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Ideas for eLearning!

Monday, March 16, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning - eLearning

Thanks to advancements in technology and all the online resources available, social distancing does not have to mean breaks in learning. Although learning may look different for a short period of time, eLearning provides wonderful opportunities for innovation outside the traditional classroom setting. Read on to learn more!

Free Pilots

Many ed-tech companies are providing free pilots and access to their programs to support schools during this time. Companies like MangaHigh, who provide adaptive, game-based ELA and math programs for students in grades K-12, are offering full, free access to their programs over the next 60 days. Other programs that support tech-rich and distance learning such as Kahoot, Nearpod, and Zoom are allowing full access to their premium packages for a limited time.

Literacy platforms such as LightSail and CommonLit provide a library of thousands of books, articles, and resources in English and Spanish and are now available to schools for free. Online reading programs allow students access to books without having to go to the library or bookstore.

Now is the time to enhance or build your digital curriculum with support programs! Don’t be afraid to contact ed-tech companies and request a free trial or pilot for your school during these next couple of months. Think of these opportunities as ways to try programs that you would not normally access for free.

Digital Classroom Platforms and Communication

Online classroom platforms like Google Classroom are free, accessible, and user-friendly. Teachers can share information, assign lessons, and link websites, presentations, and videos through Google Classroom. These programs also offer gradebook features and easy ways to communicate with parents via email.

Other free communication programs such as Class Dojo allow teachers to communicate easily with parents and share announcements, resources, and assignments with students. Class Dojo is also available via app, so parents and students do not need a laptop or desktop computer to easily access it.

Offline Resources

ELearning can become difficult if students have limited access to the internet and devices. Companies like Curriculum Associates, creators of the adaptive math and ELA program iReady, have uploaded printable packets to their website. These packets cover content in reading and math for grades K-8.

Students who have access to devices can access the packets via pdf and write their answers on a separate sheet of paper. For students who do not have access to devices, teachers can print the ready-to-go packets and send them home with their students.

Encourage Physical Activity

It is easy to forget the importance of taking breaks and physical activity for students. Use eLearning as an opportunity to get creative! Assign students a block of time for physical activity or brain breaks.

A fun idea is to use a program like Flipgrid to assign a brain break or dance/exercise party. Flipgrid allows teachers to create a topic (via video) and have students respond by posting video responses. Student responses create a grid that is visible to everyone in the class making it a fun way to interact and use technology to bridge the physical connection gap. Imagine students recording themselves happy dancing and posting to Flipgrid. What an easy way to infuse some joy and movement into your eLearning!

Apps like GoNoodle provide thousands of movement and mindfulness videos for students grades PreK-5. This program not only allows for physical activity and exercise breaks, but it also provides resources and activities that support social-emotional learning and help students process and identify their emotions.

Resource Guide

Our Higher-Powered Learning Team put our heads together and created a resource guide with brief descriptions of free programs and resources to support your eLearning needs. Please share with your schools and anyone who can benefit from it! We are also available to answer any questions and provide any support you may need. Reach out to us at with any additions, suggestions, or questions you may have!

Above all, it is of the utmost importance to protect our children’s mental and emotional health while continuing their learning journeys. Let’s look at the recent events as opportunities to encourage creativity in our children, make lasting memories, and bond with our families. May God bless and keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

About the Author

Francesca Varga

Francesca Varga

Francesca Varga served as the Associate Program Director of Blended Learning for the Higher Powered Learning team and the Alliance for Catholic Education. 

Francesca came to ACE after teaching for nine years from Penn High School where she served as an English teacher, instructional coach, and team leader. Prior to that, she served as a high school English teacher at Schmucker Middle School and Washington High School in South Bend, Indiana, where she focused her practice serving at-risk and underrepresented populations of students.    

Francesca is originally from New Mexico and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in English and her teaching license from Saint Mary's College. She earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Design from Indiana Wesleyan University, and her Administrative license through Ball State University.