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What Are the Different Types of Classroom Resources?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

Some of the most common classroom resources are books, educational websites, films or videos, and other media that can help an instructor to demonstrate key concepts of a lesson. Certain disciplines, however, require use of resources that are particular to them. For example, students in a nursing course may use medical equipment and software designed specifically for the nursing profession. Some common examples of classroom resources in a chemistry class might include microscopes and Bunsen burners.

Books tend to be the most commonly used classroom resources because they are relatively affordable and can be easily transported from place to place. In some instances, educational institutions provide students with books for classroom use and normally require that they return them at the end of a class. Other institutions require students to buy books, though students may have the opportunity to sell them back to the school after a course has ended.

A Bunsen burner, which is commonly used in chemistry classrooms.
A Bunsen burner, which is commonly used in chemistry classrooms.

The Internet has become another of the most commonly used classroom resources. In courses where individuals must perform research, an instructor may use the Internet as a critical research tool, using both web-based information and applications to complement their studies. Students might retrieve data from an informational website and learn how properly to document sources. Many websites offer users access to tutorials, slide shows, and assessments. It can also give you access to a pool of private online tutors who understand how to best explain complex concepts in a way that's easier to grasp. The internet makes it possible for you to learn without leaving your home. These features are often provided by official organizations, independent users, and other educational institutions. When you hire an English, Science, or Math tutor, most learning materials will be digital as well. Among all learning resources, this is currently the most convenient and most accessible of all.

Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.
Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.

Films and videos are often used as alternative ways to present information to students. While in most courses pupils use text-based resources, videos can enable them to view a concept from another perspective. In some cases, however, such as in video media courses, film may act as one of the primary classroom resources.

Specialized classroom resources are mostly commonly used in vocational programs. When students are training to work in a certain profession, a large part of their education may include learning to operate complicated machinery. In some instances, students may be required to provide their own resources. For example, a student of an accounting program might be required to purchase his or her own calculator. Likewise, an art student may often be expected to purchase his or her own paintbrushes and canvas.

Books are the most common type of classroom resources.
Books are the most common type of classroom resources.

In contexts such as in medical programs, many resources are not owned by students. Medical equipment, for example, belongs to a medical institution that allows a student to access it. Students sometimes pay fees at the beginning of a course in which there is cost for operation of school provided classroom resources. Another example is with advanced Math, which not all parents will be able to teach their kids at home. Thankfully there are a lot of math tutoring services online to rely on.

Discussion Comments


@David09 - Multimedia has become an important part of most lesson plans. As a matter of fact I’ve noticed that even the traditional white board has gone digital, being replaced by an electronic “smart board” that can hook up to laptops.

These smart boards open up a whole new world of creative possibilities for teachers wanting to integrate technology into the classroom.

In addition, students are becoming technology savvy too.

On more than one occasion my son completed an assignment by creating a video, which was hooked up to multimedia equipment in the classroom and shown to the whole class. Everyone loved it.


@David09 - In her senior year my daughter told me she needed a scientific calculator for her physics and calculus classes. I said fine. I went to the store and was hit with sticker shock. The calculator was close to $120 for the model that the school recommended.

There were cheaper models, but she insisted that I had to get a certain model because that’s what the teacher was using. I don’t suppose we had a choice.

I suppose we could borrow but those scientific calculators tend to be hot items so it’s better that you have your own. I tried to persuade her to use her laptop and use a “virtual” calculator online, but she said it’s not the same. So even when you try to be creative you can’t. You just have to pony up the money and go on.


@MrMoody - I totally agree. The answer (in your case) is that you will have to find free classroom resources. A lot of schools have felt the pinch. I think the Internet is a boon to classroom instruction.

There are tons of materials out there, and students are already Internet savvy to begin with, so it won’t be a problem to recommend that they go online to get some of what they need.

Of course this is only good for virtual resources or things that you can print out. Hard supplies are different. But again, creativity and some frugality are in order here. Perhaps you can use substitute supplies (that are available) or tweak your assignments so that they can be done with stuff you already have.


There are a lot of options for classroom resources. The problem is when school budgets face a shortfall and cannot buy the needed supplies. In our area the district faced a massive budget shortfall and in addition to laying off teachers and increasing class size, they drastically reduced the available money for classroom supplies.

Do you know how difficult it is to teach art class when you have limited art supplies? Teachers have been reduced to scrimping and scraping, sharing amongst themselves and even asking students to bring some of their own supplies to school.

These things ought not to happen in my opinion. How can we say that education is important if we don’t fund it properly?


@EdRick - It's great that your son's school is so well-equipped! But a clever teacher with fewer resources can still make a great learning experience.

I'm actually a big fan of the overhead projector. I have special transparency sheets that can go through an inkjet printer and others that can go through a copy machine. Then, I project onto my white board and I can mark it up again and again without having to rewrite the whole thing! Very handy. The best thing about the overhead projector is that it allows you to write without turning your back on the students, which is sometimes crucial!

I've also done PowerPoint presentations. My kids are a little older, so they load their own. We use a laptop computer hooked up to a special projector. A classmate assistant advances the slide while the student or group presents. They love it - it makes them feel so important grown-up.


My son has gotten to use some really neat classroom materials - and he's only ten! I remember when we used to fight over who got to be the one to advance the film strip - those days are long gone. His teacher has a smart board, I think they call them, that can show up what's on her computer and basically do all sorts of neat tricks. They go to the computer lab an average of twice a week, too.

He's already prepared and delivered his first PowerPoint presentation! The students prepared them in the lab and then the teacher loaded them onto the smart board and changed the slides for them. I think it's great for them to be getting such a comfort level with technology so early on, and stuff that they might use in later life, too. (As opposed to film strips, which as far as I know never left the classroom.)

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    • A Bunsen burner, which is commonly used in chemistry classrooms.
      A Bunsen burner, which is commonly used in chemistry classrooms.
    • Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.
      By: sklyarova
      Chalkboards are often used as a teaching aid.
    • Books are the most common type of classroom resources.
      By: auremar
      Books are the most common type of classroom resources.
    • Teachers may ask students to perform internet research in class.
      By: auremar
      Teachers may ask students to perform internet research in class.