The web is a great source of free information and resources for aspiring teachers, professors, and school administrators ― provided they know where to look.
Open-access journals, open courseware, online magazines, teacher-to-teacher networking sites, and other web-based resources offer numerous benefits for students of education programs. Since these materials are posted online, they are accessible anytime of day or night with a few clicks of a mouse. Many of these sites also offer a wide range of platforms ― articles and blog posts, videos and interactive games, and customizable lesson plans, to name a few ― that cater to educators specializing in certain subjects or teaching at specific grade levels. And most importantly, these resources are free-of-charge to anyone who wishes to access them.
Open Access Journals (OAJ)
Historically, academic journals have only been accessible to students, college faculty members, and paid subscribers. But in recent years, many online journals have shifted to an open-access format. These publications feature the same peer-reviewed studies and articles as their traditional counterparts, but readers are able to view all current and archived entries free-of-charge.
The following open-access journals (OAJs) concentrate on relevant issues for today’s teachers, professors, and education students; we’ve categorized them into five groups: child development, early childhood education, elementary school, high school, and postsecondary school.
- Education Next: This OAJ from takes a closer look at the policies, reforms, and current trends in U.S. public education (K-12). The journal is published quarterly, and archived issues date back to 2001.
- Creative Education: This publication from Scientific Research Open Access explores classroom technology, alternative lesson plans, and other unconventional (yet effective) methods for instructing learners of all ages. The journal is currently published on a monthly basis, and special issues appear throughout the year.
- International Education Studies: This OAJ from the Canadian Center of Science and Education takes a global focus to examine standards and trends in child development that exist throughout the world. Recent articles have discussed college students in Malaysia, special needs learners in Spain, and Iranian students learning to speak French.
- Child Development Research: Hosted by the Hindawi Publishing Corporation, this OAJ explores different aspects of cognitive, physical, and psychological development among young children, as well as strategies for parents and teachers.
Early Childhood Education
- Early Childhood Research & Practice: First launched in 1998, this OAJ includes strategies for effectively teaching young children fundamental subjects like math and literacy, reports on burgeoning and experimental therapies for special needs learners, and tips for parents of young learners.
- International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education: Special education is a field that encompasses all learning levels, and studies have found that early intervention with special needs students is key for enabling them to ‘catch up’ with their peers. The INT-JECSE was founded in 2009, and articles published in the journal explore classroom and home-based teaching methods for both educators and parents of special needs students.
- Journal of Applied Research on Children: This OAJ focuses on child health and psychology ― two subjects of great concern to today’s parents and early childhood educators. Topics of discussion include pediatric medicine and treatment, risk factors for young members of the community, and cognitive therapy methods for special needs learners.
- International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education: This international OAJ emphasized “learning, development, instruction and teaching at elementary level.” The journal is published three to four times per year, and the website’s archive dates back to 2008.
- International Journal of Elementary Education: Not to be confused with the previous entry, this journal primarily focuses on educational theory and the way different theories shape both educational policy and teacher practices. The journal, which first appeared in 2012, is published up to five times per year.
- Frontiers in Developmental Psychology: This monthly OAJ addresses the latest news and trends related to developmental psychology. Although this field has applications for adults and children of all ages, many of the articles discuss classroom techniques, learning disabilities, and other topics of great interest to teachers of K-8 students.
- Childhoods Today: This British journal is dedicated to promoting journal entries and articles about childhood development and education that have been written by college students. Previously published pieces include “Children Learning to Negotiate Unwritten Social Rules through Play,” “Ethics in Child Research: Children’s Agency and Researchers’ ‘Ethical Radar’,” and “The morality of young children in their early years setting.”
- Perspectives on Urban Education: Produced by the Penn State University Graduate School of Education, this OAJ explores topics related to public school students who grow up and attend school in urban environments. Although all public school levels are discussed, high school education is the primary focus.
- Journal of Adolescent Health: The health and well-being of adolescent students is a constant area of concern for high school teachers. Bullying, peer pressure, sex education, and teen depression are among the central topics discussed in this monthly OAJ.
