12 Tech Tools That Will Transform The Way You Teach!

In a Simple K12 blog post titled “17 Signs Your Classroom is Behind the Times” they provide a list of things that characterize a classroom that has fallen behind. Number 16 lists a variety of technology tools that every educator should know about.

As I read the list, I realized that although many teachers are interested in and excited about technology integration, they are too busy to explore all the new technology tools available online.

This blog post is dedicated to all of the overworked teachers who just don’t have the time to seek out this information. I have provided brief explanations, links to and pictures of the tools mentioned by Simple K12 (and a couple of my favorites). I hope this makes it more manageable for teachers to pick and choose which tools they want to use.

1. Collaborize Classroom- a free collaborative education platform with a highly developed discussion component. Perfect for engaging students in structured discussions (using a variety of question types) about the curriculum. Create study groups, facilitate collaborative group work and flip your classroom with this platform!

Technology in the classroom | Online Discussions 2. Prezi- a cloud-based presentation software that has the ability to zoom in and out to show relative importance of ideas and group concepts together. Prezi is visually stimulating; a great alternative to Power Point which can feel static.

3. Evernote- a way to capture, index and remember information using a computer, phone, and web. Students can take notes, capture favorite videos, save webpages, and collaborate on projects using Evernote. It is the notebook of the 21st century.

4. Glogster- an online interactive poster/collage maker. Students can combine text, music, pictures and video to create a dynamic poster or collage online to share. This is an alternative to the classic scissors, glue and magazines approach to poster and collage making.

5. Socrative- a free student response system that can be used with smart phones, iPads or laptops! Teachers can take polls, give quizzes, play with space races or end the lesson with an exit ticket. Results of quizzes can be exported into an excel sheet to make grading infinitely easier!

Socrative

 

6. WillYou.Typewith.me- is an easy way for students to collaborate on a single document online. It is an alternative to Google.docs.

Technology in the classroom | Online Discussions

7. Storybird- is a collaborative storytelling tool. Students can create short art inspired stories that can be shared or printed. Students can pair their writing with images to bring their stories, poetry, songs, etc. to life!

http://storybird.com/books/a-dream-come-true-35/[Note: StoryJumper is another online digital storybook maker worth checking out!]

8. JayCut- is a free online video editing tool. [Note: I was unable to create an account because they are currently not accepting new users- hopefully this is temporary.] This looks like a great alternative to iMovie for people working with PCs.

9. Wordle- a fun online tool for creating colorful word clouds from text you provide. This is an easy way to highlight the main points from an online conversation, speech, article, etc.

10. Tiki-Toki- an esthetically pleasing web-based timeline tool. Students can create interactive multimedia timelines using images, text and videos that are easy to embed.

11. StudyBlue- an online tool for making flashcards with video and audio elements, taking notes, and preparing for exams.

12. Pixton- an online comic maker that allows students the creativity to design their own characters, add sound, upload pictures and images, use a variety of speech bubbles, and print, download or embed the finished comic.

Share your favorite tech tools and add to this list! I welcome additions.

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34 Responses to 12 Tech Tools That Will Transform The Way You Teach!

  1. Great site! I’m sure this is one you already know, but it is certainly worth checking out: http://www.edmodo.com
    regards,
    Louise

  2. Lisa Barrett says:

    Excellent info!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us Caitlin!

  3. livepaths says:

    Definitely there are great online FREE tools available to educators. These should include YouTube, Wikipedia and wolfram-alpha as well. They are here to stay so that educators must use them in the teaching process.

    Many academics are posting great educational videos and a curation process is needed to present them in an organized manner.

    This effort is being done by: http://Utubersity.com which presents the best educational videos available on YouTube in an organized, easy to find way to watch and learn.

    They are classified and tagged in a way that enables people to find these materials more easily and efficiently and not waste time browsing through pages of irrelevant search results.

    The website also enhances the experience using other means such as recommending related videos, Wikipedia content and so on. There’s also a Spanish version called http://utubersidad.com

    This is a project that YouTube should embrace itself, with curated content from academics and maybe using a different URL (Youtubersity?) so it won’t be blocked by schools.

    • Catlin says:

      Thank you for adding to this conversation with additional ideas and teaching tools!

      I am a big fan of You Tube but it is blocked at my school, so I use School Tube to avoid filter issues.

      Catlin

  4. Dr. David Peat says:

    Wonderful information both from you, Catlin and within the comments above.

    Thanks! I have passed this info on to my students via Twitter!

  5. Todd says:

    There are some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing them. Another online tool that can be fun and educational for teachers and students is Kerpoof.com. Teachers can get a free account and set up free accounts for their students. They have some good and easy to follow tutorials.

  6. John McLear says:

    PrimaryPad is better than TypeWithMe for education, has a lot more edu focused features!

    Also PrimaryWall is neat and there are some more great ones here: http://mclear.co.uk/sites/

  7. Matt says:

    These are excellent! I teach sp.ed to elementary kids and a couple of these sites will make them so excited. Thanks, these will get passed along.

