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Learning Futures Summit

Why Use Technology in the Classroom?

Technology, when used appropriately, can help make science classroom a site of active learning and critical thinking, furthering student inquiry and connections with the materials. Teachers can use technology to enable students to explore fundamental curriculum issues and answer core questions. Students can use the Internet, electronic databases, applets and other online sources to gather information. They can use spreadsheets, virtual labs, and other programs to store, organize, and analyze information. Students can also integrate multimedia desktop publishing, web publishing, video and audio editing, as well as graphics programs to create and present information in innovative and engaging ways.

There are scores of educators and researchers deeply concerned with how our schools, largely the product of 19th century industrial society, are going to prepare students for the 21st century. Researchers like Howard Gardner (2006), Tony Wagner (2008), Henry Jenkins (2007), Frank Levy and Richard Murnane (2004), and others have produced a lists of the skills and competencies for our students in the future. While the lists and frameworks are diverse, they all tend to recognize a few major competencies: creativity, critical thinking, cross-cultural communication and collaboration, and digital age literacy. To develop these skills, we need classrooms where students are working in teams and using technology to build creative, meaningful content that reflects their understanding and learning. In these environments, teachers act often as facilitators and mentors rather than always fonts of authoritative knowledge. These classrooms are dramatically different from the ones where our most current teachers grew up, apprenticed, and taught. As a result, helping teachers effectively use new technology to support innovative, student-centered, inquiry-based learning will involve leveraging these emerging technologies.

General Science Resources

More than 600 universities distribute lectures, slideshows, PDFs, films, exhibittours and audiobooks are available through the iTunesU Store. The Science section contains multimedia content on topics including agriculture, astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, ecology and geography.
PBS provides a great source of information and activities on a myriad of topics. This online compilation offers an assortment of lessons and activities for educators and students alike. The Media Infusion Blog in particular showcases strategies and resources to help teachers create engaging learning experiences using multimedia. Other science sites from PBS include:

MIT Blossoms
Initially seeded by MIT faculty members, this website has since partnered with educators in Jordan and Pakistan to create a large, free repository of video modules for high school math and science classes.

5 TED Talks on Science
Five "mind-blowing" presentations on the world of science.

Wolfram Alpha
Much like Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, in essence, is never really complete. It is a computational search engine (unlike general "textual" search engines like Google) that provides mathematical, logical, and factual responses to search items. Wolfram is particularly helpful in mathematics and science research for understanding terms, rules, laws, and statistical analysis.

Much like Google, Refseek is an extensive search engine, but strips out non-scientific and non-academic results for more educationally applicable resources. Search “flowers” in Refseek vs. Google to see the difference.

Learning Futures Summit

Scratch is a website created by MIT to provide a simple programming language for younger students to utilize and create their own websites, animations, and story-telling. Visit the main Scratch community site, where people can share and browse Scratch projects created by their fellow community members. You can also get help fripadom the Scratch forums, and find out about upcoming Scratch events.

Science Netlinks
Science Netlinks provides resources for K-12 science educators and standards-based online experiences for students. Check out the Lessons page for helpful and engaging internet lesson plans for all different sciences.

PhET Simulations
The PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado provides a free website of research-based simulations that are designed to support student learning through active engagement. It features simulations such as Energy Skate Park, Salts and Solubility, Gas Properties, Density, Circuit Construction Kit, and Build an Atom.

BrainPop – Science
A very creative and engaging animated website for students between middle and early high school level. BrainPop provides a wide variety of curriculum-based content in an accessible and fun format, and is a highly recommended and extensive resource for teachers and students.

Molecular Workbench
Molecular Workbench features visual, interactive, critical-thinking simulations and course modules provided by the Concord Consortium. By clicking on the “Showcase” link, one has access to hundreds of problem animations and example simulations from a variety of textbooks and academic websites in the subjects of physics, chemistry, biology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

Natural and Cultural History Activities and Lesson Plans
The “teaching resources” section of the Interactive Earth website lists a variety of online natural and cultural history lesson plans and activities for teachers to use in web-based classrooms. Many of these lesson plans come with interactive games for students to engage in as well.

Science Daily
Science Daily is a well-established news website for the latest information on scientific research and resources for all levels of interest. It includes popular articles, videos, images, book recommendations, and more. Topics include health & medicine, the mind & brain, plants & animals, earth & it’s climate, space & time, matter & energy, computers & math, and fossils & ruins. A good example of a featured news story is the “Little Shop of Physics.”