- Journal of Urban Mathematics Education: Mathematics tends to be the source of more consternation and confusion for students than any other subject taught in today’s high schools. This OAJ explores strategies for introducing fundamental concepts in algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and other high school-level math subjects without confusing or frustrating the learners involved.
- Adolescent Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics: Published annually, this OAJ looks at health concerns and risks common to high school students in the U.S. ― such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and mental illness ― as well as current trends in medicine and treatment.
- Educational Alternatives: This journal from International Scientific Publications discusses innovations in technology, classroom presentation, cognitive therapy, and other teaching strategies, as well as pedagogy and policy related to modern education.
- Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education: College students grow and develop just like their younger counterparts, and this OAJ from the U.K. explores “how students learn and how they make sense of academic conventions” when they enroll at a higher-learning institution.
- Current Issues in Comparative Education: The field of comparative education seeks to find connections (as well as dissimilarities) between learning institutions in different countries, states, cities, and school districts. This international OAJ (with an archive dating back to 1998) addresses contemporary trends related to comparative education.
- Higher Education Studies: The Canadian Center of Science and Education produces this bi-monthly OAJ that focuses on student and faculty performance, course instruction strategies, and administrative issues related to colleges and universities around the world.
Open Courseware (OCW)
In just a few short years, open courseware has revolutionized the way colleges and universities deliver academic lessons to students. These courses are taught by professors and faculty members from reputable institutions like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but students who wish to complete the course do not need to be enrolled at a particular institution. The curricula will be self-paced for some, while others adhere to a course schedule similar to those of traditional, ‘brick-and-mortar’ classes ― but in either case, open courses are completely free to anyone who wishes to access them.
- Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education (MIT): Prof. Eric Klopfer leads this project-based course that discusses the different ways learners of all ages absorb information that is delivered in a digital format (such as an interactive website or computer game). Strategies for creating and implementing these programs in the classroom will also be discussed.
- Concept-Centered Teaching (MIT): The success of most learners hinges on their understanding of key concepts in a given subject ― and this is particularly true in scientific fields. In this course from Dr. Melissa Kosinski-Collins, students will learn some effective strategies for conveying information about key science concepts to students of all ages.
- Media, Education, and the Marketplace (MIT): Co-taught by Mr. Manish Gaudi and Prof. Shigeru Miyagawa, this undergraduate course focuses on the intersection between education and technology in various parts of the world, with an emphasis on developing nations.
- The Torch or the Firehose: A Guide to Section Teaching (MIT): Mathematics professor Arthur Mattuck uses an education-oriented parable that first appeared in 1981 to inform students about the finer points of classroom engagement. The course focuses on strategies for improving the learning experience for students and teachers.
- How to Learn (Almost) Anything (MIT): Prof. Mitchel Resnick and Prof. Bakhtiar Mikhak lead this graduate course about the ever-growing presence of digital technology in contemporary classrooms ― as well as the tried-and-true methods of delivering instruction that have historically yielded positive results.
- Technologies for Creative Learning (MIT): Prof. Mitchel Resnick and his teaching assistant, Karen Brennan, delve into the LEGO Programmable Brick, Scratch software, Computer Clubhouse programs, and other emerging technologies that have made a considerable impact on modern education.
- Introduction to Education: Looking Forward and Looking Back on Education (MIT): Prof. Eric Klopfer and three assistants lead this survey course of science and math education for K-12 students. Historically significant educational reforms and policies, the intersection between technology and classroom instruction, and predictions for future learning will all be discussed at length.
- STAR: Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (MIT): MIT’s STAR program is at the forefront of scientific research technology, and this course explains how science teachers can foster an understanding and appreciation of digital research in their classrooms.
- Gifted and Talented Education: Seminar Series (UC Irvine): Students who display high levels of intellect demand a certain level of attention from their instructors. This course discusses methods that teachers, administrators, and parents can employ to properly serve gifted young people.
- Measurement and Education in the Social Sciences I (UC Berkeley): This two-part course is available in audio (Podcast) form, and free to download at the iTunes store. The first half of the course discusses the importance of social sciences (psychology, anthropology, etc.) as part of the public school curriculum, and strategies for teaching these topics to learners of all levels.
