Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, millions of young people and their families have seen their local schools closed down for weeks or the entirety of the remaining academic year. Thanks to education leaders and organizations across the United States, there are myriad resources for young people, parents, and educators to find grounding during this unprecedented moment and engage in rich distance learning experiences.

Below, you will find a table of contents that jump down to resources that are relevant to your needs. This page will be updated regularly as more resources are discovered. If you would like to share a resource that has been helpful for you, please submit your entry here.

(Note: The list of resources below has not been assessed through a learner-centered lens. Rather, they simply represent what has been useful for families across the country as they navigate these uncertain times.)

(Last Updated: September 9th, 2020)

For Learning

For Parents and Families

For Educators

For Communities

For Information and Updates on COVID-19

For Lifting Spirits

Additional Libraries of Resources from Other Organizations


For Learning (back to the top)

Big Picture Learning Grabs the Remote
Big Picture Learning is providing a brand new slate of events, sessions, pick-me-ups, learner-led exhibitions, webinars, dance parties, and more as a way to “take back the remote” from remote learning that is simply trying to “do school” as it’s always been done. Explore the events they have this week and beyond.

Omni Calculator
Explore over 1,100 free online calculators that help you make sense of the world through numbers. Calculator categories include: Conversions, Everyday Life, Finance, Health, Physics, Statistics, and more.

COVID-TV
An online community for and led by teenagers worldwide to share their coronavirus stories and take action, COVID-TV is designed and led by young people. Teenagers can submit their stories and read others—joining a community that currently represents six countries, 25 cities, and 41 schools.

Wide Open School (by Common Sense Media)
Common Sense Media hopes Wide Open School helps make learning from home an experience that inspires kids, supports educators, relieves families, and restores community. A group of more than 25 organizations came together and raised their hands to help, and many more are joining on a daily basis. Watch for new features and content partners frequently.

The Contribution Kit (by The Learner First)
The Learner First has developed a kit focused on contributive learning—which aims at developing self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency. The Learner First believes when these come together, we add to the world. And, that leads to well-being, meaning, and fulfillment.

(Be Loud Community Hotline)
Be Loud is a space and opportunity for kids to get “radio ready” by recording their answers to prompts that will be aired on the community radio.

Bookshare
For young people with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers, Bookshare is a free online library that provides access to over 800,000 ebooks in easy-to-read formats.

Online Civic Learning Opportunities (National Constitution Center)
The National Constitution Centers offers free online civic learning opportunities, including Scholar Exchanges, which are live virtual conversations where young people learn about the Constitution while interacting with a constitutional scholar.”

Let Grow Independence Kit (Let Grow)
This kit is a mini version of our popular school program, the Let Grow Project. With the kit, you’ll get worksheets, and other printables and extras for learning.

Arcademics (Ages 5-11)
Arcademics combines the excitement of video games with educational content.

HippoCampus
7,000 free videos across 13 subjects.

Learning Playlists (LRNG)
LRNG has designed learning playlists that allow young people to experience a wide variety of interests from multiple angles.

Drawing with kids (Austin Kleon)
Austin Kleon, New York Times best selling author, has curated a list of his favorite resources for drawing with kids.

Public Media Education Resources in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic (America’s Public Television Stations)
Public media stations are playing a vital role in providing education resources to support remote learning for young learners and educators and to provide families and school systems with enhanced support during this unprecedented time.

Supporting Mental Health During COVID-19 (Move This World)
Move This World (MTW) helps young people and educators understand, express, and manage their emotions healthily in order to create safe and supportive environments where effective teaching and learning can occur.

Literacy that Fits (Units of Sound)
Literacy that fits is an effective and easy way to support someone with reading, spelling and writing skills, designed specifically for use at home.

The Folger Shakespeare
Enjoy Shakespeare’s plays for free from the Folger Shakespeare Library. They are also providing free audio recordings of seven complete plays through July 1, 2020.

Shakespeare for Kids (The Folger Shakespeare)
Fun and informative resources for kids and for Shakespeare beginners.

Crash Course and Crash Course Kids
The Crash Course team has produced more than 15 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences. Crash Course Kids targets younger learners.

The Kids Should See This
Smart videos for curious minds of all ages.

Mystery Science
To help educators during this time of coronavirus, Mystery Science has pulled their most popular science lessons and are offering them for anyone to use for free. No account or login is needed.

Duolingo
Learning with Duolingo is fun and addictive. Earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. Their bite-sized lessons are effective, and they have proof that it works.

Scratch (by MIT)
With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Blockly
Learn computer programming skills through mini games.

