Tech Tools
Technology

Worth Trying Tech Tools

1. FLIPGRID

So, I’m going to start with this one and get it out of the way. Even though I don’t believe Flipgrid requires any more attention than it already has received, I can’t possibly write a post about cutting-edge tech tools without mentioning it as an example. This is, in my opinion, the most talked-about technological innovation of the past year, and for a good reason.

Flipgrid, then, is that? Students respond to questions or prompts via video on this app, which teachers typically use. They can comment on the videos of their peers after they’ve finished their own.

Students could use this tool to discuss any topic, analyze a book or movie, or ask questions about what you’re studying in class. It’s a good way to get students talking.

Flipgrid gives us a channel to bring our real voices, our real faces, and our true, less-edited selves back into play at a time when we are all getting less and less comfortable with face-to-face communication.

2. INSERTLEARNING

You can convert virtually any web page into a teaching resource using this tool. Let’s say you find an interesting article in The Guardian and want to share it with your students, but you also want to ask them a few questions, provide your own commentary, and include a relevant video. All of this can be accomplished within the article itself, thanks to InsertLearning.

Chrome users can add InsertLearning, formerly known as DocentEDU, as an add-on. It only takes a minutes to turn any web page into a lesson once it’s there. A web page of any kind can be used as a starting point for creating a multiple-choice or open-ended quiz for students to answer right on the page. Videos from YouTube, ThingLink, Quizlet or Coggle can also be inserted, as well as webcam videos that you record yourself.

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After creating an InsertLearning lesson, you can assign it to a group of students using a special code or through Google Classroom, and the responses of the students will then be sent to a dashboard, where you can grade them. It’s also possible to share your lessons with other teachers so that they can use and modify them for their own classrooms.

I believe we’ve passed the point where we can rely solely on a single platform for all of our needs. Instead, teachers should use a variety of tools to meet the needs of their students at any given time. Incorporating InsertLearning into your lesson-creation arsenal would be a great idea.

3. BOOK CREATOR

Students of different ages and abilities can use Book Creator to create, publish, and share online books.

Using this tool, you can make your books as simple or complicated as you want. Google images can be directly inserted into locked panels in a comic book layout for students who prefer more structure. Those who want more freedom can choose a blank page and upload their own images. Students can change the font, add shapes and stickers, create hyperlinks to other websites, and even import audio and video files into their work.

After a book is finished, the pages turn and audio and video play in the app like a real book.

Teachers could also benefit from this tool. You can create books and place ’em into either a private library just for you. You can also create a public library that your students can join by using a code. All library members can contribute books to the collective collection.

Book Creator has the potential to work with any audience and any subject matter. It is possible for students to write and illustrate books that demonstrate how a particular scientific concept affects their daily lives, historical accounts of social injustice, real-world applications of math principles, or an original, illustrated story. If a student is working on a genius hour project, they can use a book to document their progress, show off their artwork or photographs, or document their class’s memories of a field trip they took.

Book Creator could open up a whole new world of possibilities for students to demonstrate and share their knowledge.

4. NEWSEUMED

Teachers of social studies and history are in for a treat.

One of the world’s most comprehensive online collections of primary sources and news artifacts, NewseumED provides teachers and students alike with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of journalism and the First Amendment.

The German press’ coverage of Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympic gold medal winners can be found here. No, it wasn’t a photograph taken in Selma, Alabama, on the front cover of Life magazine in 1965. That’s already there. Abe Lincoln without his beard? Check.

You can search for content by state, century, theme, topics, type of resource, and so on, using the site’s search options. Using a URL that lasts for 2 weeks. It can be renewed an unlimited number of times, you’ll be able to share anything you’d like your students to use, such as a map, newspaper, or quiz.

You can download, print, or copy handouts for any lesson you’d like to teach, and everything has been aligned to NCSS, NCHS, NCTE, and Common Core Standards if you find a lesson you’d like to teach.

When I first saw this site, it brought back memories of the early days of the Internet. For a while, we talked about the idea that the entire Library of Congress would be available online, if only theoretically. Except in 1994, when I was trying to find something, it wasn’t that simple. Seeing a site like NewseumED makes that vision seem closer to reality.

Having access to primary sources at a time when the concept of “truth” has become shaky is more important than ever. Every history teacher should have NewseumED on their list of must-have resources.

5. AUTODRAW

…OK, I’ll admit it: I included this one simply because it’s so cool. I saw it first time on Twitter, and I was in a panic. To begin with, I’d like to tell you about it, because I believe it has educational value.

A tool called AutoDraw uses artificial intelligence to figure out what you’re drawing. Start with a blank canvas, and AutoDraw gives you an assortment of professionally drawn images based on what the tool thinks you’re trying to depict on the screen.

AutoDraw’s guesses change as you add more detail to your own sketch. When you find an image that matches your vision. You can use it as is or tweak it to your heart’s content. There is option to turn off the automatic feature and draw completely on your own if you so desire. ut even if you don’t, the feature itself is impressive.

A PNG file, Twitter or Facebook share, or a unique URL can all be automatically shared when your masterpiece is finished.

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