EDTECH FOR THE CLASSROOM
Technology puts students in the pilot’s seat as learning explorers, personalizing their own acquisition in ways that were difficult when resources came only from the teacher and a textbook.
With school getting underway, we’re offering a brief list of tech tools for students to enhance their experience in the classroom or at home. Though not exhaustive, this list packs a mighty punch, aiding in establishing connections and learning development. And whether your learners are working on their first research essay, testing out data presentation, a fun science project, or a series of math equations, there are tools available right now making the process more engaging for them.
If you don’t know Flipgrid now, you really need to know this video discussion platform. Simply create a grid, and your students can record video responses on any browser, Chromebook, tablet, or mobile device. Due to its versatility and ease of use by all ages, it has become wildly popular. Teachers have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #FlipgridFever demonstrating ways this tool is being utilized in classrooms. One of the best features in this tool is community; all of your students can view the videos and engage with the content, while you have the option of playing moderator and setting the privacy. You can even get virtual Flipgrid Certified Educator badges. Spoiler: use may incite “the fever”.
Mind mapping is a valuable resource in the classroom, and this technique is often used in the business world as a tool for collaborative problem-solving, strategic thinking, presentations, and coaching. This tool gives students a chance at practicing what they will likely be doing in their future careers. Plus, most of us have experience with brainstorming in language learning contexts, and Sketchboard is, quite honestly, a very cool and well-designed tool for both these exercises.
One board lets teams collaborate their thoughts visually using structural sketching, flow charts with highly adaptable paths, diagrams, freehand drafting, and images, all including text and comment boxes that your students can communicate in real-time. The pedagogical possibilities are endless. Another bonus: Sketchboard integrates with team tools such as Google Drive and Slack, adding to its versatility. Go on, give it a try; but it might make you envious of your fourth graders.
Are your students guilty of wandering the Internet during a lesson? Have you got energetic students with limited attention spans constantly multi-tasking? Help is on the way. Cold Turkey is a tool allowing educators the option of blocking certain websites or the Internet entirely so that students can stay focused on objectives. Boost your class’ productivity (or classes’ if you yourself are doing a bit of the multi-task shuffle).
Those already familiar are typically using Kahoot! for formative assessment and review. But even if this game-based learning platform isn’t new to you, its continued presence in classrooms nationwide is undeniable, and that’s primarily due to its ease of integration and user friendly design.
From successfully getting your surly teenage students to roll out “N’importe quoi!” in French, to polling whole class responses on the physics question, “Do heavier objects fall more slowly than lighter objects?“ Kahoot’s got you covered. This tool has the advantage of packaging up twenty-first century skills like communication and team collaboration into a game equipped for team mode or survey of opinion.
But wait—there’s more! A feature called “Ghost Mode” offers students a chance at improving their old score through repetition and reinforcement. Once finished with a game, you’ll see a new “Play Again” button with a ghost icon. Clicking the button will relaunch the same game. Your live class is then joined by their ghosts, who will play the game alongside the live players, and their answers (and answer times) will be the same as the previous game. And just in time for Halloween. Match point.
Go ahead and engage your class with these interactive tech tools for students to help them acquire skills that will serve them for today and beyond.
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