There are a plethora of educational technology tools available online, and it can be hard to tell a great tool apart from a dud. We asked some of our favorite teachers for their input and did a little research to compile this list of the 10 Best #EdTech Tools for Teachers. Enjoy!
Screenr allows teachers to easily create and share screencasts. A screencast is a video and audio recording that combines the images on your screen with a voiceover of you speaking. They’re very easy to create - just hit record, and the program starts recording via your microphone and capturing what you see on your screen. When you’re done, the video is uploaded and you get a link that you can send to others to share the screencast. Screenr is used to do things like capture powerpoint presentations for students not present or teach students how to use a new web tool.
Remind (Formerly Remind 101)
Remind is a great messaging tool for teachers. It’s a simple web / mobile application that allows teachers to blast text messages and documents to parent and student’s cell phones. The beautiful part about their model is that it allows direct communication without revealing sensitive information like personal phone numbers to either party.
Socrative is a very cool ap that takes the idea behind the classic ‘clicker’ and builds upon it. For those unfamiliar, a clicker is used by teachers for real time quizzing - the instructor asks a multiple choice question, and the students select a button on their clicker to respond. Socrative takes this to the next level by allowing a huge amount of customization, being present on multiple types of devices, tying identity to answer, and making displaying answers and providing feedback easy and intuitive.
Edmodo is an educational social network. ‘Social’ has become a bit of a buzzword these days, and social media has wreaked havoc in schools all over the country, but Edmodo really gets it right. It looks and feels a lot like Facebook, which may be it’s biggest strength - kids understand it right out of the box. It fosters discussion outside of the classroom, hosts assignments and documents, and allows teachers to get input from the students who are quiet in class but eager to contribute. Why do I love it? As a student who was prone to losing assignment sheets, being able to pull everything from the cloud would have been a dream.
Padlet is an online tool that can be used to create bulletin boards around any topic. It is as simple as it sounds, yet it can be taken in some very cool directions. Check out the Odyssey timeline example to see it in action.
Newsela aims to teach reading comprehension using current events - nothing new there. The novelty of Newsela is that it allows you to customize the difficulty of the reading material to fit each individual student’s needs, quiz and collect data, and track progress over time. Much like Socrative, Newsela uses technology to make vast improvements to an existing idea.
TenMarks is a math curriculum modeled after SBAC and PARCC that dynamically updates to fit the needs of each student, provides support when students are stuck, and provides tools to cut down on a teacher’s workload by automating assignments, grading, and assessments.
Diigo is a way to collect and annotate reading materials for a group. What does that mean for teachers? You can post all documents, notes, and annotations in a single place hosted in the cloud. Diigo also caches everything you post, meaning it will exist regardless of whether or not the original document is still online. Useful, easy, and intuitive!
Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that the price and quality of graphing calculators in the classroom has not changed in 30 some odd years? Desmos changes that. Desmos is a beautiful, easy to use graphing calculator that can handle advanced graphing and is usable on any device. Pretty cool!
Last but not least is the juggernaut, Google. Google’s suite of tools is my personal favorite. They have an incredible variety of free applications - Gmail and Hangouts for communication and backchanneling, Docs for creating collaboratively and sharing, Groups for collecting and curating, Calendars for scheduling - the list is nearly endless. Google Classroom, which weaves together existing google functionality into a platform tailored to education is coming soon, and you should be very excited.
What are your favorite tools? What do you use on a daily basis? Is there a tool that doesn’t exist that you dream about? Leave us a comment below or tweet to us @codehs!
- Will McCambley