Futurelearn
Free to access 100s of courses. Upgraded plans are only needed if you need a certificate of completion in your name.

Openlearn
Everything on the multi-award winning OpenLearn is free to everyone. Most material is for more advanced learning.

BBC Bitesize
Shake things up by hopping across the pond and engaging with materials from the BBC. Over the coming days and weeks they will be providing daily content to help you with your education and wellbeing.

The Graide Network
Supporting parents and students through COVID-19 with top-tier online writing workshops.

28 Days of STEM Activities and STEAM Activities for Kids (Left Brain Craft Brain)
60+ Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math projects that will get young people excited about learning.

Coding For Kids: 46 Free Classes, Websites, and Apps (Code Wizards HQ)
Coding allows young people to creatively express themselves. Your child has an idea for a game? They should make it! Your child has an idea for a website? They should design it! The possibilities are endless when it comes to coding and there are free apps, websites, and activities available to young people of all ages.

Your Guide to Enjoying Art at Home (by Caroline Velazquez)
An art educator from Virginia shares a table of ideas for enjoying art at home including: art contests, virtual museum field trips, art games, digital art experiences, and other art-at-home opportunities.

25 sources of free public domain books (Ebook Friendly)
Want to load your e-reader or tablet with free ebooks, legally? Check out this list of sites that offer free public domain books in electronic and audio format.

Audible
For as long as schools are closed, Audible is open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

40 Science Websites to Keep Kids Engaged and Entertained at Home (Bored Teachers)
Science is all about exploring how things work. It’s often best learned through hands-on experiments and observation. This makes it a fun and easy subject area for kids to dive into while at home.

OLogy (American Museum of Natural History)
A science website for kids from the American Museum of Natural History.

Tomorrow’s Lemonade Stand
Tomorrow’s Lemonade Stand (TLS) is a community of little ladies and mini men who promote and instill the spirit of entrepreneurship for girls and boys.

Encantos Learning Hub (Encantos)
Free resources for parents and educators with lessons to keep young learners reading, thinking, growing, and developing new skills.

Together When Apart (inquirED)
We are all on an inquiry now, one that is changing by the hour. inquirED is here for the educators exploring new methods of instruction, those of you at home juggling roles and responsibilities, and our learners, who need all of us to learn and grow.

STEM @ Home (Pitsco Education)
Hands-on, minds-on learning for all ages interested in exploring STEM subjects they can explore at home.

FabuLingua
Magical stories that teach kids Spanish. Fabulingua is temporarily providing their product for free during the pandemic.

Out of Eden Learn (Project Zero)
The Out of Eden Learn (OOEL) research team at Project Zero has shared some terrific resources that educators and families can use at home with children.

Scholastic Learn at Home (Scholastic, for ages 4-12)
Even when schools are closed, learning continues with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers.

The Peace First Challenge (Peace First)
Peace First empowers young people to create a just and peaceful world by providing digital tools, community support, start-up funding, and stories that celebrate their journeys and impact.

Distance Learning With Zearn Math (Zearn, for ages 5-10)
Continued math teaching and learning including 400 hours of digital lessons with on-screen teachers and supportive remediation—available for free during this time.

Epic! the Leading Digital Library (Epic!, for ages 12 and under)
Unlimited award-winning fiction, non-fiction, STEM, biographies, graphic novels, DIY, and more.

50 Inside Activities to Burn Kid’s Energy (Paper Heart Family)
A long list of activities for parents and guardians with high-energy kids.

Creative Ways to Engage Special Education Students (St. Joseph’s University)
Examples of creative ideas to improve engagement with young learners who have mental and/or physical disabilities.

Khan Academy
A nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Kanopy
Access and watch films and documentaries from your local library.

Teaching Dignity (by Global Dignity)
Here you’ll find a variety of curriculum ideas, toolkits and additional resources to better understand what dignity is and why it matters.

New American History
Through interactive maps, video, audio, an algorithmic engine of journalism, and tools for educators, New American History hopes to make visible what was previously invisible about our shared American story.

Newsela ELA
When it comes to teaching literacy, content matters. Engage learners with topics they care about, while building the background knowledge and vocabulary they need to become active, engaged readers.

Kidlink (by Kidlink Association)
Opportunities for global collaborations which can also be used in tandem with remote learning projects.

Everfi
Online, self-paced courses for mental wellness, STEM, financial literacy, and math.

PhET Simulations (by University of Colorado – Boulder)
Free Physics, Chemistry, Math, Earth Science, and Biology simulations brought to you by University of Colorado Boulder.

National Geographic Education Resources
National Geographic has an extensive resource library covering a wide variety of topics for learners of all ages.

