What online tools are teachers using?

I asked this questions a few months ago to others on staff and received many great resources and tools. It’s only fair that I share what my colleagues and myself use and in what fashion.  I have used nearly all of them at this point and some are certainly better then others. Please feel free to comment and give insight into new uses or tools.  Sharing is caring?

Technology is the future. Embrace it.

Each of the following tools can be found by clicking on the links.

Interactive Presentation Tools:

  • Prezi – A fun online software that works in a ‘Three Dimensional’ space to zoom through information, videos, and pictures.  Some people may have to take Gravol to watch some over enthusiastic presentations though.  Personally, I like this better than the basic PowerPoint and more than one person can collaborate on the same presentation
  • Powtoons – If you are looking for a fun way to excite the kids into doing a presentation, then this tool should be your go to. Edutainment all the way.
  • GoogleDocs – Presentation is much like PowerPoint but allows students to collaborate, easily share, and research/site directly from the web with the Research tool under the ‘tools’ menu.
  • Popplet –  This tool is more of a visual tool that sets up mind maps easily and collaboratively.  The mind map can then be presented and mapped out to an audience with relative ease.  It is also very easy to share with other Popplet users.
  • StoryBoardThat – A storyboard creator (similar to BitStrips).  Allows students to create story boards, comics, and such to present information or communicate ideas.

Great tools that help organize or present information.

  • Padlet – This is such a great tool to organize students work, manage quick student driven lessons (of which you can print off as a note for them in various forms), collaborate, and essentially create an online cork board for sharing.
  • Piktochart –  This tool allows students to gather information and compile it in a visually appealing info-graphic.  By choosing templates, students can enter a variety of data, whether it be scientific, social, economical, the templates turn the information into very appealing and easy to understand graphs.
  • ThingLink – I have used this tool in various ways.  It allows students to pin information, websites, videos to their own pictures or maps. In particular, I see strength in it’s ability to allow students to make connections with information that already exists on the web.
  • PosterMyWall –  I have used this to have students complete quick informative posters that explain application of scientific concepts to real life (Static electricity use in painting cars for example).  Students take a screen capture and share them via Padlet.
  • iBooksAuthor – Mac based program that allows you or your students to create visually appealing digital books.  Don’t be scared of the word books.  I see a very practical use in allowing students to create or manage their own units, notes, and assignments.  Essentially creating a paperless environment.  Many great seamless functions assist in making it easier.

Surveying, Feedback, Quizzes, Discussion

  • Kahoot – Kahoot is such a fun, effective, and entertaining way to get feedback, engage the class, and quiz on understanding.  Student could also create and share there own ‘Kahoots’ with each other.  Lots of EduCheering in the classroom with this one, lots of fun. There is also no student password or log in and you can download the excel file with responses.
  • Socrative – This is great for a one click ‘Exit Ticket’ option that is already created.  Like Kahoot, there is also no student password or log in. Also great for quick knowledge based quizzes that are private and immediately emailed to you.
  • PollEverywhere – This essentially replaces the ‘Clickers’ with cell phones, tablets, or computers.  Teachers can poll students on diagrams or questions.  Immediate feedback and responses while teaching.

Visible Discussions and Forums

  • TodaysMeet – This is such a great tool for sharing information and links quickly.  Also allows students to respond to learning, ask questions, and share ideas openly.
  • Twitter – By using hashtags (#EdTech for example) students can have a dialogue openly about subjects, questions, classroom discussions.  It’s important to create unique hashtags so that only your students are in on the discussion.  Also, most students don’t want to use their own personal accounts. They will need to create a education use only account, as will the teacher.
  • GoogleModerator – Another great tool to allow students to share questions, ideas, and concerns in a teacher moderated platform.  Commenting and voting allows for students to interact in an online forum.

I hope you find at least a few of these tools useful.  Remember that your students have limited ability to handle lots of new tools at once.  I have noticed this with my own and need to be aware of it.  That being said, a few of these are very easy to implement and require no login or password which means they are effective and low impact on our tech-savvy youth.

Beyond this, I have only begun to explore the Apps that are available for education and there is so much more out there!  Check out Kathy Schrock’s ‘Guide to Everything’ for great inspiration and application of Bloom’s Taxonomy to digital Apps –> http://www.schrockguide.net/bloomin-apps.html 

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d59eG1_Tt-Q[/youtube]

It’s about what you can DO with technology; don’t just be an edutainer, be an educator!

Happy Teaching!

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