Monday, October 10, 2016

Online Tools You NEED to use in your Classroom

Technology is SO key to classrooms now a days. As an Educational Tech Specialist, I make it my job to find tools that are easy for teachers to use and have a quick learning curve for students. Wasted class time is a pet-peeve of mine, so why spend a whole class period explaining how to use a new tool. I will detail below some of my favorite Web 2.0 tools, why they are my favorite, and how you can use them in your classroom.

No Log-In Required:

  • Build Your Wild Self: This tool is great for students to learn about animal adaptations. Students can create their "wild self" by adding animal body parts to their avatar. Once they click "done" it tells them about each of the animal parts they selected and how each part helps this animal adapt to its environment and the climate around them. 
  • City Creator: City Creator is great for students to express themselves as upcoming architects. It is a site that I used in my classroom when I was talking about maps and 
  • Comic Master: Comic Master is a fun way for students to interact with the internet while working on creative writing. Have students write about how the character you are studying in history is the real hero through a comic strip. 
  • Music Mixer: Music Mixer is a great way to teach students in a music class about different instruments or about the parts that go into music production. Or if you want to get really creative, have students come up with a song to help remember a list of items you're learning in class (like the planets) and have them use Music Mixer to create a background beat for their song. 
  • Padlet: Padlet is basically an interactive whiteboard. I like to use it for bell work. I just put the link up on the board and the students go there and post their thoughts about a topic. You could also use it as exit tickets and have students post something they learned in class today or the answer to a wrap up question that you have. 
  • Picasso Head: Picasso Head is a great tool for art teachers to have students draw and talk about facial structures and the way that it is perceived to the viewer. 
  • Storybird: Storybird allows students to choose pictures, and add text and voice to tell a story. I like to use this as a creative writing assignment. I give all of my students the same picture and ask them to write me a story about it. 
  • Storyboard That: Storyboard that is an online Storyboard that students can use to brainstorm ideas for their next big paper. My students enjoy using it because they can add picture and color easier than on their paper. 
  • Vocaroo: Vocaroo is simply a voice recording software. Have students practice their speeches or turn in an assignment with their voice rather than writing it, just to switch it up a little. Once they record on Vocaroo, they can just put your email in and send it right to you. 
  • Voki: Voki is probably one of my all time favorite tools. I love to have my students use this tool when they are reading biographies. I like them to create an avatar that looks as close to their person as they can make it, then use the text to speech software to have their person share their biography with the other members of the class. It is presenting without the students themselves doing it - they are using their voki to present. Super fun! 

Log-In Required:

  • Animoto: Animoto is a tool to put pictures and text together to create a slideshow or video. I like to use it when I am introducing a topic or as review in my science class. I put a picutre of an item we are learning about and then the next slide has the item and the definition. I will play it in class and have the students take turns stating what picture is currently shown. 
  • Kahoot: Kahoot is a fun way to review with students. There are so many already made quizzes on Kahoot that you can use, or it is simple to make your own! The students love the competition and point part of the Kahoot review. Just try it one time and you will see how much of a hit it is! Trust me. 
  • Powtoon: Powtoon is a presentation software where you can have little cartoon characters come out and interact with your presentation content. Again, it is just a more fun way to present than having students create a powerpoint. 
  • Tiki Toki: This is a tool I just found out about and already love it. This tool is used to create interactive timelines. Students can add pictures and links to information that they find to add to a timeline. Goodbye paper and a pencil - hello technology and timelines that are actually useful for reviewing. 

If you are interested in any of these tools, feel free to visit my TPT store and check out my easy and student friendly guides to each of these tools. They are great to send to students along with the assignment you want them to complete.

Hope you get to use some of these in your classroom! If you do, let me know what you think.

Mrs. Tech

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