Turning the Pages
The British Library’s online gallery provides access to engaging, interactive virtual tours of classic books. The library includes science-related works such as Elizabeth Blackwell’s Botanical illustrations, Vesalius’s stunning 16th Century anatomy history, and scientific sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci. Many of these works represent perfect examples of classic scientific journals and illustrations of the past.

Kinetic City
Kinetic City is an online collection of interactive Science Experiments, Games and Projects for late elementary/early middle school grade level. Although the games in general are very rudimentary in nature, after completion, be sure students click on the “Learn More” feature that goes into a succinct yet informative explanation of the topics summarized in the activities.

Skoool Math & STEM
Skoool is an online learning and teaching technology tool dedicated to student development through middle and high school age levels. By providing interactive science and math activities, students can not only explore material currently being covered in their classrooms but can expand on their learning for the future as well. The Teachers section includes skill development, a technology literacy review, using ICT in mathematics, and issues in building schools and curricula. Main subjects include Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, as well as Exam A and B prep (for students in the U.K.).

MyExperiment makes it easy to share digital items, workflows, and other objects associated with your scientific research with colleagues and communities. Although it requires registration, for more advanced students, this website provides a great opportunity to see what research is currently being done on topics of interest.

Science Alive! wiki
Although most wikis in science education seem to be created by teachers for teachers, Science Alive! was created by two middle school students for the benefit of other students. For each experiment they undergo, students write an introduction to the experiment, an overview of previous knowledge about the topic, discuss thoughts and questions from themselves and others, and talk about what they have learned in the experiment.

Science and Technology of World War II
This highly impressive online exhibit of science and technology of WWII contains an animated timeline, activities (such as sending encrypted messages), expert audio responses to science and technology questions, lesson plans, quizzes, introductory essays, a virtual field trip, and more. Explore not only the applications of science and mathematics during WWII, but also discuss the real-world ethical and moral implications of their uses.

Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden Tour
Although this virtual tour is aimed towards younger students (elementary ages), the interactive landscape of this Garden Tour also provides teachers with mini lesson plans and activities involving a variety of maps and videos.

TED: Science
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading, often hosting conventions, talks, and speaker series aimed to promote new ideas in areas of Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Global Issues, and Science. On the bottom left of the homepage, under “Show Talks Related To,” click on “Science” to see the latest in science presentations and discussions.

Twenty Four Seven Science!
This kid site from the Lawrence Hall of Science provides projects, activities, and games for young science students. The Citizen Science Activities provide interactive ways for students to experiment, design, and discover about the world around them. An Educator's Page is in the works as well.

Physics & Mathematics

Physics Central
The American Physical Society presents this student-oriented hub of information on physics – how it works, why it’s important, and how we can apply it to current events. By providing examples of physics in action, famous people in physics, pictures, podcasts, a writer’s gallery, and an “ask & experiment” feature, Physics Central creates an in-depth interactive community that is fun and accessible to students. In particular, Physics in Pictures features exciting illustrations of nature’s physical beauty as well as humankind’s ingenuity.

Math, Physics, and Engineering Applets
This site provides some educational java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering. Topics include oscillations and waves, acoustics, signals, electricity and magnetism, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and more. Be sure to check out the bottom of the homepage as well for an impressively extensive list of other resources in Physics and other science and math fields.

MyPhysics Lab
MyPhysics Lab does not just provide a large variety of classic physics simulations using Java, but also includes puzzles, puzzle answers, physical explanations (including different methods), definitions, numerical solutions, analytical solutions, as well as the ability to adjust the size and speed of each simulation. This site is a perfect resource for in-class supplementary material, as well as individual student work.

Peanut Software
The “Peanut Software Homepage” provides several open source applications used to draw mathematical graphs in a coordinate system. Click on each of the options to see what they are used for and download them for free.

AP Physics wiki
This detailed teaching wiki from a Massachusetts high school teacher provides not only resources and experiments from his AP Physics class, but also showcases links to archived assignments and references for teachers. Be sure to click under “Experiments” for detailed lesson plans and instructions on student projects. is a guide to all things physics provided by the Physics in Society team at the Institute of Physics. Search from over 4,000 handpicked physics websites, read special features, play games, ask questions, try an experiment, search news articles relating to physics, and get help on homework and useful study tips. Check out the “Explore” page for highly rated websites related to Physics or the “Study” page for experiments and study-help separated by high school and college level courses.

