New web 2.0 tools appear each day. Many of these tools were not originally intended for classroom use, but they can be powerful learning tools for today's techno-savvy students and their more adventurous teachers. These sites appear (and frequently disappear) very quickly, launched by creative techno-geeks out there in the world.
Many of these tools require a higher-than-average set of teacher tech skills or some extra monitoring to assure student "safety." TeachersFirst Edge reviews these "tools on the Edge" carefully, and with specific ideas for using them safely and effectively in teaching and learning. Reviews point out any safety or policy concerns for the tool and offer links to management tips for each concern.
Especially popular is this subset of the Edge: BYOD Dream Tools: Free tools that work on any device. Look for the device agnostic tool tag in any review.
This is the world your students already know. Try teaching in their vernacular. A little adventurousness makes for powerful learning.
Browse the full listing of detailed safety/school policy tips or save time by reading them as needed from each tool review.
If you try one of these tools and find it especially useful, be sure to leave a comment on it to share your students' successes with other teachers. If you know of another tool that teachers would find beneficial, please suggest it via our webmaster account, as a "suggested resource."
Here's the Edge:
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse oodlu to differentiate learning in your classroom. Assign questions sets to different groups of learners according to their specific needs. Be sure to show students how to log in and access questions, then include a link to the site on your class webpage for students to play at home. At the end of your learning unit, ask students to plan a multimedia presentation using a tool like Storyboard That, reviewed here, and then share their learning using a multimedia presentation tool like Sway, reviewed here. Have students include text, images, videos, and a link to oodlu learning games in the Sway.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomRyeboard is perfect for those times that you need to organize information and ideas in one place, but you don't need a lot of fancy options. Use this tool to save and organize images for use with class digital projects. Create a whiteboard with an image of each student in your class, add a text box with notes then share with a substitute to have a quick overview of the class. Ryboard is easy enough to use with younger students and ESL/ELL students. Create a board with images and have students use the text box to label the images and add additional information. For example, when studying animals upload several images of animals and have students add a text box naming the animal and sharing information about their habitat or adding a label to classify as birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Scratchwork in place of other whiteboard tools in secondary math and science classrooms for collaboration purposes. Scan written work while in a video chat as you and your student discuss questions and problem-solving activities. Share Scratchwork with students to use with peers to discuss and collaborate on homework. Ask students to use this site, then export their discussions in PDF format to demonstrate the exploration of concepts. Have students document learning from this site and other problem-solving activities using a blogging tool like Edublog, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Deck.Toys to create gamified learning activities for all students. Deck.Toys is perfect for creating mini-lessons for students to explore during center time or as a flipped classroom activity. Use to remediate and enrich lessons for struggling learners or as an enrichment activity for gifted learners.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Notejoy to work collaboratively with your peers. Share discussions on lesson planning, field trip preparation, and professional development sessions. Take advantage of the checklists to assign and track completion of projects. Share Notejoy with older students to use when working on group projects to help plan and complete tasks on time. ESL/ELL and resources teachers can use this with teachers of students who are mainstreamed.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Netboard to curate and collect resources for any subject. Create a new board to share with students for each unit, for example, when teaching a unit on fantasy in literature share resources to examples of fantasy writing, student examples of writing, images to inspire fantasy writing, and more. Have students create a Netboard to accompany any research project and ask them to include a link to all resources they used as part of their research.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Wufoo to create response forms for any classroom need. Take advantage of the templates to invite parents to class or school events. Have students develop surveys using Wufoo and then analyze the results. Use order forms to collect money for field trips or to sell school t-shirts or memorabilia.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): slides (68)
In the ClassroomShare Beautiful.AI with students to use for presentations as an alternative to Google Slides or PowerPoint. Use this tool for your flipped or blended learning lessons and student multimedia presentations. Challenge your writers to create short stories that include their artwork, and publish with slides. Beautiful.AI is a great resource for your BYOD classroom.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
In the ClassroomUse Spark to create videos of student presentations for any subject. Create videos of images taken during science experiments and class field trips to share on your website. Ask students to create infographics explaining facts and information about states, countries, planets, and more. Have students create interactive posters, book report covers, invitations, and flyers to promote school events. Spark offers many possibilities for graphics and multimedia presentations in all classrooms.
GradesK to 12
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