Virtual Museum Tours (by Google Arts & Culture)
A Google Arts & Culture team has collaborated to create virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the best museums in the world, and they’re available with just a few clicks.

The 15 Most Amazing Virtual Field Trips (by Early Childhood Education Zone)
Since virtual field trips aren’t limited by travel time and budgets, children can enjoy more fun, informative, and inspiring exposure to the world outside their homes than ever before.

TedEd (by Ted Talks)
Library of lessons from the creators of Ted Talks. Watch videos and unpack the conversations with young people, educators, siblings, and parents.

Free STEAM and Creativity Activities (by Destination Imagination)
This is a group of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, and creativity activities that can be done as a family, as a group, or individually. The activities use the unique learning pedagogy of Destination Imagination and will help children express their creativity, interests, and strengths.

 


For Parents and Families (back to the top)

Back to School Sleep Tips During COVID (Slumber Yard)
The first weeks and months of school can be a huge struggle between parents and kids at bedtime. This guide explains why, and teaches parents what they can do about it.

Reconstruction: Unapologetically Black Education
Reconstruction was created to show Black learners that they are descendants of powerful, creative, and resilient ancestors whose contributions permeate every aspect of life across the globe; and that they too are called to contribute to this rich legacy.

A Parent’s Guide to Virtual Learning: 4 Actions to Improve Your Child’s Experience With Online Learning (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
The NCLD strongly believes that learners with disabilities can be served effectively in online settings. They’ve created a resource for parents and families that show the best practices to serve children with disabilities in this new environment.

Federal Response to COVID-19: What it means for students and families (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
The NCLD offers summaries and insights on some of the latest developments from Congress and federal agencies that might help your family during this time.

Digital Resources for Overwhelmed Parents (Digital Learning)
Digital learning provides a list of online digital learning resources for parents overwhelmed by the shift to at home learning during Covid-19.

Advice To Parents On Maximizing Privacy & Minimizing Screen Time While Your Child’s School Is Closed (Parent Coalition for Student Privacy)
For the millions of parents whose children’s schools are closed, here is some advice on trying to minimize the risks from your children’s overuse of screens, and to maximize their privacy if they are using ed tech apps.

Cultivating Confident Learners from the Comfort of Home (African American Homeschool Moms)
This resource offers a network with other African-American homeschool families or who are looking to find homeschool curriculum and resources an featuring African-American perspective

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences at Home (by Katie Martin)
Katie Martin invites parents and families to consider moments when they’ve had powerful learning experiences (no matter the setting) and how it can open their imaginations to what’s possible inside our homes.

Google Tools for Struggling Students and Special Needs (Control Alt Achieve)
Technology can be a powerful tool to assist students with special needs or any sort of learning challenge. In particular the Chrome web browser allows users to install a wide variety of web extensions that provide tools that can help all learners, regardless of ability level.

Stuck at home with young kids due to the coronavirus? Here’s what to do—and not to do (The Hechinger Report)
Experts share tips, advice on screen time, and at-home learning activities.

Home With Your Kids? Writers Want to Help (The New York Times)
Mo Willems, Gene Luen Yang, Amie Kaufman and other authors for young readers are reading their work online and offering drawing tutorials, to help fill our strange new hours.

A Parent Guide to Home Learning During the Coronavirus (by Sam Chaltain)
This article invites parents to pause, take a deep breath, and use six simple ideas to create weeks of learning opportunities.

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (National Association of School Psychologists)
This resource from NASP provides parents with the communication tools to speak with their children about the current pandemic.

Engaging teens in learning during the coronavirus crisis (by Michael Robbins)
Michael Robbins provides insights on how to design transformative home-based learning opportunities that connect young people to their passions, peers, community, and careers.

Coronavirus Triple Duty: Working, Parenting, And Teaching From Home (by NPR)
A personal reflection from Yuki Noguchi on her transition from playing the role of working remotely, parenting, and providing learning experiences for her child.

Leaving to Learn in an Age of Coronavirus (by Chris Jackson)
From the article: “For those schools, students, educators and parents who wonder what a Big Picture Learning approach to education looks like under quarantine, we suggest these tips.”

 


For Educators (back to the top)

Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability (UP for Learning)
A project-based resource for learners and educators to support distance learning.

Maintaining Connections, Reducing Anxiety While School Is Closed (ASCD)
Teachers can play a huge role in helping students with anxiety or trauma histories feel safe right now—even from a distance. Learn how in this in-depth article from ASCD’s series on Getting Remote Learning Right

Strategies and Lesson Plans Virtual Relationship Mapping (Making Caring Common Project)
Making Caring Common maps out lesson plans and strategies for positive and stable virtual relationship building for educators and students.

