100 Excellent Continuing Ed Sites for Teachers

Posted on August 04, 2009

By Donna Scott
As a teacher, your job is to provide knowledge to others, so it’s essential that your own learning is up to date. However, it’s not always easy to keep up with work and school at the same time. Fortunately, there are lots of resources you can take advantage of, and we’ve highlighted 100 of the best websites teachers can use for continuing education here.


Through these organizations, you’ll find useful learning resources.

  1. University Continuing Education Association: This association supports higher education for life.
  2. Association for Continuing Higher Education: This network is for leaders of lifelong learning.
  3. The National Guide of Community Schools of the Arts: Find an online searchable listing of arts schools that offer continuing education here.
  4. International Association for Continuing Education & Training: The IACET sets the standard for lifelong learning.
  5. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education: Become a part of this association to benefit from and support continuing education.

Blogs, Books & Advice

Check out these resources to find advice and more for teacher continuing education.

  1. The Academic Blog Portal: Use this portal to find educational blogs in a variety of different subjects.
  2. Learning Point: Check out these books that can improve your skills and knowledge as a teacher.
  3. Coolmath: On this site, you’ll find tips, resources, and more for teachers taking online continuing education courses.
  4. Distance Education: A Consumer’s Guide: Find advice for distance education in this guide.
  5. Deb’s Continuing Education Blog: Read this About.com blog to learn about online learning and more.
  6. Suite 101 Continuing Education: This blog explores tips and topics related to continuing education.
  7. Continuing Education: Tom Kaun’s blog offers news and resources for those involved in continuing education.
  8. Rick Osborn’s Continuing Education Blog: Read what Rick Osborn has to say about higher education, training, and related topics.

Distance Education

With these sites, you’ll be able to complete continuing education credits from wherever you are.

  1. ArmchairEd: You can earn university teaching education credits from home with this site.
  2. University of North Dakota: This university offers online degrees in counseling, leadership, instructional design and more.
  3. The eLearning Center: Find education in just about anything from the eLearning center.
  4. Promethean: Promethean can help you become a super teacher.
  5. Inspiring Teachers Webinars: Inspiring Teachers offers online webinars, perfect for busy teachers.
  6. Concept to Classroom: Find a variety of workshops from Thirteen on this site.
  7. JER Group: Get insight into behavior, learning environments, dealing with parents, and more with this school’s workshops.
  8. CE Credits Online: Get self-paced, standards-based continuing education from Seattle Pacific University.
  9. Online Learning at New Jersey City University: Find a variety of online workshops for teachers with New Jersey City University.
  10. Video Courses for Educators: Check out this site to find video courses for teachers.
  11. Continuing Teacher Education: The University of Phoenix offers online courses in just about any subject you may need.
  12. National University: Take one course per month with National University.
  13. Accredited Online Bachelors Degree: This site offers information on distance education generally as well as provides lists of free open courseware classes.
  14. The University of Western Ontario: You can take full distance courses in your home over the Internet from University of Western Ontario.
  15. Successful Schools: Find resources and online education from Effective Educational Practices.
  16. Eco-Psych: Find education and nature-ecopsychology learning online here.
  17. Western Governors University: You can earn a variety of degrees, certificates, and endorsement programs through Western Governors University.
  18. Virtual Education Software: VESi offers courses and professional development.

Topic Specific

These learning sites offer education in history, reading, technology, behavior, and much more.

  1. American Museum of Natural History: You’ll find online seminars on science from this museum.
  2. ADD Resources: Get free teleclasses from this ADD resource site.
  3. Parent Coaching Institute: Get parent coach training through this institute.
  4. Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools Online Workshops: Review these continuing education workshops online to learn about drug and violence prevention.
  5. T3 Professional Development: In T3, you’ll find quality professional development for math and science in the classroom.
  6. US Department of Education: Check out this site for safe and drug free school workshops.
  7. Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association: Learn the essentials of spotting drugs in the classroom from the NEOA.
  8. CeeBT: This website offers continuing education for European biology teachers.
  9. EcoPsych: On this site, you’ll find nature connected learning and healing.
  10. Brains.org: This site offers practical classroom applications of current brain research.
  11. Pharmacy Technician Certification: This site offers information on medical health and pharmaceuticals.
  12. Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Check out this society to find online workshops for astronomy learning.
  13. CEU4U: This site offers continuing education for grief, development, and special needs.
  14. Council for Exceptional Children: Check out this site to find web seminars on exceptional children.
  15. Youth Change: This site’s workshops offer problem-child problem solvers.
  16. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: This museum offers an online workshop for teachers to learn more about the Holocaust.
  17. First Year Teacher Course: Reading Rockets offers a self-paced free online course on teaching reading.
  18. Smithsonian Education: Here you’ll find a museum writing workshop from the Smithsonian.
  19. The Heritage Institute: This site works to educate for humanity and the world we want.

