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:
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWork together as a class to complete a 4-Circle Venn Diagram on your interactive whiteboard (or with a projector) to represent an overlap of topics in any subject. For example, use this tool to compare and contrast students' involvement in four different sports, compare events or settings in four novels, or characteristics of four groups of animals. Once students become comfortable with Venn Diagrams, ask them to include them in a longer presentation created using a tool like Wakelet, reviewed here. Use Wakelet to modify classroom technology by having students include their writing, images, diagrams, videos, and more.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): addition (224), coding (75), decimals (125), division (157), equations (156), fractions (231), functions (70), game based learning (147), geometric shapes (168), logic (251), measurement (181), multiplication (210), operations (120), probability (137), problem solving (294), pythagorean theorem (34), ratios (66), square roots (21), statistics (130), subtraction (186)
In the ClassroomPolyup is perfect for use in math classrooms in a variety of ways. Become acquainted with the free lesson plans to incorporate Polyup activities based on specific math skills. Encourage problem-solving and math exploration by including a link to Polyup on classroom computers. Instead of assigning a worksheet or other math activity for homework, ask students to spend time exploring Polyup at home. Extend and assess student learning by using FlipGrid, reviewed here, for students to provide a short video reflection on their learning activity. Optional registration allows you or your students to save progress and create your own machines.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBecause Pindex is specifically for educators, this site makes it easier to find and save information for classroom use. Collaborate with other teachers in your building or subject area to create boards with teaching resources. Take advantage of Pindex's quiz feature to create boards for any topic and assess student learning. Use Pindex as part of flipped learning lessons or as a learning center. Extend learning after students complete quizzes using Synth, reviewed here, to have students discuss information shared on the site. Synth is similar to Twitter, but is an audio resource. Have students share a short audio response related to their learning, then Synth threads all student discussions to create a podcast to share.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomView the videos as a class on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector to learn about countries or periods studied. Take advantage of the search tool to find videos by themes to provide a comprehensive look at the themes in various parts of Europe. For example, select the Renaissance to view information about this period in France, Italy, Austria, and Portugal to provide a larger context of these events. Create playlists to share with your students for social studies topics. Have students include information from the videos on this site to create a website using Webnode, reviewed here, to share their findings. Have students use the templates found on Webnode to enhance their learning style while including images, videos, and their writing. One idea is for students to create a website through the persona of a person living in one of the countries or different a period sharing their way of life. Ask students to modify their learning by creating timelines using Timelinely, reviewed here, to document events from European history. Use Timelinely to include maps, videos, images, and more to create an interactive timeline experience.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Crio for planning and distributing lessons to students. Because lessons save automatically to your account, it makes it easy to reproduce and adjust activities for different classes as needed. Consider creating several lessons to use as a "ready to go" bank for days when a sub is in the classroom or when interruptions to your routine require a quick change of plans. Use Crio to create flipped lessons to introduce new units to students or as a wrap-up and review of content. Work together with peers to develop units for any subject.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomEmploy the Online Photo Editor for virtually all classroom photo editing needs and to enhance your classroom technology use. In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process with younger students using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this tool on images for projects or presentations. Use this tool in photography or art classes. Try out the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Find text options for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDiscover the benefits of using Microsoft Forms in your classroom to create surveys for parents and students at the beginning of the year to learn about student interests, create parent volunteer lists, and much more. Create a sign in and sign out sheet for classroom library materials, including books and digital equipment. Use Microsoft Forms to set up and collaborate on lesson plans, include check boxes to standards, materials needed, and covered content. Microsoft Forms is perfect to use for assessment purposes - create online quizzes and exit tickets. Have students use Microsoft Forms to prepare and submit reading logs, brainstorm, and collaborate with fellow students, create "choose your own adventure" stories, or schedule reading and writing conference times. Use Microsoft Forms to set up and share rubrics for any project, have students complete the rubric and turn in with any completed assignment. The uses for Microsoft Forms are as unlimited as your imagination; this is a must-have tool for all classrooms!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare with students for use with projects to enhance classroom technology and create and combine images without busy backgrounds. For example, create pictures of presidents, castles, or plants for use with any report or on slides for a presentation. Take pictures of students; then remove the background. Save images for use throughout the year in hall displays, bulletin boards, on reward certificates, etc. Add a background to student images as a story starter on historic events, career presentations, or place them as a character within a novel. Modify classroom technology use by having students use an easy website creator like Carrd, reviewed here, where students can upload their image and share their finished story. Introduce a new unit by creating an image using PhotoScissors to place your class in a foreign land. Share that image on FlipGrid, reviewed here, to use as an anticipatory set and ask students to post a video response sharing their thoughts on where they are going and what they already know about the area.