A Educator’s Guide to Virtual Learning: 4 Actions to Improve Your Child’s Experience With Online Learning (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
The NCLD strongly believes that learners with disabilities can be served effectively in online settings. They’ve created a resource for educators that show the best practices to serve children with disabilities in this new environment.

Federal Response to COVID-19: What it means for students and families (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
The NCLD offers summaries and insights on some of the latest developments from Congress and federal agencies that might help your family during this time.

District Responses to COVID-19 School Closures
(Center for Reinventing Public Education)
The CRPE has created a regularly updated resource that describes the actions districts across the country are taking to support young people during this unique moment.

A Guide to Distance Learning for Educators (Altitude Learning)
This toolkit provides a guide to support your community as you consider virtual instruction, asynchronous learning experiences, and remote learning options.

Google Tools for Struggling Students and Special Needs (Control Alt Achieve)
Technology can be a powerful tool to assist students with special needs or any sort of learning challenge. In particular the Chrome web browser allows users to install a wide variety of web extensions that provide tools that can help all learners, regardless of ability level.

Helping Educators Implement Remote Learning (VLACS)
VLACS is offering a series of free webinars to educators who are looking for help with the transition to remote learning.

Distance learning solutions to support K-12 schools affected by COVID-19 (EdTech4Future)
Join a series of live practical workshops focused on K-12 e-learning resources to support learning and minimize disruption in the education process. Series runs from March 20-30th (past workshops are recorded and available for viewing)

Helping teachers and students make the switch to remote learning (Microsoft)
A resource by Microsoft that includes free subscriptions to Microsoft Teams and guides on how to use the software to connect with your learning community remotely.

Zoom: K-12 School Verification Form (Zoom)
Zoom—an online video-conferencing service—is temporarily lifting their 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus. Follow the link above to get access for your school.

Zoom Directions for Students (The Techie Teacher)
These directions were specifically created for teachers who have students using computers and iPads.

SETDA eLearning Coalition (SETDA)
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is launching the SETDA Coalition for eLearning. The coalition, underwritten by AT&T, will compile and provide resources on eLearning for state education agencies and school districts at no cost.

 


For Communities (back to the top)

Educational Equity and Cornoavirus (The Education Trust NY)
New York State responds to the coronavirus, using transparency and facts to protect public health, reduce confusion, and prevent panic.

Coronavirus Response (Local Progress)
Local Press offers a resource page to aid Local Progress members in taking bold local action and staying informed of efforts underway across the country.

FNS Program Guidance on Human Pandemic Response (USDA)
The USDA provides information on waivers from all 50 states, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, enabling Summer Food Service Program and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option sponsors to serve meals in a non-congregate setting and at school sites during school closures related to the coronavirus.

Being Human in Digital Spaces (by Sita Magnuson)
There is so much talk about the coronavirus–what to do if you have to move a meeting online, what tools to use, how to be super-efficient–and very little about how to keep our online spaces human, and how to use this pause to re-center in offline spaces as well.

Community Mitigation Plans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
For communities experiencing the worst of the current pandemic, the CDC is providing their government’s mitigation plans on this website.

Your Guide to Internet Service During New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak (HighSpeedInternet.com)
The team at HighSpeedInternet.com has compiled not only a list of internet providers who are offering free and/or affordable internet options to communities everywhere, but they answer other common questions about internet access during the pandemic.

EveryoneOn
Find low-cost internet service in your area as multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have made updates to their low-cost internet service programs to ensure individuals and families stay connected to the internet during this challenging time.

Affordable Internet at Home (Internet Essentials)
Affordable high speed internet for homes eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others.

Catchafire
Catchafire is a community of individuals seeking to support and strengthen the social good sector. They do this by matching professionals who want to donate their time and talent with nonprofits who need those skills.

The Response (by Shareable)
The Response is a podcast and documentary series exploring the remarkable communities that arise in the aftermath of disasters. Spanning the globe, each episode takes a deep dive into a unique location to uncover the under-reported stories that are hidden just beneath the surface of extraordinary events.

 


For Information and Updates on COVID-19 (back to the top)

COVID-19 IMPACT: School District Status Updates for Fall 2020 (MCH Strategic Data)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Resources for COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Coronavirus Infographic Data Pack. (Information is Beautiful)
Information is beautiful offers up to date info graphics on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak (World Health Organization)
Resources for COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill. (Washington Post)
The science behind what makes this coronavirus so sneaky, deadly and difficult to defeat.

Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens (Irresistible)
This podcast episode from Irresistible brings you medical information, invocations, grounding practices and dialogue from the March 7, 2020 webinar: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparation for People Living with Chronic Illnesses in the United States.

 


For Lifting Spirits (back to the top)

Getty Museum Asks People in Self-isolation to Recreate Classic Artworks (Design Boom) Getty Museum in LA is challenging people to recreate their favorite artworks using themselves as the subjects and household objects as their props.

Here is how the public school community is serving the nation (Network for Public Education)
A great collection of stories from across the country that show how communities are serving young people and how young people are lifting their community’s spirits.

Good News About the COVID-19 Pandemic (by Peter Diamandis)
If you want to stay informed about the current pandemic, but have been missing the positive news developments, check out this list of articles and announcements about vaccine development, declining new cases in hard hit countries, and more.

Liberate Meditation
The largest free & centralized library of dharma talks and guided meditations from Teachers of Color.

Ten “Good News” Stories Surrounding the Coronavirus Outbreak (WKQX)
It’s all in the title. Dive in!

Tired of The Coronavirus? Here Are 10 Good News Stories You Need Right Now (Science Alert)
The largest free & centralized library of dharma talks and guided meditations from Teachers of Color.

What to Watch, Read and Listen to During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine (The New York Times)
You’re staying home and you need a distraction. The New York Times updating this recommendation list every weekday.

 


Additional Libraries of Resources from Other Organizations (back to the top)

Yale Child Study Family Resources and Suggestions for Coping with Coronavirus (Yale University)
Yale University’s PDF features resources for speaking with children about the coronavirus, activities for at-home learning, art activities, recommended books and storytelling ideas, and more.

Coronavirus Resource Center Page (EL Education)
EL Education’s page is for educators, parents, or learners searching for the latest information and free resources for virtual learning and opportunities to connect online.

Quality Education for all during Covid-19 (hundrED)
HundrED provides a special collection of compiled stories and solutions from schools around the world doing their best for students.

Resources for Educating Students with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Crisis (National Center on Special Education in Charter Schools)
NCSECS offers this library of resources in hopes that it will assist educators and practitioners in developing comprehensive plans for young learners with disabilities and creating effective and high-quality learning environments for all during this evolving national transition.

School Closures: Practitioner Resources for Teaching & Learning (Next Generation Learning Challenges)
NGLC offers a space for sourcing and sharing high-quality, ideas, supports, and solutions for communicating with parents, students and teachers, instruction and curriculum and more.

Resources for learning from home during COVID-19 school closures (by Michael J. Petrilli)
This article offers a list of resources for learning from youtube, tv streaming sites, podcasts and other online instructional materials for learning from home during Covid-19.

Resources for Teachers and Parents (Network for Public Education)
The Network for Public Education values learning without screens, but given the difficulty in doing so during this time of social distancing, they have built a library of resources for screen-based learning as well.

Distance Learning (by Lark Academy)
Stimulate curiosity, exercise critical thinking, build community, spark interest, and further skills and knowledge across the board.

Getting Through (by Getting Smart)
Getting Smart has launched the Getting Through series to support educators, leaders and families on the path forward during such an uncertain time. This series will provide resources and inspiration as we face long term school closures, new learning environments, and address equity and access from a new lens.

COVID-19 Resources for Educators and Learners (by Arts Ed Collaborative)
For webinars, virtual music lessons, online museum tours, and resources for artists, check here.

Museum Resources for Distance Learning (by Washington International School)
The Washington International School has complied a list of arts-oriented digital resources—mainly from museums—that can help educators and caregivers create authentic educational experiences at home.

Distance Learning Resources from the Smithsonian
(by Smithsonian Learning Lab)
Here, on the Smithsonian Learning Lab, parents, families, and educators have access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and more. You will also find pre-packaged collections that contain lessons, activities, and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators as well as thousands of classroom teachers.

School Closure Resource Hub (by Transcend)
The leaders at Transcend have been speaking to school communities around the country that are in a state of uncertainty as school closures are becoming more common. So, they curated some resources around the most common topics their friends and partners are surfacing.

Repository of Resources (by Institute for Personalized Learning)
This Repository of Resources by the Institute for Personalized Learning has been created to ease the time and efforts of educators as they curate resources to use with learners at home.

Supporting Students During COVID-19 (by Emerson Collective)
These resources for remote learning are broken up into categories such as resources for families, resources for educators, and resources for school and system leaders.

Quality Education for All During Coronavirus (by Emerson Collective)
This set of resources has been curated by global leaders in education innovation.

Distance Learning Solutions (by UNESCO)
Great collection of online and offline resources to support distance learning. Very well organized and brief descriptions of each resource is provided.

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