Development & Collections

Find collections designed for learning and development here.

  1. HotChalk: Get connected with Professional Development modules from McGraw-Hill.
  2. American Memory: See collections resources in a variety of topics from the Library of Congress.
  3. Teaching American History: Learn about this professional development program from the US Department of Education.
  4. Exploring Data: In this collection, you’ll learn about teaching statistics and data exploration.
  5. 4 Blocks Model: You can learn about the 4-Blocks Literacy Model through this regular column.
  6. ED Pubs: You can order free US Department of Education publications from this website.
  7. Inspiring Teachers Recommended Authors: This resource recommends a variety of quality authors for continuing teacher education.
  8. Engaging all Learners: This site offers a variety of activities for engaging learner types.
  9. Highly Effective Teaching: Through HET, you can learn about integrating curriculum through brain based learning systems.
  10. NOVA: Explore science through PBS’s NOVA resource.
  11. Teacher to Teacher Initiative: This initiative provides teachers with technical support, professional development opportunities, and recognition.
  12. CAUSEweb: Get resources for teaching statistics from this website.
  13. The Chance Project: This project will help you learn how to use current news for studying probability and statistics.
  14. Exploratorium: In this website, you’ll find an online museum for science, art, and human perception.
  15. Teacher Quality Enhancement: Use these grants to improve your teaching quality.
  16. WebQuests: With WebQuests, you’ll be able to get web based teaching education.
  17. National Writing Project: With this project, you’ll improve your writing skills as a teacher.
  18. Arts in Education: Use this program to improve your arts education for teaching.


These universities offer free and open courses for anyone, including teachers, to take.

  1. MIT: MIT’s OpenCourseWare is easily the most complete collection of open courses available online.
  2. Utah State University: Utah State University’s Open Courseware has research and literature courses for teachers.
  3. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: Check out Notre Dame’s collection of Open Course Ware to learn more about the topics that are important to your teaching.
  4. OpenCourseWare Finder: Use this website to locate open courses for continuing education.
  5. FETP OpenCourseWare: Become a part of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program through this OpenCourseWare.
  6. Open Yale: Get an Ivy League continuing education through Open Yale.
  7. Stanford on iTunesU: Get continuing education to go with Stanford on iTunesU.
  8. Tufts OpenCourseWare: In this collection of courses, you’ll find life sciences and more.
  9. UChannel: Find public affairs lectures, events, panels, and more from all over the world on Channel.
  10. Open Video Project: This directory is one of the largest directories of educational videos.
  11. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: The Open Course Ware at Johns Hopkins offers education in public health and more.
  12. Open Learn Learning Space Directory: Check out this collection to find great nuggets of information for learning as a teacher.
  13. OpenUW: Find courses on history, health, and beyond on OpenUW.
  14. World Lecture Hall: Through the World Lecture Hall, you’ll find free online course materials from around the world.
  15. Open Courseware Consortium: Find course materials for continuing education on the Open Courseware Consortium website.
  16. ArsDigita University: On this website, you’ll find useful computer science lectures, coursework, and exams.
  17. UC Irvine OpenCourseWare: Study economics, math, business, and much more through UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare.
  18. Open Learning Initiative: Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative covers math, science, and more.
  19. United Nations University: United Nations University offers courses designed to advance knowledge for human security, peace, and development.
  20. Sofia: Check out Sofia to find free intellectual assets you can use for continuing education.


Check out these communities to find great resources for continuing education and more.

