Fantastic Freebies

Sept. 24, 2019

Looking for no cost instructional technology to use in your course? Check out this curated list of great freebies.

A student that is working outdoors on his laptop raises his arms and smiles happily and freely. [Voice Notes]


Overview: Otter is a great tool for a multitude of applications.  At a basic level, Otter is an app for your phone that offers AI-powered transcription.  For in-person classes, it can be a powerful notetaking tool.  For social scientists (and future social researchers), it does a wonderful job of transcribing interviews.  It has even been used as a way to help writers get their papers started, record their ideas, and actively brainstorm. [Voice-Activated Teleprompter]


Overview: One of the easiest ways to transcribe your own videos is to work from a script first.  This can be hard to manage without the help of a full studio. uses your microphone to run an on-screen teleprompter.  You can turn on your video camera, bring up, and start talking.  It will advance your writing automatically to keep your eyes level with the camera and your clicking to a minimum. [Web-based Annotation]


Overview: is a web-based annotation tool.  You can set up groups to where you students can only see each others' annotations, their class's annotations, or the public annotations.  They can highlight and leave comments, links, images, and videos in their annotations. can be used for a multitude of different class activities, including discussion, fact-checking, information discovery, note-taking, and summarizing

Flipgrid [Video Discussions]

Visit Flipgrid

Overview: Flipgrid is a way to create and support social learning.  You can pose a question and students respond with with a video.  Students can then respond to each other with emojis and response videos!  You can even see engagement data to see how long your class has spent engaging with that topic (with some fun little factoids with it). 

Screencast-o-Matic [Screencapture and Video Editing]

Visit Screencast-o-matic

Overview: Panopto does allow screencaptures but it can be confusing for students to figure out and edit.  Screencast-o-Matic can help them record their screens, record presentations, and edit their videos.  It also gives them a way to backup and restore their videos (something Panopto doesn't allow for students)!

Padlet [Collaborative Meaning-Making]

Visit Padlet

Padlet is an browser-based collaborative information curation application.  Students can work together to gather resources, post pictures, and create boards of information.  This would be a great resource for group brainstorming, timeline creation, analysis, research, test prep, to do lists, and everything in between.

Remind [Class Communication]

Visit Remind

Overview: Remind is a way you can push announcements and resources to your students right on their devices.  You can send text messages, attachments, and there is even an option for students to receive the information in their native language.  This is a great way to send those reminders students need during the semester!

Venngage [Infographic Maker]

Visit Venngage

Overview: Not all students are as well-versed with the Adobe products as they would need to be to create infographics.  Venngage allows you to create infographics with your data with very little design experience necessary.  It is also a great way to create flyers, brochures, and image-based web thumbnails.

Canva [Infographic & Image Maker]

Visit Canva

Overview:  Another free infographic option is Canva.  What Canva does that Venngage doesn't is focus a bit more on images and image-based design.  This is great to use for the creation of web banners, social media images, icons, logos, and other image-based information.

Peergrade [Peer Review]

Visit Peergrade

Overview: D2L doesn't make peer review easy.  Peergrade, while a little limited in the free version, does make social feedback much easier to implement and facilitate.  It even gives you complete overview of what is going on, allows you to see the feedback, and lets you create a rubric.

Authored By

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Krys Ziska Strange (Guest Author)
Former Assistant Director, Innovation & Technology, Digital Learning