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Freebee Friday: School Supplies, Supplied

AppersonThere’s nothing worse on the first of class to find out that not all the kids showed up with their markers, tissues and other basics of education. Apperson can help put an end to it by delivering a school pack for each student that the parent pays for. All the teacher does is pick the supplies that each student needs to bring. Apperson does the rest and the school gets a 5-percent payment so it’s also a fund raiser.

Freebee Friday: iWork, Therefore I Am

Apple iworkRegardless of whether your school has the latest MacBooks or elderly Air models, they can all get a big boost with free software. You can download and install the latest iWork suite with Pages, Keynote and Numbers but you’ll have to install them one at a time. The GarageBand and iMovie apps are also free. Just go to the App Store and grab what you like before they change their mind. Depending on the app, you’ll need something between OSX 9.3 to 10.12 to do this upgrade.


Freebee Friday: Doing Good by Doing Well

ParadigmWhile the Web can supply an abundance of lesson plans for math, science and the other mainstream subjects, it doesn’t do very well in teaching about life, generosity and helping those in need. That’s where Project Paradigm comes it. Sponsored by a slew of corporate giants and the Red Cross, Paradigm stresses collaboration, creativity and especially kindness to make a better tomorrow for students, teachers and the rest of the planet. To start, there’re a bunch of online lesson plans and supporting material to help get this message out. Then, there’s the money. The non-profit offers innovative and creative students and teachers cash for submitting and sharing problem-solving lessons that get kids to actually work together to identify and solve a major global social problem.

Freebee Friday: Get into iTunes U

Itunes UiTunes U is a great place to grab curriculum to use in your class, find interesting assignments for students, keep their grades and even create your own courses. Now, it allows the teacher to mark up images, not just Acrobat .pdf files. Plus, teachers and students can now exchange video messages with one another.


Freebee Friday: Escape from Expensive Software

InkscapeUntitledTired of paying a fortune for Designer, Draw or Illustrator for teaching vector graphics? Inkscape can do it all for free. The program runs on Macs, PCs and even Linux systems and the current 0.92.1 version has tools that range from Bezier and spiro curves to a high-performance text tool. It imports and saves projects in all the popular formats and it is absolutely free.


Freebee Friday: Hooked on Freebees

Phonics freebeeMastering phonics is the usually first step towards reading and writing fluently and Primary Concepts’ FREEPhonics is ready for your school. Housed inside an eBook, FREEPhonics has 82 lessons that teach the basic sounds to our earliest learners and how they fit together as the basic building blocks of language. There are sections on vowel pairs, blends, diphthongs and the whole package has been designed to be a fun introduction with exercises that add, switch and remove letters from existing words to see the effect. It’s all free, but you need to register.


Freebee Friday: Decoding the Media

Look sharpThe election is happily over but the analysis and Monday morning quarterbacking is only starting. Project Look Sharp is a free product from Ithaca College for teaching media literacy so that kids can more fully understand what political and advertising messages are actually saying. It’s composed of a series of short videos that are accompanied by a presentation for the teacher to curate that goes a long way to deconstructing the message, the source and the audience. Chock full of political cartoons, ads and speeches, the clips provide a forum for discussing who produced the message, its credibility and who is the target of the item. The course goes a step deeper by analyzing who might be harmed or helped by their proposed plans.

Freebee Friday: App Direct Support Line

Apple repairForget about calling Apple if a bunch of iPads get broken. The Apple Support app can help with everything from checking product manuals to seeing the hours of a local Apple Store. In addition to resetting a password and reporting damage to systems, the app can set up a text or chat line with a technician to help diagnose a problem or answer a question. If your iPhone is having issues, just turn to Apple’s latest iOS app for support.


Freebee Friday: Easy as A, B, USB-C

Kensington usb cAnyone who’s lucky enough to have gotten a new computer lately is likely to encounter the USB-C port and the realization that it won’t connect to much of anything in the school. That’s where Kensington’s white paper on the new standard fits in. It not only explains the reason for the shift in technology and what it’s good for, but also the need for a dock to help it connect. The report wades in on security and mobility aspects of the new standard and the current generation of docks available. It’s a must-read.



Freebee Friday: Give Tech a Chance

Boxlight posterBoxlight has put together a poster and guide that can help make your school’s tech program more complete and successful. Able to be printed at any size, the Acrobat file has the top 5 challenges of incorporating new tech as well as info on everything from getting input on buying decisions to creating a tech committee. 




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.