  1. Ednet: Ednet discusses the Internet as a tool for education.
  2. K12Admin: This group is for K-12 school administrators.
  3. Projects-L: Join this list to discuss teaching via the project approach.
  4. Math-Teach list: In this list, you’ll learn about mathematics education.
  5. Edtech: Learn about educational technology with the Edtech listserv.
  6. Future Teachers Forum: Discuss education and more with future music education teachers on this forum.
  7. Middle-L: Share and learn about middle level education from this listserv.
  8. The Apple: This site is a great place for teachers to meet and learn.
  9. Teacher Educators’ Network: This network offers discussion on teacher education, inquiry-based learning, and more.
  10. LM_Net: Join LM_NET for library media networking.
  11. Ecenet-L: On this listserv, you can discuss early childhood education.

41 Ways to Hack Your Classroom With Google+

Posted on December 03, 2012

Google is such a great resource for classrooms, and with Google+, it seems that the possibilities are endless. There are just so many different ways to go bigger, better, and faster in your classroom with Google+! Check out our list to discover 41 ways you can hack your classroom with Google+, and share your ideas for Google+ classroom hacks in the comments.

  1. Targeted sharing in Circles:

    Add students, colleagues, even parents to Circles in Google+, and you can make sure that the right messages get to the right group of people.

  2. Circles of group projects:

    Google+ Circles make a great solution for temporary communication between group project members. Students can create circles for the projects, then easily communicate and share resources. When the project is done, the circle can be closed.

  3. News gathering through Sparks:

    One of the coolest Google+ features for educators is Sparks, which allows anyone to get a constant feed of targeted news and resources that can be shared with the class, colleagues, and more.

  4. Specialized student hangouts:

    Teachers can create Google+ Hangouts for students who are at different levels of education, offering one for those that need assistance, and another for more advanced students.

  5. Finding out what's nearby:

    Google+ for mobile offers plenty of learning opportunities, with a Near By View that highlights Learning Commons opportunities.

  6. Lesson plan sharing:

    Teachers can share lesson plans, photos, links, and videos with students, parents, and colleagues that are in the right Circles.

  7. Creating location-related homework:

    Want your students to head to the science museum? Require that they visit and post their location check in on Google+.

  8. Keeping classroom parents involved and informed:

    With a special Circle just for classroom parents, you can keep them in the loop without having to get up close and personal as a friend on Facebook.

  9. Special guest invitations:

    Bring experts from around the world into your classroom by inviting them into a Google+ Hangout.

  10. Set up collaborative calendars:

    Just about every classroom could benefit from a shared calendar, offering updates on assignments, events, and other important dates at school and beyond.

  11. Create collaborative documents, too:

    Google+ users can benefit from the ability to upload, edit, create, and share documents, and the service is a great place to host projects that require collaborative work.

  12. Bringing Google apps to one place:

    Google+ brings integration for all of the other Google apps, including Gmail, Picasa, and Google Docs, so the service is a great way to get everything all in one place.

  13. Tracking participation with +1:

    The Google+ +1 is such a simple thing to do that teachers can use it to track which students are reading posts. Some teachers require students to +1 each post so that they can keep track of who is engaging on Google+ and who isn't.

  14. Downloading data when class is over:

    Google+'s Data Liberation feature isn't talked about often, but it's perfect for students who want to retain what they've learned while still enjoying privacy. With this feature, users can download and remove all of the information from all or part of their account, so when class is over, they can gather all of their information and then leave the Circle.

  15. Exploring a culture:

    Google+ can be used to study a city or country based on what's available through the service. Students can find YouTube videos, updates on local events, and highlight important people in the area.

  16. Host remote classes:

    For students who just can't make it to the classroom, Google+ Hangouts can bridge the gap, allowing them to participate without actually being there.

  17. Hangout review sessions:

    Before a big test, teachers can host a review session through Google+ Hangouts to help students who want a little extra review before the big day.

  18. Creating Circles for a specific topic:

    In addition to following Sparks, students can create Circles that allow them to follow a specific topic, getting updates from key pages and users within their scope.

  19. Boosting personal and professional networks:

    Teachers can connect with other educators to find and share resources within their network.

  20. After-class discussions:

    Students can take classroom discussions online after class, either connecting through Circles or by starting a Hangout for classmates to join.

