25 Teaching Tools For The Digital Classroom: Tools To Organize, Innovate, & Manage What You Do
by Mike Acedo
Over the years, many of us have personally experienced the growth of technology in today’s classrooms. Instead of taking notes, students are now occupied by surfing the Internet, scrolling through Facebook, and messaging their friends on their smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Instead of focusing on the instruction, teachers are constantly required to interrupt class in order to remind those students again and again, that class time is for learning, not texting. However, as today’s students are using more technological devices, it is imperative that teachers have access to the resources to keep pace with the growing tech culture.
The use of smart phones, tablets, and other tech items in the classroom do not necessarily have to have a negative impact on student achievement. On the contrary, the increasing accessibility and growth of technology presents teachers with the unique opportunity to take advantage of those once distracting gadgets, and use them to facilitate academic achievement in new and innovative ways. In this capacity, teachers do not need to be constantly fighting for student attention, but can freely accept it, by introducing a new educational environment that will automatically encourage student participation.
Below are some resources that teachers may find useful when attempting to implement technology into their classrooms, separated by 5 common areas that are increasingly important for teachers, and for an effective learning environment—Organization, Project Based Learning, Class Management, Presentations, and Assessment.
This innovative platform provides teachers with an all-in-one grade book that offers attendance charts, grade books, calendars, seating charts, behavior tracking, and more. It also gives teachers access to 3rd party lesson content, the ability to create custom tests aligned with common core standards, and a way to track individual student progress.
On this site, teachers can find multiple resources that will help them stay organized in their classrooms. Once registered to the site, teachers have access to lesson plan templates, to-do lists, sub plans, project ideas, and much more.
My Big Campus gives teachers, students, parents, and administrators unprecedented access to an endless amount of useful resources to raise student achievement. Through an interactive platform that can be accessed though mobile devices and tablets, My Big Campus makes it easy to engage with students, develop lessons, track student improvement, as well as connect with parents and other members of the learning community.
My School Binder gives teachers the opportunity to easily add, edit and organize assignments on their class page. Students in turn, can submit completed assignments, ask questions, and receive instant feedback from their teachers. Additionally, students and teachers can view events and assignments on the Schoolbinder Calendar, and be reminded of upcoming due dates with custom notifications. Teachers also have access to teacher forums where they can receive feedback and tips for lessons and projects directly from other educators.
Learn Boost helps teachers record, organize and sort individual student progress. It also allows teachers to develop and organize lesson plans, share student progress with parents and students, and can also be integrated with Google Apps, making it a convenient time saver.
Glogster EDU is a global education platform that empowers students and educators to create interactive online posters that include text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, and much more. Glogster encourages students to take control of their own learning in a fun way by promoting independent thought, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. Glogster also provides teachers with strategies to implement curriculum into projects, promote skill mastery, facilitate digital literacy, and encourage innovation and collaboration.
Mindmeister is a great mind-mapping tool that can help students develop and organize project ideas. This free app encourages collaborative brainstorming, where students can wok together to plan and analyze potential projects.
SonicPics is a great app that allows students to combine pictures with recorded narration into a threaded story. There are multiple uses for this app, as students can share personal narratives, review curriculum, or create custom presentations for class.
Through Dipity, students can combine images, photos, text and other media into a visually stimulating, interactive timeline. This is a great tool for students to creatively map out past or current events, add desired media or effects, and present them in a seamless, fun slideshow.
MyHistro allows students to create interactive timelines by combining blogging, media, and Google maps to tell personal stories. Students can create personalized maps that tell about ones family, ancestors, special memories, or other aspects of their history and future. This can be presented in a slideshow and can be a great way to get students to creatively tell their own life stories or focus on historical events.
