Use these 7 tech tools to modernize your classroom
Classroom technology doesn’t have to come at a premium. In fact, free online education tools are as easy to find as an antsy student in class. However, don’t confuse availability with effectiveness. Few products are actually useful, and others simply add bulk to your already hefty teacher toolbox.
Luckily, all you need are a few tools to see improvements in lesson planning, classroom organization, and more. Check out these seven classroom tech tools that are sure to benefit you and your students.
Make every lesson more exciting with Prezi. It’s most unique feature is a zooming canvas. Rather than flipping through flat slides, you can bounce from one topic to the next, making almost any lesson more interesting to learn about. Encourage students to use it too for presentations or book reports. They can customize their work with images and videos, and can easily collaborate with other students.
Google Drive, or some variation of it—Docs, Forms, Sheets—can be found on nearly every list of tech tools because it truly is one of the most versatile options available to teachers and students. Use your Google Drive to create quizzes (Google Forms), collect homework homework (Google Docs), or store classroom materials in an easy-to-access location.
The best part: because it’s cloud based, you can say goodbye to lugging heavy bags home and simply grade homework wherever you have access to the Internet.
Top Hat is the leading classroom engagement tool and teaching management system that thousands of educators use to engage their students, save time, and gauge student understanding in real-time. Top Hat is a web-based application that allows educators to interact with students through their students’ own devices. Users of Top Hat have reported an increase in student participation and grades, have a deeper insight into students’ understanding, and have more fun teaching!
This free, online reading log motivates your students to read more and ensures that they comprehend the content, too. After logging minutes, students are automatically prompted to answer a Common Core-aligned question.
Based on the amount of minutes they read and the answer to their question, students are awarded Wisdom Points that can be used to “buy” accessories from the Owl Store for their Owlvatar. You can grade the answers and see analytics for both individual students and the class as a whole, allowing you to bring more data into your lesson planning.
Pandora or Spotify
Use these free music players to take advantage of the many benefits of music at no cost to you or the school. Music not only has the power to bring your lessons to life, but it helps students focus, facilitates a multi-sensory experience, and releases tension.
Create a short playlist for the beginning or end of the day, or play clips as a way to transition from one lesson to the next. “I have ten-second, 30-second, and one-minute sound clips. After the first few weeks, the students know exactly how long they have for a ‘Turn and Talk’ or to transition to the next subject,” says Brent Vasicek, a teacher in Michigan.
Books That Grow
Encourage students to improve their reading with this leveled reading platform. Books are read online and contain three to five levels of complexity. You or the student finds a book to read and choose the appropriate complexity level. Afterward, you can have a class-wide discussion about the book despite everyone’s varying reading levels. You can find books like Harriet Tubman: The Line to Freedom, Rip Van Winkle, The Tell Tale Heart, among many others.
Connect with students, parents, and other teachers with Schoology, the top CODie winner of 2014. Their basic package is free and allows you to build student profiles, differentiate your instruction with built-in tools, manage online homework submissions, and much more. If you like to have all of your things in one convenient spot, this is a classroom tool you cannot overlook.
This free tool is so much more than an online lesson planer, which is just one great feature. It also allows you to add summaries of your lessons, look at an overview of your day, and track how well your students are keeping up with standards like Common Core. You can also use it to collaborate with educators across the world and find lessons other teachers have already created.
As the EdTech industry grows, so do the resources that are available to teachers. Use these free tools in your classroom or go searching for more—they’re not hard to find and often times can make all the difference in how you plan, execute, and connect.