Are you ready to use technology in your classroom, but worry about the time it will take you (and your students) to learn how to use new tools? Luckily, not all tools have a steep learning curve.
In fact, many are very simple to use, making them easy to learn and implement in your classroom.
These seven tools, ranging from video creating platforms to online reading logs, are not only simple, but engage your students and motivate them to learn more while having fun.
If you’re looking to use a new website or game during activity-station time, this is a great option. FunBrain offers a wide variety of online games that help students learn while having fun. Subjects covered include reading and math, with games like Tic Tac Toe Squares—“The classic game with a math twist!”—and The Grammar Gorillas—“Our friends, the Grammar Gorillas, need help identifying parts of speech.”
This tool can only be used on the iPad, making it best for teachers in an iPad classroom or school, 1:1 or otherwise. However, with an iPad in hand, this simple tool allows you and your students to reimagine the way they brainstorm, study and take notes via mind maps.
With Popplet, you and your students start with a single phrase or image in the middle of the map, adding ideas, facts and important information as branches. The branches can be color coded and labeled. For example, students can label their specific branches when working in groups, so you can see who contributed what.
This simple tool is all you need to motivate students to read more. Students log their reading, answer CCSS-aligned comprehension questions, and comment on their peers’ responses to earn Wisdom Coins. These Coins can be “spent” on virtual accessories in the Owl Shop. You’ll be amazed at how motivating this is for students.
As an educator, it’s easy to implement—simply add your student roster. Once students start logging reading, you’ll be able to see reading and comprehension progress via Lexile measures, along with average minutes read, average responses scored and written, and more.
This data makes it easy to follow the progress of your students and offer personalized recommendations for reading and improving.
Use this fun tool to get to know your students, throw a pop quiz or simply check on understanding during long lectures. Simply write a question, share it to your class, and watch the responses in real-time. Students can answer your question via Twitter, a web browse or their mobile phone, making this a simple and accessible school to teachers in a variety of settings.
Animoto is a fun and simple platform that you and your students can use to make awesome videos without any video editing knowledge. Once you choose your style and song (options are built into the platform), you can customize with text, videos and photos, produce your final product and share.
Some fun ways to use this awesome tool include:
- Student interviews: Share at parent-teacher conferences.
- Video book report: Act out a scene from the book or become one of the characters.
- End of year project: Create a video compiling everyone’s favorite parts of the previous school year.
If you want to start a class blog, or help your students start their own blogs, WordPress may seem a bit overwhelming. Edublogs, the largest education blogging platform on the web, is the perfect option, making it simple to create, maintain and share yours and your students’ blogs.
This education blogging tool is free and comes with a variety of built-in safety and security features, such as privacy control, moderated content and activity reports, so you and your students’ parents can rest easy.
Whether you’re teaching in a flipped classroom or simply like providing students with video to study and learn from, Swivl’s video feature is a home run. After recording your video, you can add slides with text and images that focus students on the most important information and provide more visuals.
You can also use this tool to annotate a lesson. Simply record your lesson, add slides and share with students. For some students, having your exact lecture, along with extra information and resources, makes it easier to prepare for a test.