  21. Sharing favorites from Google Reader:

    Teachers can share awesome entries from Google Reader through Google+.

  22. Peer education groups:

    Establishing Google+ Hangouts as a great place to connect with students for homework and tutorials can help your classroom come together and enjoy collaborative learning.

  23. Virtual show and tell:

    It might not be a great idea for a student to bring their six-foot snake to the classroom (especially on the same day another student brings in a beloved bunny), but the class can certainly enjoy the opportunity to do show and tell remotely with Google+ Hangouts.

  24. Teaching abroad:

    Using Google+ Hangouts, your classroom can literally be anywhere. One teacher is using Hangouts to teach English to students in India.

  25. Establishing virtual office hours:

    Teachers can let students check in with them during virtual office hours, offering a useful resource without actually having to go to school.

  26. Sharing student performances:

    You can share classroom performances and presentations within the community, and especially with parents, by adding them to Google+ Circles.

  27. Instant homework uploading:

    Students can turn in their homework from anywhere using Google+'s instant upload feature.

  28. Instant updates for parents:

    Google+'s instant upload is also great for parents, making it easy for teachers to send updates to them right away.

  29. Retain connections with former students:

    Circles for former students make it easy to stay in touch.

  30. An alternative to staff meetings:

    For teachers on the go, lots of time can be saved by using Hangouts as virtual staff meetings.

  31. Homework help Hangouts:

    Students who need a little extra help can log in to Hangouts hosted regularly throughout the week.

  32. Historical role playing:

    Your classroom can create fictional accounts for people from history, sharing the updates and ideas that they think the historical figure might like to share.

  33. Sharing book club discussions:

    Classrooms can bring together book lovers in Google+ Hangout discussions that can be archived and shared with the rest of the class.

  34. Discussion archiving:

    Enjoyed a particularly useful Hangout chat that you'd like to share with the class? You can record your Google+ Hangouts to bring to the classroom.

  35. Parent-teacher conferences gone virtual:

    For parents who can't make it to school in person for face to face conferences, Google+ Hangouts offer an easy solution.

  36. Google+ writing prompts:

    As teachers share interesting links, photos, quotes, or prompts, students can write their responses as comments and reflect on what their peers have said.

  37. Live performance viewing:

    Students may not be able to go on a field trip to a performance, but with Google+ Hangouts, they can watch and participate.

  38. Hangout reader's theater:

    Join up with other classrooms in Hangouts, and together you can put on a dramatic reading of plays, complete with discussions.

  39. Constant contact with Huddle:

    Google+'s Huddle feature allows teachers to send out a text to everyone in a circle group, remind students about a class cancellation, gathering everyone after a field trip, or just wishing them a happy weekend.

  40. Following educational talks:

    Students can enjoy talks from around the world, like the Zoo Atlanta Google+ Hangout.

  41. Creating a paperless classroom:

    For teachers going green or just cutting down on clutter, Google+'s document sharing makes it possible for your classroom to go paperless.

Autism and Online Learning: A Guide for Teachers

Posted on April 05, 2013

Today, one in every 88 American children is on the autism spectrum. Autism affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. But it hasn't always been this way. Statistics show a tenfold increase in autism in the past 40 years, and prevalence rates are increasing 10%-17% each year.

With autism on the rise, many schools struggle to meet the needs of autistic students. Often, autistic adults do not take the next step to go on to college or meaningful employment, even though they may be incredibly gifted. Letting students fall behind should not be an option.

If traditional classrooms struggle to effectively educate autistic students, what can online education offer autistic learners? Tech tools and virtual learning environments present an opportunity to better serve autistic students with flexibility and resources that are well suited to guide them in learning. The more educators learn about working with autistic students, the better equipped teachers and students will be for success.

The Needs of Autistic Students

Autism represents a broad spectrum of students, from high-functioning individuals to those with significant disability. "You've got some kids who are brilliant in one area and can't work at all in another area. There's really a range," explains autism consultant Lisa Jo Rudy. Each autistic individual is unique with their own set of needs, making it difficult for some educational programs to reach every student. But there are common characteristics that online educators should be aware of and work with, including anxiety and difficulties with attention, communication, and social interaction, as well as a need for multiple learning styles.

