The Secret Is Out — Free Resources That Will Engage Your Students

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Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Rita Mortenson  
Take your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world’s most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences. Blast off to the Johnson Space Center, learn about careers in the NBA or join EA Sports to learn about the magic behind Madden NFL.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None. All information is free on the internet.
Topic: Open educational resources
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

"The purpose and objectives of this presentation are to:
1. Provide participants access to free, high quality resources, including virtual field trips.
2. Provide participants access to free, high quality contests that their students can participate in.
3. Participants will explore a library of resources for lesson plans, virtual labs, and games.

The rising cost of textbooks and the push for digital equity is changing the landscape of pedagogy. For today's teachers, finding free resources that are standards aligned as well as engaging for students can be a challenge. We will share a variety of ideas and resources that we use in our schools without spending a dime on good content. Participants will explore resources from virtual field trips to digital labs to contests that engage students in active learning. We will also provide a library of lesson plans and tools for differentiation aligned to lexile and quantile frameworks that are easy to implement in every classroom. If it's FREE, It's for ME! "


"- Intro. (5 min.)
- Overview of Resources (10 min.)
- Have participants engage in one of the field trips as they would do with their students (15 min).
- Hands on time to look over resources (10 min.)
- Time to share and explore free contests and other resources. (10)
- Bringing it home. Strategies to successfully implement content when in the classroom (10 min).

In this session, I will engage participants right away with virtual field trip resources and strategies to increase student participation with backchannel discussions by modeling how it looks in their own classroom. I will roll into a variety of virtual labs and games through a high energy exchange among presenters. I will wrap up with a more serious discussion on resources that align to most states data measures such as lexile and quantile frameworks and share our top 3 resources for differentiation. Participants will wrap up with a digital collection of FREE resources that will rock their world!"

Supporting research

"Due to the rising cost of textbooks and the expanding access to digital resources, OER is becoming a platform for educators everywhere to deliver the most current and engaging instruction. Please browse some current research on the OER movement:
“Getting Started with OER.” OER and Low Cost Materials at Penn State,
“OER Research Toolkit.” Open Education Group,

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Rita Mortenson, Verona Area High School
ISTE Certified Educator