20 Free Tech Tools for Learning and Communicating Blogging & Technology by Karen Schweitzer - November 14, 2009June 30, 20105 Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online school for OnlineSchool.net. Nearly everyone is familiar with Moodle, the learning management system that allows teachers to communicate and share learning resources online. But Moodle isn’t the only free platform that can accomplish these tasks. There are many other free tech tools and sites that offer similar capabilities. Here are 20 tools worth exploring. Engrade – Over 150,000 teachers use Engrade’s suite of tools to manage their classrooms online. The tools allow teachers to post assignments, grades, and attendance books on the web. Engrade can also be used to connect and privately communicate with administrators, parents, and students. 21Classes – 21Classes makes classroom blogging easy, safe, and secure by providing free virtual classrooms and blog portals. Class homepages can be used to communicate with students and the fully-functional blogs can be easily monitored and customized. Vyew – Vyew is a free collaboration and web conferencing platform that allows users to chat and share information in real-time. Teachers can use the tool to upload course content and other elearning materials. VoiceThread – VoiceThread offers a secure network for K-12 teachers and students to collaborate and share information online. Items that can be shared include images, documents, and videos. Mindomo – Mindomo is a web-based tool that can be used to collaborate and create mind maps online. The free version of Mindomo offers professional functionality, import/export features, and private maps. Empressr – Empressr is a rich media presentation and storytelling tool. Site visitors can browse through current presentations to find learning materials or create their own private and public presentations. SlideShare – The world’s largest presentation sharing community, SlideShare allows users to create and share slide shows and presentations. Materials can be kept private or made public. SlideShare supports Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and audio files. Eduslide – Similar to SlideShare, Eduslide allows anyone to find, create, and share educational materials online. Materials can be presented through wikis, blogs, slideshows, and more. Vcasmo – Vcasmo is a multimedia presentation tool that works especially well for academic teaching. It supports a variety of file formats and allows synchronization with videos and music. LectureTools – LectureTools is a suite of tools that is free for instructors at any U.S. or Canadian university or college. The tools can be used to share slides, learning objects, and podcasts and to monitor students’ understanding of educational materials. LearnHub – LearnHub is a social learning network where teachers can contribute their knowledge and learn from people all over the world. Connexions– Connexions was created for people who want to share their knowledge online. Users can search through educational content that has been created by other people or upload their own learning modules. TeacherTube – Described as a sort of “YouTube for teachers,” TeacherTube is an online community for sharing instructional videos. Teachers can post educational videos for students or for other educators. WiZiQ – Created for teachers and learners, WiZiQ is a free platform that allows users to collaborate on virtual classes, online tests, and other educational content. Tech & Learning – Tech & Learning is an award-winning publication that has served the K-12 education community for more than 30 years. This online resource offers blogs, articles, webinars, forums, and other tools that teachers can use to communicate and educate themselves online. TeachAde – TeachAde is an online community for teachers and other education professionals. Members can contribute and collaborate on lesson plans and teaching materials. TeachAde also encourages members to share opinions and ask questions. TheApple – TheApple is an active community of current and future teachers. Members can chat online, share lesson plans, explore professional development resources, and much more. TeachStreet – TeachStreet is an online learning community. This unique site also allows teachers to promote themselves and their courses online. GroupTweet – Teachers who like to communicate via Twitter will enjoy this free Twitter app which allows groups of users to chat privately via Twitter. PodBean – PodBean is a great place to find educational podcasts and publish your own podcasts online. Podcasts can be published in three easy steps and promoted through iTunes and other handy tools. Karen SchweitzerKaren is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes for OnlineClasses.org, an online college class resource.