Strong feelings of anxiety are common among those with autism or Asperger syndrome. Researchers have found that more than 80% of children with autism have at least one anxiety disorder, and many young adults with Asperger syndrome feel intense anxiety, some to a point that requires treatment. Bullying, being put on the spot, time limits, and win-lose situations can be a source of anxiety for autistic students.

Communication abilities will vary among individual students, but all people with autism experience language and communication difficulties of some kind. Teaching Students With Autism: A Resource Guide for Schools identifies common language difficulties among autistic students, including a lack of eye contact, unusual gestures, a lack of expressive language skills, and a difficulty in changing topics.

Social interaction for autistic students can be a challenge, which makes it difficult for these individuals to participate in class discussions. Teaching Students With Autism explains that people with autism have difficulty reading body language and may not pick up on important social cues. They also typically have trouble understanding the perspectives of others.

Attention difficulties are also common among autistic students. They may find it difficult to give their attention to important concepts, instead focusing on insignificant details. A short attention span, and difficulty shifting attention from one stimulus to the next is also common.

Autistic students often need to be presented with a variety of learning styles. Stephen Edelson of the Autism Research Institute explains, "It appears that autistic individuals are more likely to rely on only one style of learning." That means autism educators will need to offer multiple learning styles — visual, auditory, and hands-on — to discover the method that works best for each student.

Success for Autistic Students Online

The benefits of online education can be life-changing for autistic students. One 17-year-old with autism, Daniel, found success participating in massive open online courses (MOOCs) with Coursera. Daniel took a modern poetry class from Penn, thriving in the exclusively online format. He and his parents discovered that the online learning system worked well with his social skills and attention deficit, and the rigorous academic curriculum required him to stay on task. Says Daniel, "I can't yet sit still in a classroom, so [Coursera's online offering] was my first real course ever. During the course, I had to keep pace with the class, which is unheard of in special ed. Now I know I can benefit from having to work hard and enjoy being in sync with the world."

College student Ryan Fox has experienced similar success in online learning. For Fox, high school was distracting and stressful. He had trouble keeping up with teachers and had to start his school day all over again when he got home, relearning all of the information he didn't understand or hear the first time around. But when Fox was introduced to an online learning environment, it made him feel "very organized, calm, and safe." With online learning, he was able to find order and correctness, and knew what to expect, with no surprises and limited changes.

Where Fox struggled in traditional school, he thrives online. He's able to get his schoolwork done quickly and needs almost no accommodations. Says Fox, "When I was really little, I was curious and loved to learn, but then for a while I got so frustrated I forgot what that was like. I think any student who has certain needs and wants to rediscover his or her love of learning should try online learning. I really believe that in the future everyone will learn this way! We will all be able to learn from the very smartest people on Earth, and we will do it at our own pace every day. Our abilities will matter more than our disabilities."

How the Online Environment Helps Autistic Learners

Online learning can be a good idea for students with Asperger's or high-functioning autism. "For these students, open-ended time limits, the ability to repeat activities over and over again, and other modifications could be quite helpful," says Misty Jones, Board-Certified Behavior Analyst with Kids First Spectrum Services.

Studying online can remove elements of anxiety for autistic students. Although cyberbullying exists, online learning tools may allow autistic students to study without fear of negative interaction. The digital environment also offers the opportunity to remove anxiety triggers like being put on the spot and working within time constraints.

Autistic students can benefit from focused communication available in the online learning format. Many struggle to learn in a classroom environment where most communication is verbal. Online, autistic learners can benefit from visual tools, cues, and guided notes, as well as interactive and scenario-based learning. Autistic adult learners may also be more comfortable communicating online, especially through social media.

Online learning is also useful for catering to the social needs of autistic students. Communication is often more black and white, with limited social cues, and a lack of non-verbal communication that can be difficult to understand. Additionally, the typical discussion board format takes away students' pressure to respond immediately.

Educators can support autistic students' attention needs with clear, guided online instruction. In the online format, autistic students who may struggle with short attention spans and misplaced focus can be carefully walked through concepts in a step-by-step guide that emphasizes the most important information.

