Great content is the eternal companion of great teaching. Content fundamentally guides, inspires, and informs the quality of teaching in a way that is both exhilarating and, frankly, a little overwhelming. In the Digital Age, when resources are updating, refreshing, and reproducing at an ecstatic pace, identifying a baseline of quality and reliable online resources can intimidate and disorient even the most tech-savvy among us—(and, ultimately, tech-savviness means very little in the face of infinite virtual expansion!). Fortunately, once again, the SLC Reviews team is here to help! We've compiled a compelling list of Highly Recommended online resources, nearly all of which are free, to aid you in your ongoing commitment to educational excellence. Whether you're looking to further your professional development in computer science technology, or seeking out creative platforms that enable students to construct their own fictional narratives in a collaborative context, the electronic resources found on this list will open up worlds of possibility for the truly resourceful instructor! (Oh, and we did mention they're all Highly Recommended and mostly free?) Wishing you happy teaching from all of us here at SLC!
2019. Google. Professional
Many school library media specialists now have the added responsibility of integrating coding and computer technology into their library curriculum. Thanks to Google's free resource called CS First, students in grades four through eight have increased access and exposure to computer science activities, meaning school library media specialists do not have to be computer science experts to teach this subject. The program itself is comprised of eight different themes, or activities, with a range of difficulty levels for students…. This is a powerful free resource that is highly recommended for all middle grade school environments looking to increase computer science programming for students.
—Reviewed by Angela M. Wojtecki
2019. Southern Poverty Law Center. Professional
—Reviewed by Kasey Garrison
2019. Omnigraphics. Grade 9-12
This database offers over 2,000 articles ranging from 28 different subject areas such as gender identity, opioid abuse, applying to college, voting, and driving. The three broad areas of this resource are health, financial literacy, and personal growth. This database even includes over 500 common teen questions with real-world answers to help put relevant, relatable information in the hands of teenagers…. This site interface is visually appealing to a teenage audience and its simplicity in layout and color choices make it a stand-out resource when it comes to high school appropriate databases. The variety of relevant information and the manner in which it is presented truly makes this is a resource to investigate purchasing for high schools.
—Reviewed by Angela Wojtecki
2018. Protagonist Labs, Inc. Grades 9-12
Creative writing and a role-playing computer game come together in a fun way on this website. This unique digital storytelling platform enables students to work together in order to write a story and build a world where truly everyone must contribute for the story to be told…. This is a resource students will really enjoy if given time to work together to reach a comfort level in using and playing the story cards. In addition, Storium would be a welcomed addition to enrichment classes and writing clubs.
2019. National Geographic. Grades PreK & Up
Each title in this series examines well-known events and people from distant as well as recent history. Using both primary and secondary sources, the books examine how evidence is discovered and how it can be analyzed and interpreted in a variety of ways. Readers will enjoy the well-organized books with vivid color illustrations and photos on every page. This series may serve to spark students' interest, prompting them to follow up with more extensive research.