- Measurement and Education in the Social Sciences II (UC Berkeley): The second installment of this Podcast-based course discusses different metrics and measures for evaluating student progress in different social science classes.
- Educational Software (Delft University of Technology): Dr.Ir. W.P. Brinkman leads this self-paced undergraduate course that explores the creation, implementation, and evaluation of digital programs geared toward learners at different levels.
- Entertainment Education for Behavior Change (Johns Hopkins): Taught by Prof. Esta de Fossard, this course explains how entertainment education ― the use of games, interactive technology, and other ‘fun’ platforms ― can impact a young learner’s attitude, behavior, and state of mind.
- History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education (Duke & Coursera): Hosted by Coursera, this course is led by Duke University professor Cathy N. Davidson. Topics of discussion include the impact of the Industrial Age on public school systems, the role of technology in contemporary education, and innovative breakthroughs that stand to influence the way we teach and learn in the years to come.
- Student Thinking at the Core (Vanderbilt & Coursera): Vanderbilt University professors Barbara S. Stengel and Marcy Singer Gabella co-teach this Coursera-sponsored course. The two main emphases are ways to interpret how K-12 learners are absorbing and processing information, and using these interpretations to improve the way students retain facts and perform on tests.
- University Teaching 101 (Johns Hopkins & Coursera): Thie Coursera course is geared toward “higher education professionals, new Ph.D. graduates,” and other individuals who plan to instruct classes at the college level. Johns Hopkins professors Pamela R. Jeffries and David W. Andrews discuss different teaching methods, as well as faculty support systems, tenure, and other key aspects of the higher education profession.
- Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence (Case Western Reserve & Coursera): Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve University leads this Coursera-sponsored course that explores the concepts of emotional intelligence and resonant leadership. The data-driven curriculum uses research from psychologists and neuroscientists to delve into metaphysical qualities like “mindfulness, hope, and compassion.”
- Foundations of Virtual Instruction (UC Irvine & Coursera): This Coursera course is geared toward teachers with students between the ages of five and 18, as well as instructors at community colleges and vocational schools. UC Irvine professor Cindy Carbajal discusses the history of vitrual education, explains the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning, and explores ways for teachers to make the ‘digital shift.’
- Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the Knowledge Economy (University of Wisconsin, University of Bristol, & Coursera): Professors from two higher learning institutions ― Kris Olds from the University of Wisconsin and Susan L. Robertson from the University of Bristol ― lead this Coursera course. The main emphasis is the globalization of higher learning and academic research, particularly in developing nations.
Online Lesson Planning Resources for Teachers
Being a teacher is difficult enough as it is, without adding the extra pressure to constantly create innovative lesson plans. With free online lesson plan resources, teachers are able to take advantage of their fellow teacher’s creativity and effort. The websites listed below offer templates for future lessons, materials for a wide range of school subjects, and advice for teaching children and adults with different learning styles.
- Library of Congress: The official research library of the U.S. Congress hosts this website that provides classroom materials and professional development resources for teachers. Site offerings include lesson plans in 22 different school subjects, ideas for class presentations and activities, and packaged resources revolving around a common theme (Abraham Lincoln, Baseball, etc.)
- Share My Lesson: This site is designed as an “online community” for teachers of all grade levels to exchange ideas and materials for classroom lessons. Site offerings include teaching resources for all primary and secondary school learners (K-12), materials for ‘special populations’, and a section devoted to Common Core State Standards.
- The Teachers Corner: First launched in 1996, this Colorado-based site is a compendium of classroom management tips and free resources for teachers and parents. Site offerings include lesson plans for 10 different core subjects, printable worksheets, and ‘bulletin boards’ where visitors can post and read information.
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): The NCTE is a professional organization dedicated to the English teaching profession, and its official website includes an extensive archive of lesson plans in grammar, spelling, poetry writing and other English-oriented subjects, as well as resources for both literary and digital literacy and a Common Core Standards guide.
