Educational Videos
Amazon Inspire: Amazon Inspire is an open-source tool that helps you discover, gather and share digital education content. While you’re at, save on your next purchase with these Amazon promo codes!
BigThink: BigThink offers open access to over 600 interviews and podcasts featuring thought leaders.
CosmoLearning: CosmoLearning is an educational aggregator that compiles free, online documentaries and video lessons.
EZVid: EZVid’s wiki compiles educational videos that discuss topics ranging from creative arts to gardening and more.
Learner.org: Learner.org provides access to a database of professional development videos for teachers and students.
NeoK12: Find a massive collection of videos, games and more with this free educational database!
PBS Video: PBS has a wide collection of videos on a range of educational subjects — all for free!
SchoolTube: This free video-sharing tool features content created by students.
SnagFilms: Snag provides open access to their database of documentary films, ranging from history lessons to videos pertaining to current events.
YouTube Learning: YouTube offers a broad collection of lectures from universities and colleges around the world.
Free Podcasting Tools for Teachers and Students
Audacity: Completely free, Audacity allows you to record and edit your podcasts.
Bubble.us: Bubble.us allows you to create mind maps designed to keep you on topic while podcasting. With a free plan, you can create up to three maps at a time!
Buzzsprout: Buzzsprout allows you to host up to two hours of free recordings a month for up to 90 days per episode.
Freesound: Freesound gives you access to their sound archives so you can add effects to dramatize your podcasts and make them more interesting for your listeners!
HuffDuffer: Create your own podcasts or add links from other podcasts to yours.
Podomatic: Sign up for free, create your own podcasts and keep track of your listeners with built-in analytics tools.
WriterDuet: WriterDuet helps you create scripts for your podcasts. With their free offering, you get three scripts completely free with no word or time limits.
VozMe: Convert your text to an MP3 recording. Although the tool itself is pretty rudimentary, it gets the job done — for free!
Free Social Bookmarking
BibSonomy: Easily organize your scientific publications and research at no cost!
EdShelf: EdShelf allows you to create your own “shelf” comprised of your own web pages, which other educators can view and share.
Historius: Historius allows you to bookmark pages by clicking them, and even has a site search function that lets you locate content by typing in specific keywords.
LiveBinders: This free tool lets you create online binders of lesson materials to make learning more intuitive for your students, along with other organizational features.
Pearltrees: Save your favorite pages on the web and organize them into collections for free!
Symbaloo: The free account is quite limited, but still allows you to organize bookmarked content in one place with Symbaloo’s Learning Paths software.
Free Web Conferencing Tools
BigBlueButton: BigBlueButton is a free, open-source online teaching tool that hosts online lessons along with other features.
Intermedia: Intermedia prides itself on providing secure and reliable video conference calls with great customer support. Try it yourself with their free trial!
Sync.in: Sync.in allows you to edit documents over video chats in real-time at no cost.
Tokbox: Toxbox has an extensive array of features and APIs that allow you to customize your video experience.
Twiddla: Twiddla’s free plan allows up to 10 participants to meet for 20 minutes at a time with multiple sharing options, including email and screen sharing.
Zoho Meeting: Zoho Meeting has a free plan that allows up to three meeting participants with no time restraints.
Zoom: Zoom’s free plan allows you to host meetings with up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes.
Free Tools for Organizing and Scheduling
Organizing your workday and schedule as a teacher can be hectic and time-consuming. Thankfully, everything you need to keep your schedule organized can be found online! Here’s a list of the best free online tools to keep your head in the game.
Free Annotation Tools
Diigo: This free annotation tool allows you to annotate web pages and PDFs as you browse online.
Genius: Genius’s free web annotator allows you to add line-by-line annotations to any web page. By inserting “genius.it/” in front of a URL, you can annotate or read any other Genius annotations for that page.
Hypothesis: This free browser extension tool allows you to select text to annotate, which you can then share with others. In addition, you can annotate in groups, search for other annotations online and even comment on each other’s notes!
PunditAnnotator: This free browser extension allows you to highlight or comment on any web page.
WiredMarker: WiredMarker highlights text on the web, which can then be saved as bookmarks and organized into folders.
Free Bibliography and Citation Tools
CitationGenerator: CitationGenerator is quick, easy and completely free. Literally go the homepage and type in the work you want to cite and let it do its magic!
Citefast: Citefast lets you choose between APA, MLA 8 and Chicago style. It also will keep track of your citations for up to four days!
Easybib: With the free, ad-based account, you get MLA with up to 20 grammar and writing style suggestions.
MyBib: This free citation generator tool allows you to choose between APA, MLA and Chicago styles. Once you’ve created your citations, you can then embed your bibliography to your blog or website!
Oregon School Library Information System: This free citation tool lets you select the source type and then input information, such as author, title, publisher and other details.
Recipes4Success: This free tool will format all of your project references in either APA or MLA — all for free!
Zotero: Collect, organize, cite and share your research for free using this free browser extension tool.
Free Sticky Notes Tools
CintaNotes: The free plan gives you full-text search, text clipping, notes synchronization and configurable hotkeys!
GoogleKeep: Google Keep is completely free and allows you to create virtual to-do lists and sticky notes that you can manually type out or dictate!
HottNotes: This free sticky notes software for Windows allows you to post customized sticky notes to your desktop!
Lino: This free downloadable app gives you a virtual corkboard where you can pin notes and photos. In addition, you can even port it over to your mobile device!
SimpleStickyNotes: This free tool is pretty straightforward: Simply download and start posting!
StickyPad: StickyPad allows you to write sticky notes for your desktop. You can also add reminders and print your to-do lists!
Stormboard: Stormboard gives you a virtual whiteboard for brainstorming and posting notes and ideas. The free personal account works for individuals or teams of five.
Free Text to Speech Tools
Announcify: This free text to speech (TTS) Chrome extension reads website content out loud for you!
Balabolka: Save on-screen text as a WAV, MP3, MP4 or WMA file and have it read back to you. You can also edit content saved to your clipboard!
NaturalReaders: NaturalReader can dictate PDF and MS word documents, emails and other types of documents while allowing you to change the reading rate as well!
Panopreter: Panopreter supports a wide variety of languages and voices and comes with tone and speed adjustment. When it’s finished reading your text, it will also serenade you with music!
Speakonia: Speakonia allows you to change the reading tone, speed and pitch. Simply select the text and let it do the work for you!
WordTalk: This free plugin integrates with Microsoft Word and reads your sentences back to you as it highlights the text.
Free Miscellaneous Tools
Who said all tools have to be purely educational? We’ve highlighted a few tools below that can help you can decompress while handling your hectic day like the rockstar educator you are.
AAE: The Association of American Educators has compiled a classroom appropriate Spotify playlist for teachers! Create a free Spotify account to listen.
EducationWorld: This fun “pump-up” playlist includes songs that will help you power through the toughest parts of your day!
PETA: Download PETA’s free 2019 ‘Rescued!’ calendar for teachers each month. The calendars feature cute animals and are formatted for your desktop, tablet or mobile device!
Wallpaper Access: These teacher-inspired wallpapers for your desktop come free of charge!
White Noise Streaming Video: Need to relax? This “wind in the trees” video streams for 10 hours, making it an excellent choice to play during the breaks in your day.
There are plenty of e-learning tools out there that can enhance your lessons. You just need to do a little research first. To find more open-source educational material, check out our guide for lifelong learners. Additionally, you can learn more about your students with these Education for Adolescents coupons!
Going forward, these tools should help you keep your classroom fun and up to date. Your students will love the e-learning experience just as much as you!