Digital Tools are a hot topic in education. I have noticed that most educators have one of the following reactions when discussing technology:
- I don’t have enough devices or computers in my room.
- How am I supposed to teach technology skills on top of the curriculum and fit it all in?
- It’s too much work. It’ll take too much time to manage.
- Bring it on…I can’t wait to try this in my room!
Which category do you fit in? Are you a tech savvy teacher or an observer on the sidelines? Well no matter your experience, here is a list of 5 FREE amazing digital tools that are easy to use, manage, and incorporate in your instruction. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll never go back!
Plickers is a great way to ease into the digital age. You will need a laptop hooked up to a projector and your smart phone. You write questions on the site, print out code cards for your kids and download the app on your phone or iPad. Students hold up their answer card which you scan and the results are graphed on the screen next to the question. This is great way to quickly assess students. I love the idea of using this as an exit ticket.
- Students don’t need a device to participate.
- Answer cards can be laminated and used over and over.
- Students love the engagement.
- Questions are saved on the site and can be used again.
- You have to create a free account and enter all of your students’ first names.
- You have to facilitate this activity it is not independent.
Recap is easy to set up and super engaging! The students love this site. I love this tool because students become producers instead of just consumers of technology. They make short videos about, well, whatever you ask them to. You can use Recap on iPads or laptops. Students love to make videos! They take this task seriously and you will see their inner teacher shine!
- It’s very engaging.
- Students can view classmates’ videos as well.
- Teachers can leave comments on the video.
- A “reel” is created of your class footage for each assignment.
- You will have to set up a class account.
- Your students will either need to set up passwords or use a class pin.
- In order to make a video, students will need access to a device.
QR Codes are versatile and easy to use. You will need to visit a QR code creator site, such as QR Code Generator to create a code. Codes can be created using web addresses, pictures, music, videos and text documents. Next download a QR code reader app on the device your students will be using. You can affix the codes to cubes, stickers, index cards, or student calendars/ agendas. These codes can be used to communicate directions, assignments, information for parents, and much more!
- It’s FREE! QR Codes can be used over and over.
- The possibilities for use are endless.
- This takes some prep time to create.
- Students need a device to use them.
EdPuzzle is a great way to make an activity interactive for students. Teachers upload a video and insert quizzes, questions, or comments. Students can not continue the video until they complete the activities. This is also a great way to model and scaffold a concept for students. This is a great tool to use when you need to be in two places at once. Using EdPuzzle enables you to teach a small group and independent center at the same time.
- This is a free tool.
- You can upload YouTube videos or make your own.
- Creating a class account allows you to monitor student work.
- This process can be time-consuming.
Tackk is an awesome way to flip the classroom or create a blended learning environment. Teachers (or better yet students) can create a Tackk to house videos, documents, and links to other sites and tools. Using a Tackk is a great way to present differentiation and self-paced instruction. Students can use Tackk in the classroom or from home as well. Tackk is a great resource for students AND parents. It’s an easy way for students to review and continue practicing a concept or skill. Parents can also see what students are learning.
- It is easy to set up.
- Students are self paced.
- Students do not need an account or code to access.
- Access can be set as public or private.
- There is no way to monitor student progress unless you create links for students to create products.
So which digital tool are you going to PLEARN (play with and learn) and use your classroom? I know jumping in can be scary, but you know what’s even scarier? Being left behind. You will be surprised at how easy it is to enhance instruction with technology. Students are more capable than we give them credit. They will be so engaged and excited to learn! Leave a comment and tell me your favorite digital tools.
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