This is a great tool for supporting teacher’s in-class instruction or helping their flipped classrooms be successful. This free online platform allows teachers to quickly launch a personalized learning site that addresses student concerns outside of the classroom, leaving students more prepared for in-class activities. Collaborize Classroom encourages students to help each other through problems with the guidance of their instructors, and provides teachers with instant access to lesson plans and project ideas to implement into the classroom. Additionally, this platform gives teachers the ability to better identify and accommodate different learning styles by incorporating visual and audio into their lessons, and grouping students according to learning habits.
This social, Facebook-styled platform, allows teachers to continue classroom discussions outside of the classroom, check for student understanding, and get students excited about coming to class to learn. Teachers can connect students to resources and tools that will help them better understand classroom material, personally measure student progress, and enhance learning though integrating apps that amplify their lesson plans.
Socrative is a great way for teachers to engage their students inside and outside of the classroom, as they can send out quizzes or other educational exercises that can be used to measure student understanding. Teachers can also take advantage of Socrative’s “Exit Tickets” which require students to answer a quick question before they leave the class that focuses on how comfortable they are in understanding the day’s material. This gauges student understanding of subject matter and informs teachers on what is working and what needs to be focused on.
Remind101 is a simple, safe, and secure way for teachers to send mass text messages to students and parents without invading their privacy. Teachers can use this to send reminders and notification to students concerning upcoming tests, homework assignments, due dates, and events which students and parents will receive through text message or email. Teachers can schedule messages to be sent in advanced, which keeps students up to date with schoolwork and helps prevent forgetfulness.
ClassDojo is a tool for teachers to quickly and easily improve classroom behavior. Teachers are able to reward points to students for good behavior, which they receive in real-time on their smart phones or laptops. This engages students in a new way, and incentivizes good student behavior. Additionally, ClassDojo can track student behavior, producing analytical reports, which can be shared with parents and administrators.
Brickflow is an app where teachers and students can create presentations using content collected from social media. By searching the web through hashtags, teachers and students have the opportunity create a visual summary of a topic, building stories with content from Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. This can be a fun and innovative way to spruce up classroom presentations and keep students up to date with current events.
Empressr is an easy to use presentation generator that allows users to easily incorporate flash and other media into their presentations. This is a free online application that can be used to help teachers and students create visually rich presentations.
Present.me is a great tool for teachers and students that allow them to record presentations, lectures, or projects, and accompany them with visual content. This is a useful tool for teachers who wish to flip their classroom, and a fun way to encourage students to get involved in their own learning by creating their own visually rich presentations.
Projeqt gives students and teachers the opportunity to express creativity and learning through a simple, intuitive presentation platform. Students and teachers may combine information they find online with content they have created themselves, creating a dynamic presentation that can include live blog feeds, tweets, interactive maps, quizzes and much more. Users can access presentations from anywhere at anytime, and receive instant feedback from peers or teachers. This is a great tool for creating a social, interactive learning environment in the classroom.
Prezi is a fantastic tool for changing the way teachers and students present, moving away from the standard slide-by-slide model, and using a visually stimulating canvas that moves from point to point. Prezi is simple to use, visually stunning, and includes all the standard components of a normal presentation. The variations of presentations are endless, encouraging students and teachers to creatively customize each presentation to enhance how the audience members receive the information.
This is a great tool for creating custom polls, surveys, and quizzes that can be instantly shared through social media, or posted to teacher websites or blogs.
Through ClassMaker, teachers can create secure online quizzes and exams that feature multiple question types, such as multiple choice, short answer, and essay. Tests are automatically graded and are perfect for classrooms, online courses, E-learning, and study groups.
This free test generator offers multiple question types, automatic grading, detailed reports, and a simple design. Additionally, tests are pass code protected, but it does not require students to register to take the tests.
Mentimeter enables teachers to send out questions to students and allow them to instantly vote on them or send feedback though mobile phones or tablets. This is a great way to democratize the classroom by voting on topics or activities, and a very effective tool for issuing pop quizzes.
Teachers can create and share tests with not only students, but with other teachers as well. This gives teachers multiple test resources and also promotes student understanding, as it randomizes test questions and answers, allowing students to take tests multiple times without making the material stagnant.