Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Actively Learn - resources for middle and high school ELA, science, and social studies teachers, including interactive text and video assignments as well as PhET sims.

Actively Learn is an excellent resource for teachers and students, providing middle and high school teachers in ELA, Science and Social Studies, resources to help their students. Resources include interactive text to help reading comprehension, videos and simulations from PhET.

Here are two overview videos as well:
Teacher overview video
Student overview video

It offers a searchable catalog of thousands of free assignments with embedded media, standards-aligned questions, scaffolding notes, and Teaching Ideas to save teachers time and drive deeper learning for students. Any teacher can create a free Actively Learn account that never expires by going to

Let’s say a teacher is doing a unit on cells. That teacher can come to the Actively Learn Catalog and find the Cells Topic page, which includes a variety of assignments related to cells like textbook sections, high-interest articles, videos, and PhET simulations. All of these assignments have scaffolding notes in the margins to describe concepts that may be challenging to students and standards-aligned embedded questions.

A screenshot of an assignment in Actively Learn with embedded media and scaffolding notes:

With Actively Learn, teachers are in the driver’s seat. On a free plan, teachers can:
  • Customize any of the instruction in Actively Learn (edit questions or notes)
  • Upload any Google doc, website, video, or PDF and turn it into an interactive assignment with their own embedded questions and notes
  • Deliver feedback to students as they read and get real-time data on student reading progress

Students can:
  • Create annotations in the text, share their annotations with their peers, and respond to one another’s notes
  • Translate text into over 30 languages, hear text read aloud, look up words as they read, and read in “dyslexic mode”
Example of a student discussion in Actively Learn:

Some of the benefits of Actively Learn:

The instruction is designed to drive deeper learning. Questions are aligned to Depth of Knowledge and Common Core or state standards. It actually helps students to engage with their content instead of asking generic, “What’s the main idea?” questions. Scaffolding notes are designed to help fill gaps in background knowledge while students read so that they can make sense of their grade-level, rigorous texts.

Actively Learn:

  • is a one-stop-shop for teachers of ELA, social studies, and science. 
  • has a content catalog of novels, short stories, primary sources, science simulations, textbook articles, high-interest articles, videos, and more. 
  • has content organized into topic pages that give teachers a full suite of options for their core content needs.
  • saves teachers time by offering pre-created instruction and automatic grading for multiple choice questions. Teachers on the paid plan have access to suggested grades for short answer questions and can see student progress by standard and assignment type.
  • offers the flexibility for teachers to create their own assignments or modify any of the ones in our Catalog. 
  • integrates with Google Classroom and Canvas for even easier use by teachers.

Take a look and try it out:



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