As we prepare to enter 2014, I’ve been reflecting on what technology tools have served my students well in 2013 and which tools are on my list to add to my repertoire moving forward in the new year.
The Present: My favorites from 2013
1. Edmodo: I love this Facebook-like environment where my class continues online after the bell rings. The mark of a good tool: I continue to find new ways to incorporate it regularly.
2. Prezi: Having students create a Prezi is so much more engaging than a PowerPoint. Embedding video and pictures is simple. Also, students share the link with me on a wiki or via email and presentation day does not involve lots of hunting for files on flash drives.
3. Educreations: Educreations is my favorite app for students to create something to show off on my Apple TV in the classroom. It is intuitive and has more capabilities than “Show Me”, such as inserting text.
4. Dropbox: I can easily store, share, and access any kind of data from anywhere with the easy-to-use and free Dropbox service.
5. DropItToMe: Any size file can be submitted into my Dropbox, which means I can have students turn in work electronically. While some suggest Google Drive replaces these two together, I don’t see dropping them just yet. They are very convenient and I’m comfortable with them.
6. Actively Learn A free online e-reader that bills itself as “able to transform reading for your students by empowering teachers to reach students inside a digital text”. I have used their questions as well as embedded my own, and the ability to track mastery of common core standards is a nice feature.
7. Subtext: An iPad app very similar to Actively Learn, it has the advantage of requested texts being made available in the same day.
8. Screencast-o-Matic: I regularly use this for creating quick videos I want to place on YouTube and/or Edmodo for a flipped lesson. I haven’t found a tool more simple or more free.
9. Pic Collage: I had students use this app to create a collage related to a story, insert text to state the theme, and save as an image on the camera roll of the iPad which they shared on the Apple TV. I’ve tried several apps for this assignment and this one is simple, intuitive, and free.
The Future: Tools I plan to explore in 2014
10. Evernote: This tool has been on my list to conquer for quite some time. It’s openness and flexibility has been somewhat intimidating when deciding how best to set it up. As I understand it, one can organize notes (scans and documents) into notebooks and tag items for easy retrieval. I have been seeking the wisdom of Andy Traub and Daniel Gold and their podcast “The Productive Life Show” for how to get started.
11. Socrative: I have not used Socrative, and since I have both a clicker system in class and use Edmodo out of class, I have not been sure where its capabilities would best suit my class’s needs. However, it tops so many Edtech lists I would really like to give it a go this year.
12. Teachers Pay Teachers: I have found some wonderful resources there and have been encouraged by this guy that my materials would do well there. He’s brilliant, so I tend to listen to what he says.
The Past: One tool I used in 2013 I definitely won’t be using in 2014
13. Glogster: Part Glog, part poster; in November I had my students complete their “One Pager” assignments on a short story using this tool. I wanted to like it. I really did. However, it was glitchy and cumbersome. Students got lost in the bells and whistles instead of content. It was not intuitive. And it’s not free. I will not be revisiting this tool.
Past, Present, & Future: One tool that belongs on all lists
14. Google Apps: These encompass so much that I am forever learning new uses. I often use google forms and love the grading capability of Flubaroo. I have not (yet) used Hangouts in the classroom and have always wanted to try Amy Mayer’s method for video grading writing in Google Docs since the day I read it. I found this presentation on the web on 40 uses of Google Apps in the classroom that includes both things I’ve tried and things I’d never even considered. Google Apps are destined to be ubiquitous in modern classrooms.
What are your favorite tech tools that should be on my list?