The Physics Classroom
Developed as an online tutorial for high school physics students, The Physics Classroom is an impressive tutorial covering everything from basic to more advanced physics topics in an organized and accessible manner. Teachers will find the breakdown of each lesson and sub-lesson helpful, as well as the site’s ability to link topics from current and past subjects (an essential feature in the study of the physical world). As well as detailed lessons, students can access the “Mind on Physics” section for over 1300 carefully constructed questions to help understand basic concepts in the classroom. As well as photo galleries, animations, problem sets, and curriculum ideas, The Physics Classroom is a highly valuable resource for any high school physics teacher.

Rader’s Physics4Kids
An introductory site to Physics for younger students, Physics4Kids provides a resourceful, informative website to explore topics such as motion, heat, electricity, light, modern studies, and more. Check out the sections at the bottom of the homepage for activities and quizzes, as well as real-world examples of physics in action.

NOVA | Physics & Math
This webpage presented by NOVA is a helpful link between the studies of Physics and Mathematics, often undermined in practices. Read articles, audio stories from physicists, expert Q&A, interviews, and episodes of a physics & math series produced by NOVA teachers. Explore mysterious dark matter, unbroken coded structures, and nuclear chemists’ quest for new elements.


Middle School Chemistry - big ideas about the very small
A webpage created by the American Chemical Society (ACS), Middle School Chemistry is a collection of activities, multimedia, resources, and detailed lesson plans for teaching chemistry to middle school students. Lesson plans from several chapters include matter, changes of state, density, the periodic table, bonding, water properties, and chemical reactions.

Chemistry Education - American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society’s Education Center provides an enormous amount of resources for teachers and students alike. Explore chemistry resources for high school through graduate level studies, including textbook/homework help, fun games and puzzles, and current event resources for research and student projects.

Rader’s Chem4Kids
Chem4Kids is a resourceful, informational website for students of elementary and middle school ages to explore topics such as matter, the atom, elements and their properties, reactions, biochemistry and more. Check out the sections at the bottom of the homepage for activities and quizzes, as well as real-world examples of chemistry in action.

Chemistry Lecture Notes
This database created by a biochemistry professor from RPI outlines 20 chapters of chemistry and biochemistry lecture notes in tremendous detail - from basic atomic structures to organic chemical processes. Click on “Educator Resources” at the top of the page to see lab experiments, chemistry tests, and access to interactive tutoring software for student help.

Chemistry Guide
Chemistry Guide is customized search engine and directory of chemistry related sources on the Internet. Click on any of the subtopic links towards the bottom of the page for a more specified search. Also check out their Top 10 Chemistry websites link at the top of the page for the best-reviewed sites.

ChemGame is an extensive chemistry game for students in middle school and high school to refine their chemistry skills in a fun, interactive way. Your goal: Rescue 12 of the most famous chemists in history by completing 12 levels based on different topics in basic chemistry (Balancing Equations, Moles, Acids and Bases, Equilibrium, and more).


This online library from Nature Publishing Group offers classroom resources and learning tools in topics such as genetics, cell biology, and evolution. Options include building learning paths and personal online classrooms, as well as an ask the expert feature staffed by PhD students. Scitable is routinely peer-reviewed for journal-level quality, but also allows opportunity for personal student development on their student blogs page:

Extreme Biology
Ms. Baker’s Biology class may be just a blog, but Extreme Biology has quickly become a highly visited and resourceful compilation of a New England High school teacher’s lesson plans and activities for her biology class. This engaging science blog is both informative and accessible to students, and serves as a model for classrooms looking to explore the world of blogging.

The Virtual Body
A virtual tour of the human body produced by MEDtropolis. Detailed descriptions, animations, images, and narrated tours present the brain, skeleton, heart, and digestive tract in an informative way. *Tip: The font for this website has generally been very small in the past, so be sure to enlarge the text from your menu bar!

Biology in Motion
Biology in Motion is an online resource of exhibits and activities created by Dr. Saul. He includes animations, interactive activities, and cartoons designed to make learning biology a richer, more engaging experience. Be sure to check out the “Tips for Teachers” section for useful advice on using technologies in the classroom.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
As one of the leading research institutes in the world, MBARI is consistently dedicated to furthering multicultural, interdisciplinary collaboration in the marine sciences. Explore exciting current research, as well as MBARI’s collection of data and image galleries. Under the “News and Information” heading, be sure to check out the “Education” section for internship and career information, educational webpages, seminar series, and MBARI’s very own “Education And Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH),” a long-term teacher workshop program that will give educators complete access to real-time and near-real-time data in the classroom.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Teacher’s Place
It is no secret that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is often hailed as the best aquarium in the world. Its dedication to research, public awareness, activism, and education has made it a benchmark in the ocean sciences and is a favorite visit for ocean-lovers. This section of the MBA website, “Teacher’s Place” provides trip-planning, teacher/student programs through the aquarium, an educator newsletter, as well as a host of classroom resources (located on the right side of the page) including games, self-guided exploration, ocean explorer guides, curriculum/lesson plans, and much more.

