Free Tools to Engage Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak

by G4C

BlogPost-4-3-20In response to guidance given by health officials and the World Health Organization regarding the outbreak of COVID-19, many school districts and educational institutions have closed their doors and are currently relying on remote learning. 

Keeping students engaged in a remote learning environment can be challenging — particularly when they’re not familiar with learning online and remotely. To help keep students engaged and stay motivated to reach their goals, G4C has curated a list of resources focused on game-based learning. These resources will be particularly helpful to middle/high school students participating in the G4C Student Challenge, a game design competition that invites students to design and code social impact games. Learn more on the competition portal or join one of our upcoming Office Hours

PLAY | Learning Games:

Arcades of free web-based learning games providers

  • BrainPOP offers standards-aligned lessons with learning games, animated movies, and much more. Free access for schools and families impacted by school closures is now available to support distance learning.
  • iCivicsvisit this award winning organization’s website to sign up for a free account, set up a virtual classroom, and assign work and games to students to help them learn civics. Tips for remote learning, online webinars, and resources for the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam are now available.
  • G4C’s Games Page highlights dozens of the best games for social  impact and learning.
  • Games and Learning – Find hand-picked games that are easy to use and great for kids. Save them to a playlist for quick access.
  • Smithsonian Science Education Center: Transforms the teaching and learning of K-12 sciences; including a Game Center with games and simulations that teach topics ranging from freshwater access and fiscal policy to habitats and nutrition.
  • Classcraft – By harnessing the power of games and stories, Classcraft helps you turn your class into an experience that your students can’t get enough of.
  • Common Sense Education offers family-focused collections of virtual learning tools, core subject area resources, and helpful advice to support students transition to online learning.


CREATE | Build Your Own Games:

Game design platforms that empower students to be creators of content

  • Scratch 3.0 – use block programming to create your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. We recommend this Scratch creative computing curriculum to get started.
  • Unity Learn – Offering three months of complimentary free access to Unity Learning Premium. Looking for a good place to start? Try this beginner Creator Kit which teaches Unity beginners to code their own game in C#.
  • “Code Break” weekly webcasts teach computer science at home and offer weekly challenges for students of all abilities, and even those without computers. Also check-out’s Computer Science Discoveries.
  • Minecraft Edu a special remote learning toolkit is now available for educators to deliver assignments and foster student engagement.  The toolkit includes a getting started guide, STEM curriculum, and project-based activities. Educators with accounts can fill out this form for continued Minecraft: Education Edition use through June 2020.
  • Robloxa gaming platform where students can imagine, create and play games, which can be accessed from all major platforms (such as smartphones, computers, Xbox, Oculus Rift and more!).
  • Tynker – Now offering a free premium home plan with daily missions and access over 3,700 fun coding activities.


LEARN | Learn from Home Resources: 

Highly recommended resources for remote learning (not game-specific)

  • ISTE’s Learning Keeps Going – a very comprehensive and continuously updated list of free virtual learning resources – both for students to learn independently and for teachers to facilitate w/ students. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • Digital Promise – Online Learning Resources Offers a library of free, online learning resources intended for educators/parents/students, which can be filtered by type, grade, and subject.
  • Mouse – free online activities designed to help all learners, regardless of their situations, stay engaged with STEM and computer science from home.
  • National Geographic collections of activities curated for educators and parents to help K–12 students learn from home (minimal supplies needed). Subject areas include social studies, geography, science, and more.
  • Scholastic Learn from Home – 20 days of super interested activities/lessons/games for students to engage in remote learning.
  • Connected Learning Alliance – toolkits and blog posts around enhancing student learning by connecting with youth through personal interests, meaningful relationships, and real-world opportunity.
  • Roadtrip Nation helps students map their interests to career paths and offers insight into different professions through stories, advice and videos.


TECH | Laptops and Internet

Resources that offer access to distance learning technology for those in-need (ie: laptops and connectivity)