- SMART Exchange: In addition to core subjects like math, science, and geography, this online materials exchange also features lesson plans for library and informational science, English as a second language, and other niche subjects. An international site, SMART Exchange features materials and resources in 23 different languages.
- ReadWriteThink: ReadWriteThink is administered by a panel of educators and administrators who receive lesson plans, peer-review the submissions, and post them on the site. Materials are available for all students K-12, and organized into 17 different themes (such as STEM, Careers, and Physical Education).
- Discovery Education: In addition to lesson plans covering four core subjects (science, English, social studies, and math), this site provides age-specific resources like worksheets for K-5th grade learners, ‘Science Fair Central’ for middle schoolers, and a driving safety guide for high school students.
- Thinkfinity: Thinkfinity is an education-oriented online resource center maintained by the Verizon Corporation. In addition to an extensive blog and community forum, the site features a collection of mini-tutorials for teachers, such as ’50 Ways to Use Animation as a Teaching Tool’ and ’10 Ways to Inspire Your Colleagues as an Educator.’
- Scholastic: The Scholastic Press publshing company hosts this collection of general lesson plans for K-12 learners, as well as guides for teaching specific topics within core subjects (like ‘Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ and ‘Chinese Dragon Mask Craft.’) There are more than 7,000 different plans in this site’s archive.
- Teaching Channel: This network produces video tutorials that discuss different teaching strategies for students of all ages. More than 450,000 teachers have registered as users of the site, and the video archive contains 822 different clips.
- Promethean Planet: In addition to a compendium of games, worksheets, and classroom activities for students aged four and older, this catch-all teacher’s resource features a blog and community forum, online store, and information about professional development opportunities.
- TeachersPayTeachers.com: This online marketplace allows teachers and administrators to connect and, potentially, buy and sell lesson plans, software programs, and other goods and services from one another. ‘Top Sellers’ are listed on the homepage.
- TeacherVision: With more than 32,000 lesson plans in 10 core subjects (and more added each day), TeacherVision is one of the most expansive online resources for educators. The site also features materials for evaluating students of all ages and resources geared toward special needs learners.
- JumpStart: Lesson plans are categorized by both subject and grade level (elementary through postsecondary), and the site also offers printable worksheets and classroom activity guides. JumpStart also hosts games, a mobile networking platform, and a special site for mothers of school-aged children.
- Teachers First: First launched in 1998, this site strives to promote collaboration and idea exchanges between professional educators. All lesson plans on the site have been written, edited, and published by licensed teachers, and there are features that allow users to network and critique the materials.
In addition to free online resources that take advantage of technology to help future teachers and current teachers learn, there are still high value books widely available. In contrast to printed books, electronic books (or ‘e-books’) are relatively cheap and digitally accessible with most computers and mobile devices. We’ve compiled a list of highly rated, education-oriented e-Books currently available for $3 or less at the Amazon.com Kindle Store.
- Moral Principles in Education: Written in 1909 by John Dewey, one of the most notable educational reformers of the 20th century, this 40-page treatise discusses the benefits of a balanced educational system within a given society and touts the importance of progressive teaching methods.
- Growing Up Online: A Must Have Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Kids: Produced and distributed by the ‘More You Know’ campaign and NBC News, this work explores the future of education in an increasingly digital world. Topics of discussion include online literacy, classroom technology, and safety advice for parents and teachers with regard to Internet activity.
- An Educator’s Common-Sense Guide for a Successful School Year: This 2012 guide from Kay Chambers delves into methods for “establishing, explaining, and enforcing” positive classroom behavior and strong scholastic engagement among young learners.
- A Guide for Teachers and Parents of Children with special needs including Autism: This book, written by former special education teacher Cindy Stringer, is perfect for parents and teachers of special needs children. Stringer discusses parents’ rights, the IEP process and tips for a home life that is both happy and healthy.
- Become a Teacher: A Guide to Certification, Employment, and Incentives: This short, 23 page e-book discusses teaching as a profession, and offers tips for everything from how to pay back your student loans to how to secure a teaching job in the U.S. and overseas.
- Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and Parents: This e-book, by David Moursund, discusses how teachers, parents, grandparents and anyone else interested in education can apply fun and informative games to their educational offerings.
- Classroom Management (Teaching Guides): This classroom management guide, by teacher Dave Reaves, discusses good classroom management, and how not utilizing it can negatively affect the classroom environment. Simple rules, based on years of teaching experience, make up the bulk of this 34 page text.
- What Is Scientifically-Based Research? (A Guide for Teachers): This 12 page informational guide, by The National Institute for Literacy, instructs teachers on how to recognize scientifically-based research and apply that research to their classroom.
- e-Study Guide for: Collaborative Teacher Leadership: How Teachers Can Foster Equitable Schools: This e-book is simply a study guide for “Collaborative Teacher Leadership: How Teachers Can Foster Equitable Schools.” It offers an easily digestible summary of the text, as well as practice tests.
- Teachers Coach: Elizabeth Macmillan, the author of “Teachers Coach,” is the co-founder of Character Education Programmes of New Zealand and author of more than 30 educational resources. This e-book “is designed to help make teaching easier, faster and less burdensome.”
- Survival Guide for First Year Teachers – Strategies I Wish I had Learned About How to Teach and Manage Elementary School Students Before I Entered a Classroom: This e-book, by Rachel Kinloch , is the go-to resource for new teachers who need a little guidance navigating the world of education. It includes tips on how to plan and organize lessons; communicating with colleagues, students and parents; and most important, how to survive your first day of class.
- Practical Classroom Tips for New Primary (Elementary) Teachers: This easily digestible, 29 page guide aims to inform the reader of the common pitfalls and mistakes that new teachers experience and make.
- How to Use Do: A Guide for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers: This 104 page guide, written and illustrated by former ESL/EFL teacher R.E. Skibiski, teaches ESL/EFL students how to properly use the words “do,” “does” and “did.”
- Creative Writing: A Teacher’s Guide: Denise Howie, award winning author, has many years of experience running creative writing workshops for children and adults. In this e-book, Howie offers tips on student success for a variety of educators.
- Teen Depression: A Guide for Parents and Teachers: This guide exists to help parents understand teenage depression, so that they may seek and master the skills necessary to effectively help their child through depression, an illness that is much more widespread than people realize.
- School Success for Kids with Asperger’s Syndrome: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers: This guide is helpful for parents and teachers who must navigate the often difficulty territory of Asperger Syndrome. This 244 page e-book “covers topics such as recognizing and diagnosing Asperger’s syndrome, addressing the needs of students with Asperger’s, implementing successful practices in the classroom, working with the school system, and providing interventions in the home to help develop needed skills.”
- A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide: Getting Hired, Having Fun & Staying Sane: KT Spiegel, a teacher and author, put together this 96 page guide to help “wannabe” teachers stay sane through the hiring process and after.
- Homeschooling; An Essential Guide for Parents and Teachers: This e-book, by Wells Emery, was created to provide parents and teachers with a guide to homeschooling. It includes sample homeschooling curriculum and more.
- So You Want to Be a Community College Teacher?: Jim Wilhelm discusses, in his 166 page e-book, the community college atmosphere from the entertaining and often humorous perspective of a seasoned teacher. This book includes personal stories from community college teachers, as well as a “what to expect” guide that is explained semester-to-semester.
Online Magazines and Education News Websites
Online trade and industry magazines allow readers to stay up-to-date with the latest job-related trends, learn about relatively new strategies and technologies, and gain access to employment leads and employer contact information. These five magazines cater to teachers and professors of all grade levels.
- Education Week: Produced by Editorial Projects in Education, EdWeek covers a broad spectrum of topics related to classroom performance and testing, student habits and behaviors, education and training for teachers and professors, and burgeoning technology for learners at all levels.
- TEACH Magazine: TEACH Magazine is the largest national education periodical in Canada. Issues come out monthly in both French and English language versions, they are also archived on the site. Recurring sections of TEACH include a practical teaching component called CURRICULA and a column, Staffroom Perspectives, that consists of contributions from K-12 educators nationwide.