Census of Marine Life
For anyone even remotely interested in the wonders of the world’s oceans, COML is an invaluable resource. Click on the link above for the Census’ image galleries and witness astounding photography of newly discovered, alien-like species of the deep ocean. For more information, check out “Census Resources” at the top of the page for educational and program resources. COML’s video galleries, publications, and research are also available for public viewing.

Courseworld: Biology References
Although this site is a bit scarce in design, Courseworld is a great resource for high school biology teachers. Click on the articles sections on the left side of the page to get a list of chapter topics with lessons and sub-lessons within each. Each lesson is clear and concise, and the Ocean section in particular provides visually engaging and properly cited slideshows for each of its topics. Overall, this is a good resource for overviews of biology topics and lessons for teachers.

Environmental & Earth Sciences

Science Courseware project
This interactive, online simulations project produces activities for the life sciences or earth science field study laboratories. The site allows students to be hands-on without physically being in a lab, and prompts students to make inquiries and ask questions about the material they are learning.

Teaching with Google Earth
Not since the creation of Google itself has anything truly demonstrated its wealth of knowledge towards the public quite like Google Earth. As a vast virtual geographic simulation, it has come to be used for finding locations, analyzing terrain, and even taking a look into the past using archived satellite photography. For Earth Sciences especially, Google Earth has allowed geologists to map transects, calculate changes in terrain over time, and plot geologic hazards in a matter of minutes. This section outlines potential uses of Google Earth for students and teachers, shows how to get started, provides a user guide, and offers examples.

EcoKids is an award-winning website for kids that teaches about the environment through interactive, fun and educational games and activities. Categories include wildlife, climate change, energy, exploring the north, water, waste, land use, the first nations, and the inuit community. Be sure to check out the EcoKids Teacher’s Lounge at the top of the home page. Sign-up for a free account and receive access to lesson plans, printable handouts, activity sheets, as well as class kits and resources for working with ESL students.

The USGS and Science Education
The U.S. Geological Survey Education website provides info on natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues affecting quality of life. Not only does it feature lessons, data, maps, support teaching, and support learning for education (K-12), but it also provides up-to-date inquiry and research for more advance students at the university level. Some highlights include GIS Lesson Plans, USGS Fact Sheets, podcasts and online lectures for teachers.

Teaching with GIS in the GeoSciences
It is hard to imagine our current level of expansive scientific resources without GIS (Geographic Information Systems). GIS represents a graphical, analytical, computer-based means of exploring and developing data. This section of “Starting Point: Teaching Entry Level Geoscience” introduces teachers to applications, methods, and reasons for integrating GIS in Education. Although primarily geared towards undergraduate students, this resource can be a good starting point for anyone interested in learning more about GIS and it’s uses.

The Ecological Society of America
The ESA is a nonprofit science organization founded in 1915 devoted to the promotion and appreciation of the ecological science community. It’s website provides a vast amount of science resources from other organizations, as well as it’s contributions to news and media. Check out “Educator Resources” and “Student Resources” under the “Education and Diversity” section to learn more about the ESA, other organizations, and meetings and conventions.

Discovery: Environmental Lesson Plans
Provided by the Discovery Channel online, these Environmental Studies Lesson Plans are just a few examples of the many lesson plans that Discovery has to offer. Separated by K-5, Middle School, and High School lesson plans, teachers can search based on specific topics, grade levels, and student interests. Although there is only a small selection on this page, be sure to the click the Lesson Plans link under the “Teachers” tab at the top of the page for many more resources.

EPA Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans
This page produced by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists an array of environmental and science based lesson plans, activities, and experiments. Play games, get homework help, get involved in community service, participate in earth day, and much more. Click on any of the EPA or External resources listed on the page, and be directed to several different lesson plans and activities for each one.

Space Science - Astronomy & Astrophysics

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration provides an impressive slew of resources for educators, students, and the public that is both accessible to all ages as well as richly informative. The For Educators section includes galleries, videos, podcasts, and more. The For Students section also offers research tools, podcasts, Facebook pages, videos, and interactive activities.
Space contains a massive repository of knowledge including space flight mission information and space-related technologies. Check out videos of solar eruptions or view photographic galleries of Saturn’s rings. A weekly video series entitled, “This Week in Space,” provides information on recent events in Space exploration and study. Other provided links include:

Rader’s Cosmos4Kids
Cosmos4Kids is a resourceful, informational website for students of elementary and middle school ages to explore topics in astronomy such as the universe, galaxies, stars, systems, solar system details, exploration and more. Check out the sections at the bottom of the homepage for activities and quizzes, as well as real-world examples of astronomical science in action.

Space Science Institute – Resources for Educators
The Space Science Institute (SSI) is a nonprofit organization formed in 1992 dedicated to the betterment of research and education collaboration. This “Resources for Educators” page lists good resources and games for astronomy and space science for middle and high school students. In particular, check out current SSI research projects on the right side of the page.

The Space Place
This NASA sponsored student website is a great resource for students in middle school and high school interested in space science and astronomy. The “Parents and Educators” section provides an extensive list of resources including other websites, activities and lesson plans for the classroom, newsletters, games, image galleries, question and answer forums, and much more.

Medicine & Nanoscience

UVA Virtual Lab Website / Hands-on Intro to Nanoscience Class Website
This virtual lab website created by the University of Virginia offers an introduction to Nanoscience with a large backlog of resources. Among them include online homework help for high school students, college freshman, and upper division college students. Virtual Lab also guides students through 50 experiments presented with text and vivid animations in order to explain the processes and designs behind things like semiconductors and generators.

EdHeads creators believe that the internet represents a powerful and innovative educational tool, and that teachers should promote student educational exploration outside of the classroom. EdHeads helps students learn through educational games and activities designed to meet state and national standards. Featured activities include virtual hip and knee replacements, stem cell research, brain surgery, and prosthetic research.

Since 2000, GetBodySmart has been an online anatomy & physiology textbook using animations and in-depth explanations to describe the functions of the human body. Be sure to check out the “Histology” section for several links to well-received medical professional websites, as well as the “Anatomy and Physiology Quizzes” section for helpful teacher resources.

Clinical Diagnosis Search Engine
This customized search engine powered by Google was created by an anatomy and physiology teacher. Much like Google Scholar, this customized search engine will only produce medical and professional research results for anything from the common cold to rare viruses.

This online anatomy guide for middle to early high school students is designed to provide an interactive experience exploring the numerous systems of the human body. Sponsored by Lumosity, learn about the human body, in particular the brain, and how it is responsible for visual recall, spatial reasoning, problem solving, stress, reaction time, language acquisition, and much more. Just for fun, try the “Brain Training Games” listed on the left side.

The Anatomy & Physiology Place
An invaluable resource for students, the Anatomy & Physiology Place is an online accompaniment database for textbooks published by Pearson. Click on any of the textbooks to see their online versions, with additional quizzes, chapter outlines/summaries, and graphics.

Learning Futures Summit

iPad Apps

Recently, iPads have taken center-stage in schools looking to move towards 1-to-1 learning environments or mobile platforms. The resources below come from a Diigo feed that EdTechTeacher maintains. The most recent resource will always appear at the top of the list.

With computers, mobile devices, projectors and Interactive White Boards becoming more common in American classrooms, teachers have increasingly greater opportunities to bring multimedia resources into the classroom. Whether creating a presentation to guide student learning, or showcasing a video to illustrate a new concept, presentations and multimedia add a new dimension to the classroom.

When talking about integrating multimedia into the curriculum, we encourage teachers to think beyond PowerPoint or just showing a video. Students can now easily create comics, tell digital stories, create movies, and publish podcasts. The articles on this page provide tutorials, samples, and best practices for you and your students.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. We understand that and have brought together some technology integration projects and activities that engendered student creativity and empowerment. Each one incorporates a different type of multimedia.

Read more: Innovative Lesson Plans with Media

Spring Webinars

We have an incredible line-up of FREE, live webinars for spring.

  • 4/8 - All Things Google!
  • 4/15 - Leading Change in 1:1 Classrooms
  • 4/24 - Technology in Humanities Classrooms
  • 4/29 - Games Are Good for You!
  • 5/6 - Creation and Collaboration Tools for the BYOD Classroom

>>Registration is Open!