As educators, parents, and students are all working to adjust to distance learning models, I wanted to share a few of my favorite resources that I’m personally using to help my students continue to learn, grow, create, and find joy. These services would normally cost school districts hundreds or thousands of dollars, but they are being made available to educators for free during school closures.

The first service I’m using is It’s an extremely powerful, full-featured video editing program that is both COPPA and FERPA compliant. It boasts an enormous library of stock footage, a solid audio collection, and easy-to-use transitions, titles, and more. My students have created trailers for imaginary movies, video recaps of their activities during social-distancing, and even positive messages for their classmates about finding the good things in our current situation. While a 30 seat license normally runs $300 dollars annually, educators can request a free school plan for as many licenses as they need here.

The second service I want to shoutout is Tynker is a coding platform for kids being used by over 60 million students worldwide. I’ve watched their offerings expand and improve over the years, and they have a game and puzzle based approach to teaching coding that I’ve found to be the most engaging in the industry. They offer courses for all age and ability levels, and their courses range from a variety of block-based coding to Javascript and Python. A school license typically runs around $2600, but educators can request free premium coding courses during school closures here.

I hope you are able to use these resources to help your students grow as digital makers. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on twitter @mrgottilla and I’m happy to provide more information about how I use them with my classes.

P.S. Here is a bonus resource if you are looking for documentaries and educational resources that can be used alongside them. Netflix is providing free access to a wide range of documentaries on YouTube and posting resources for teachers with each.

Here is a statement from Netflix explaining the initiative.


About the author: Matt Gottilla has worked in K-12 education for over a decade and developed STEAM and Makerspace programs for schools in New Jersey and California. He currently teaches the Innovation Lab course at High Tech Middle Mesa in San Diego. He enjoys developing gamified learning experiences and is a strong believer in collaborative, project-based education. Often looking for ways to incorporate technology into engaging maker experiences with his students, he recently presented at Edinnovate Live on his work developing VR content with students alongside industry partners. You can find him Twitter @mrgottilla.

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