The online learning environment also offers the ability to teach the same material in multiple ways for a variety of students. As autistic learners typically benefit from learning in one specific style, each lesson should be available in multiple formats to allow students to choose the learning method that they can use best, whether they're visual, auditory, or hands on. This is difficult in the traditional classroom but possible online. Educators can offer lectures in audio or video, written text, or even in step-by-step interactive guides, all in one learning hub.

Additional benefits of online learning for autistic students include the ability to repeat learning materials and interactive elements over and over, flexible course offerings for students with "splinter skills," and open time limits. Autistic students also appreciate the consistent format of online learning, as it can be difficult to deal with small differences in each individual classroom.

There are many benefits to online learning for autistic students, but there can also be challenges. The online environment is so appealing to the autistic brain that some students struggle with cyber addiction, creating an unhealthy imbalance. Additionally, autistic students who need to develop in-person social interaction and appropriate behavior will not find many opportunities online. "Most of our students need so much real life practice to develop skills that the Internet is more of a leisure activity. It's supplemental to what they are learning in vivo," says behavior analyst Jones.

Recommendations for Online Teachers with Autistic Students

  • Make use of discussion boards: Being put on the spot can make autistic students feel anxious. But online course discussion boards give them the opportunity to create a planned and well-crafted response. Avoid live chats or group Skype discussions that may cause autistic students to freeze up.
  • Help students build their responses: A great way to improve online participation among autistic students is through planned, guided discussion. Autism consultant Lisa Jo Rudy recommends that online educators "have the conversation ahead of time, and prep them, and actually have them go through and prepare. ... Give them a lot of time and a lot of extra prep before the event itself." An online tool with question prompts that allows students to build responses for later discussion may be helpful.
  • Allow students to try again and again: Autistic students may need to take extra time to process information and complete tasks. They may even need to do activities more than once to understand the concept and focus. You can cater to this need by offering learning materials without limits on time or turns.
  • Carefully monitor for cyberbullying: The online learning environment can make autistic students feel safe, but bullying may bring up feelings of anxiety. Preventing cyberbullying can make all students feel more comfortable and open in online learning.
  • Allow students to pick and choose courses: Autistic students with splinter skills may do well in math but struggle with writing. Rather than restricting students to freshman- or senior-level courses across the board, give students the opportunity to pick the right course level for their skills.
  • Offer multiple learning formats: Encourage autistic students to adopt the learning style that works best for them by providing students with materials that fit different learning styles. Lectures may be delivered in audio/visual format or interactive walk-throughs, as well as in text documents.
  • Guide students on a learning path: Give students the freedom to spend as much time as they need, try tasks multiple times, and allow them to do it all in a variety of different formats, but remember to guide their learning at all times. Keep their focus and attention by always showing them the next step to take.

Online learning for autistic students is largely still in development, but there's growing potential, especially at the high school and college level. "So much of what goes on in high school is not about learning academics but about fitting in with other kids. If that is what's standing in the way of a young person finishing school or excelling academically, then online is the way to go," says Jones. "For those individuals who could go to college if it weren't for the social aspect, it is a great way for them to get an education."

What's next? Dictation tools, resources for turning ideas into outlines, and even exclusive online degree programs for autistic students. Says Lisa Jo Rudy, "A lot of those types of support can be built into virtual learning environments, and probably will be, because they're not only useful for students with autism, but for any student."

Learn Faster, Learn Better: What Style Fits You Best?

Posted on May 28, 2013
Would you rather have 20/20 vision, better hearing than a dog or twice the amount of nerve endings in your fingers? The answer could be telling into your learning world. Neil Fleming, an experienced New Zealand teacher, started a system to better suit the preferences of students based on neuro-linguistic programming that is widely used in schools today. Fleming divided learners into three types: visual learners, auditory learners and tactile/kinesthetic learners. That 5th grader who can remember the page numbers of test questions: visual learner. The sophomore who checks out audio books instead of paperbacks: auditory learner. How about the middle schooler who’s boss in a science lab or shop class: tactile all the way. When it comes to your own personal learning style, you might already have a hunch but we’ve designed this quiz to help determine what fits you best. Don’t be surprised if you can relate to pieces of all three; it’s not uncommon to have a mix of preferences. With this knowledge under your belt, you can conquer the world! Well, you might not conquer the world (right away) but you might be able to study for that history exam in record time.

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