- School Arts Magazine: For over a century, Schools Arts Magazine has been providing professional support and inspiration for art and design teachers in the U.S. Today, of course, readers can access current and past editions of School Arts digitally. The magazine includes sections on art and design theory, instructional approaches and a recurring column called the “Student-Teacher Survival Guide”.
- Teacher Plus Magazine: Teacher Plus Magazine has been operated and owned by several different agencies and individuals since it was originally founded in 1989. During that time, the magazines format has undergone many changes, but its readership has remained largely the same. Now that each edition since 1999 has been archived and made accessible online, teacher audiences are growing.
- Radical Teacher: Radical Teacher is operated by a collective of educators nationwide. It is published tri-annually and focuses on issues related to educational equality. Readers can access the full archives of this journal for free online.
Membership with a professional organization has numerous benefits, such as access to printed and online materials, admission to nationwide conferences and seminars, and updates on professional development opportunities. Here are some of the organizations dedicated to teachers, professors, and school administrators. (Please note: public school teachers in the U.S. are classified as federal employees and belong to teacher’s unions, which are not the same as professional organizations, although they often serve the same purpose.)
- National Education Association: The NEA is the largest professional organization in the U.S., with 3 million members from more than 14,000 communities across the country. The organization’s website is divided into three sections: current events, tips and resources, and a calendar for grant deadlines and notable events. Membership is open to active and retired educators and school administrators, as well as students currently enrolled in education programs.
- Association of American Educators: This non-union organization was first launched 20 years ago, and today works to provide teachers with information about employment benefits (such as scholarships, grants, and insurance) and continuing education/ professional development opportunities. Membership costs $15 per month, or $180 per year.
- Association for Middle Level Education: This organization is dedicated to teachers whose students fall between the ages of 10 and 15. AMLE strives to help these educators “reach every student, grow professionally [and] create great schools.” Associate membership is free-of-charge; teachers, students, and schools are welcome to join for an annual fee starting at $49.99, $24.99, and $199.99, respectively.
- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: This organization is comprised of roughly 14,000 members from more than 2,000 schools and institutions across the U.S. and in 24 other countries. The overarching goal of the SAAHE is to improve and maintain the “advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.”
- National Association of Elementary School Principals: Membership with this association provides several benefits for primary school leaders and administrators, including legal defense, liability insurance, and access to academic publications and professional development leads. The site also features a library of teaching resources, a national events calendar, and applications for various grants and funding opportunities.
- National Association of Secondary School Principals: Quite similar to the previous entry, this association serves as an outlet where middle and high school principals can take part in advocacy work for different policies and initiatives, as well as download resource materials and learn about upcoming conferences and seminars. Members must be employed at a secondary institution in the United States or on a U.S. military installation.
- Association of Deans & Directors: The AD&D strives to create an online community of college deans and faculty administrators, and is “focused on improving the broad academic experiences of undergraduate students in higher education.” Membership is $175 per year, with an additional $25 for deans whose university colleagues would also like to be listed as AD&D contacts; representatives of non-member schools can be members for $95 per year.
- The School Superintendents Association: Founded nearly 150 years ago, the AASA today consists of more than 13,000 “chief executive officers, superintendents and senior level school administrators to cabinet members, professors and aspiring school system leaders” in the United States and across the globe. Although the association’s main goal is to promote policy and advocate for school improvements, the site also features a library of resources pertaining to campus safety, technological integration, and other chief concerns for school superintendents.
- Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education: The AACE was created more than 30 years ago to address the growing number of computers in public schools, and the increased presence of digital technology in classrooms across the globe has boosted the association’s membership in recent years. The site features a digital library featuring nearly 100,000 conference papers and articles from members. The AACE is a non-profit organization, so all subscription fees cover costs of building and maintaining the site.
State Certification Requirements
In the U.S., certification for public and private educators is regulated at the state level. To learn more about the requirements and conditions for teacher certification in your state, please locate the link in our alphabetically ordered list below: