TeachersFirst Toolbox

If you're reading this page on the Web, you already have everything you need to use TeachersFirst effectively. Some of the sites to which we link use additional "plug-in" programs which let you play sound files, view animations, and use other multimedia resources.

More and more sites use Flash, for example, and do not even tell you that you need this plug-in.

For your convenience, we have included links to several of these tools. All of these tools are available from their manufacturers without charge. You may want to download these to enhance your experience with TeachersFirst. The procedure for downloading and installing them is simple. Just follow the directions provided by each manufacturer. If you do not have "administrator" rights to your computer, how may need to request tech help to install plug-ins. Your computer will tell you "You do not have permission..." to let you know.

In all cases with plug-ins, be careful which checkboxes you leave checked when downloading, or you may receive some unwanted software or email.

Adobe Acrobat® Reader

Acrobat lets web site operators "publish" files in a format that looks precisely like a printed page. Acrobat is especially useful for sharing instruction manuals, long reports, or files with lots of graphics, tables, or other non-text information. The Acrobat reader is available free from Adobe, and you can configure your browser to open Acrobat files automatically when you get them from the Web. This page also contains a link to download the Adobe e-book reader.

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Click on the logo to download. Be careful which checkboxes are checked when you download, or you may get some "extras" you do not want.


Inspiration free trialInspiration is a graphic concept mapping program that has become very popular in educational settings. It allows a wide range of graphics, and it can incorporatelinks to web pages and files. It also can "read aloud" the text you enter. Click the logo for a 30-day trial version.


Java logoSome interactive activities, quizzes, etc. require the Java plug-in, sometimes called the Java Runtime Environment. Most computers have it already installed. It is free for download. It may display a funny little Java coffe cup icon in the lower right of your screen when running. Download it here.

Javascript Enabling

Some games and online activities require that your computer (specifically your browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Netscape) be set to "enable" a special little programming language called Javascript. TeachersFirst membership forms also use this language. AOL users will need to minimize AOL after they log on and open a separate window of Internet Explorer to use such sites. Here are directions to enable Javascript in Internet Explorer 5 or 6.

Macromedia Flash & Shockwave (click the logos to download)

Flash is one of the most popular plug-ins and shows up more and more as a "MUST" to view educational web sites. Without it you may simply see empty space. Be careful which checkboxes are checked when you download, or you may get some "extras" you do not want.

Shockwave is a popular plug-in for animated, interactive web presentations.applications. Be careful which checkboxes are checked when you download, or you may get some "extras" you do not want.

Not sure which version of Flash you have or if you have it at all? This test site will show you which Flash version is loaded on your computer.


One of the oldest and most used video plug-ins, Apple's Quicktime is popular with many sites for viewing video clips. The Quicktime player will also handle a wide range of other audio and video formats. Be careful which checkboxes are checked when you download, or you may get some "extras" you do not want.

Real Player

Real Player has evolved into a complete streaming audio/video service offering sports events, radio stations, and other services. Educational sites use the system to let students listen to famous speeches, supreme court arguments, and radio from around the world. We've provided a link to the free player; an upgraded version is available for additional cost. Be careful which checkboxes are checked when you download or install, or you may change some settings on your computer to "default" to Real Player for everything it does.

Windows Media Player

get windows media playerMicrosoft's Windows Mediaplayer is becoming quite prevalent for playing both audio and video. Click on the logo to download the latest version of the Media Player.