Last Updated: January 2019
There is a wealth of free educational multimedia online if you know how to look for it. Below is a sampling that I’ve found to be valuable for teachers and students. This list is periodically updated.
Note: Do not send suggestions for new links. My webmaster will reject them. Too much time has been wasted reviewing “educational websites” that are nothing more than single pages on commercial websites. With a few notable exceptions, our educational links are free of advertising and other distractions. We’ll research and select our own resources, thank you.
Copyright Law: If you’re unsure of your rights and responsibilities under the “Fair Use Act” provision of copyright law, see this concise explanation by the US Copyright Office. They’ve done a good job of explaining the details all educators should be aware of. Acting within the constraints of this provision, it is still possible to assemble a huge library of multimedia resources that can make your classes more visual and dynamic. Over the years I’ve actively sought to build my collection, I’ve accumulated gigabytes of material.
Open Source: On that same topic, educators should be aware of the wealth of copyright-free material available at Wikimedia Commons. At last count (2017) they listed over 38 million media items (photos, drawings, animations, videos, audio, text). Their huge database is easily searched and it grows larger every day.
Visual Learning: Students love multimedia. If you have access to it on your classroom (or home school) computer, you have a great tool for supplementing traditional materials, allowing improvisational breaks from the routine, and providing visual answers to student questions. The resources below focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Sites are listed in the order accumulated with no sorting. While trying to avoid those with excessive advertising, on some high-traffic sites you’ll run into a few ads. My apologies in advance.
SKY LIGHTS Dan Heim's astronomy, meteorology, and earth science blog
OPENSTAX.ORG open source textbooks for high school and college in science, math, and more
ALGODOO FOR EDUCATION virtual 2D physics sandbox, cool games and simulations
LINE RIDER classic kinematics and mechanical energy simulator
KHAN ACADEMY exhaustive collection of free math and science videos
THE EYEBALLING GAME test your visual acuity and innate sense of geometry
FANTASTIC CONTRAPTION great puzzles based on accurate physics simulations
THE MECHANICAL UNIVERSE classic 80s Cal Tech series available as streaming video
RAINBOW SYMPHONY source for budget 3D glasses and anaglyph viewers
ANAGLYPH IMAGES nice collection of 3D anaglyph images
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY NASA gateway for images, maps, and videos
ACRONYM FINDER a translator for the alphabet soup of acronyms
ASK A SCIENTIST DOE knowledge base with many great Q&A threads
ASK A SPACEMAN! podcast blog for Q&A with a real spaceman
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE MOON everything you always wanted to know about the Moon
MEASUREMENT CONVERTER convert anything to anything with this handy utility
NASA: HDEV live HD view of Earth from the ISS
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION beautiful interactive 3D model of the ISS
SPOT THE ISS where and when to look for the ISS in your skies
FLIGHT EXPLORER real-time tracking of commercial aircraft flights
ANIMATION LIBRARY large collection of animations, some nature and science content
PHYSICS VIDEOS 23 short films from the AAPT covering various physics topics
SCIENCE e-BOOKS science e-books, animations and links, some free, some pay
PHYSICS ANIMATIONS physics software and animations, some free, some shareware
DMOZ OPEN DIRECTORY PROJECT software and media for STEM and other disciplines
OBSERVATORIO ARVAL comprehensive astronomy portal
PROGRAMFILES.COM physics simulation programs, freeware & shareware
GAME DOWNLOADS educational arcade games, learning and play, all free
SCIENCE U LIBRARY cool site with lots of free science graphics and animations
ONLINE LEARNING guide for success using online learning resources
ULTIMATE MOOC HANDBOOK all about Massive Open Online Courses
SCIENCE LESSON PLANS FOR TEACHERS resources for students K-8, teachers, and parents
ASTRONOMY RESOURCE GUIDE resources for students & teachers in astronomy, other sciences, and child safety
SOLAR ACTION ALLIANCE the basics of solar energy systems
UNDERSTAND SOLAR info about solar & wind energy systems