  8. Bonnie Keller says:

    I teach middle school science, and I was pleased to see that I seem to be on the right track. I started having my students do discussion boards online last year – it’s part of the Blackboard system we use. I tell them that this is going to be part of what they will be doing in high school and beyond, and I’m not sure some of them (or their parents) believe me. Some of them, though, are very, very engaged by the discussion boards, and some parents have indicated that they are quite impressed with how I’m using them. I’ve also used Wordle in the past, but should use it more. Our school system has just begun to use Google Apps for educators, which means they have created a “walled garden” for our system. Kids can safely get on, have email, etc., but nothing is viewable by the outside world. They can collaborate, etc. I admit I haven’t had time to look into it, but I think I’ll be jumping into it soon. I like the cartoon idea above – I will be using that one shortly! Thanks so much for the tips, and I look forward to seeing any updates that come out!

    • Cheryl Oord says:

      How do you use discussion boards with your junior high kids? This is one area I would like to begin using as well. Do you give them a discussion question they have to participate in? How do you manage it?

      • Catlin says:

        Hello Cheryl,

        I actually use my Collaborize Classroom discussions with my high school students. I teach English language arts. I have replaced 75% of the pen and paper homework I used to assign with online discussions and writing assignments. Students do everything from analytical writing to reflective pieces about the literature we read. We also do creative writing, peer editing, and test preparation online.

        I have used other platforms in the past, but I have really enjoyed the different question types that Collaborize offers because they allow me to structure our conversations. We have debates, brainstorms, etc. The variety keeps students interested.

        Let me know if you have any other specific questions! Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

        Catlin

  9. Jen Giffen says:

    There are a number of online tools I love to use here is a short list:
    Livebinders – collect all your online links in a virtual binder complete with tabs and suntans. Great bookmark let to link site quickly and easily.
    Scoop.it – curate your own topic
    Today’sMeet- create a private back channel (no registration needed) – allows the quieter kids a safe place to participate.
    Edmonds – in the simplest form it is Facebook for the classroom. My students love that they can get in touch with me easily and can access resources all in one place.

  10. Jose says:

    Hi, great information. Just two little things:

    The snapshot you showed for typewith.me is not from that site, it is actually from TitantPad.com. That is another backchanneling site that has worked pretty good for me.

    The last time I tried to get into JayCut, it said it was not accepting new members at the time. I do not really know if that is still the case (?).

    Another sites that I would recommend are:

    voki.com – Talking avatars
    blabberize – Putting voice to pictures

    My students are presently using these two for a video mashup on Genetics. (Love putting a mouth and voice on Mendel!)

    And let´s not forget all the sites for podcasts. My students´ favorites are cinch.fm and Audioboo due to ease of management.

    Thank you Catlin, you rock!
    My students love StudyBlue, there is something about the interface (black/sky blue) that is just appealing.

    • Catlin Tucker says:

      Thank you for the additions, Jose!

      I also could not sign up for JayCut, but it sounded temporary.

      Voki and Blabberize are two I also use with students and they love them. It is a fun way to do dramatic readings without the pressure of standing in front of the class.

      Catlin

  11. Keith says:

    Nice list!

    I’d like to suggest diigo.com for annotating web content. They had some performance issues when I first used them with my classes two years ago (30 kids in a computer lab all annotating and discussing their annotations at the same time nearly crashed their system), but seem to be handling the traffic better now.

    And I use diigo whenever I’m reading an article. It seems almost silly now to consume information and not make notes that I can reference later.

    And I’m the creator of EssayTagger.com – a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster. I’d love to see my tool make the next list you put together! It’s in “Open Beta” now, which means it’s totally free until Feb 10th. All we want in return is lots of feedback, feature requests, criticisms, etc. Let me know what you think!

    thanks!

  12. This was a great list! I like how you explained each one of the tools and provided a clear educational purpose for each one. I thought it was important to mention that VoiceThread and Edmodo might be runners up to the list as well! We find them to be excellent tools for our ELL students as it gives them real-world practice with speaking and typing their English while typically having those skills embedded in some other subject based context. We are especially finding success with Edmodo in our Middle school since it feels a lot like Facebook and allows the students to take the lead in the learning and sharing of the class.

    Thanks again for sharing!
    Jessica :)

  13. Eileen says:

    Oh my gosh I totally love it AND will definitely use it and SHARE it with others! Thank you so much for this!

  14. dan says:

    Myfakewall is down.

  15. Jessica says:

    animoto is another great video presentation software and it is amazingly user friendly. It has a free application, but allows a free upgrade to teachers and allows for 50 student accounts to be created under each teacher.

    • Catlin says:

      Yes, Animoto is fabulous, and I use it all the time. I wrote a blog in December about Animoto.

      Thanks for adding it to this list!

      Catlin

  16. Thanks for introducing me to Storybird. I have already set up an account and I plan to use it the first week of school. I can’t wait.
    Excellent resource.
    Sarah Tharpe Winchell

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  19. waheed says:

    thanks, it helped me to complete my assignment

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  23. Sharon Blatt says:

    Try out Slide.ly, you can make great slideshows and collages! disclosure – I’m the community manager at Slidely, and I’ve seen many teachers make great things for their classes!

  24. Catlin says:

    Yes, MyFakeWall was a little slow for me. I assumed it was due to it being in BETA stage. I hope it will speed up once it is out of BETA.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Catlin

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