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomGet to know ZapWorks through the many robust tutorials and guides found on the site. Share ZapWorks with students interested in design, computer coding, and virtual and augmented reality. Redefine classroom technology by offering students the opportunity to create an augmented reality experience as an alternative to a book report, research project, or multimedia presentation. In science class ask students to create a project demonstrating the water cycle, for literature have students produce their vision of the setting of a book, or use the site to create an animated business card featuring a famous character from history. As students become proficient in using the site, modify classroom technology by asking them to share their expertise with others by creating explainer videos using Biteable, reviewed here. Post these videos on your class website for students to access both at home and at school.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): data (155)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free online tool to guide your district toward planning and implementing your technology plan. Share with administrators as an option for use with your technology committee. As you gather and share information with your community and staff to use in your guide, consider using a collaboration tool like Padlet, reviewed here. Use Padlet to share technology options with the community and gather comments. Create another Padlet to gather comments and ideas from staff. When considering more complex ideas during your planning, use FlipGrid, reviewed here, to create and share video discussions. Use Flipgrid's MixTape feature to build a "mix" of responses to highlight and share. Help build community support for your technology plan by creating ongoing podcasts using Anchor, reviewed here. Share podcasts with your community throughout the planning process to discuss ideas, update listeners on your goals and progress, and to compare and contrast options considered for your plan.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimplify and organize your time with ClassroomQ. Use this resource during student work time as a simple and quiet way to provide student help in a timely manner. Ask students to create a comment including their specific question to help you prepare to provide them the appropriate help (perhaps that is in the form of help from another student). Use ClassroomQ during review games and have students buzz in using this site and add their answer as the comment. Using it this way helps you know who came in first, didn't answer, or took longer to find the response. ClassroomQ also helps you understand the kind and number of comments created and assess areas where students need more help. Use this information to guide instruction. Consider taking common questions as a starting point for a follow-up lesson and have students complete some research on their own. Ask them to share links to additional help using a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here. In addition to creating and sharing bookmarks, use SearchTeam to add comments to supplement the provided links. As students become more confident in the material, modify classroom technology by asking them to create simple explainer videos using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, not only as a reflection tool but also as a guide for other students with similar questions.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomTelepromt.me is a great addition to any classroom and, will enhance your classroom technology use. Ask students to use this tool for presentations to make speeches more audience-friendly than looking down and reading from a paper script. Help struggling readers practice fluency and focus on individual words using this tool with any reading material. Help students listen to their own speech by asking them to record their reading using Telepromt.me and using Vocaroo, reviewed here, or a screen recording tool like Free Screen Recorder Online, reviewed here. Do your students create podcasts? If so, use this teleprompter when reading from scripted material used in podcasts. Anchor, reviewed here, is an excellent tool for creating and sharing your podcasts.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf using Twitter, use Tall Tweets to enhance messages in a variety of ways. If not using Twitter, Tall Tweets is an excellent tool to help you start. Of course, even non-Twitter users will love this site to download images onto your computer. Pique student's interest in upcoming lessons using Tall Tweets to create an animated GIF of portions of your slide presentation. Encourage parent participation and collaboration by tweeting a GIF of classroom activities, including students involved in learning activities (of course, be sure to understand and adhere to your district's privacy policies). If you teach older students, ask them to tweet out a preview of their upcoming classroom presentations. Use Tall Tweets when working on professional development activities to share successes or upcoming professional development opportunities. Ask students to create Google Slides for any classroom purpose - create slides with different types of animals, share facts about states or countries, or demonstrate math problem-solving tips. Create your GIF from the slides and have students share them onto a Padlet, reviewed here, as a collaboration activity with their peers. Ask students to use Google Slides to organize information to explain an activity, for example, a science experiment, then create an animated GIF from the slides. After organizing their information, enhance classroom technology use and ask them to create an explainer video using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, featuring the steps and science learned in the experiment. Take student learning even further using Wakelet, reviewed here. Ask students to use Wakelet as part of their reflection on their learning experience by including text, images, the slide presentation, and animated GIFs created using Tall Tweets. If students used Twitter to share their GIF, use Wakelet's features to include their Tweet directly into the Wakelet presentation.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInstall CheckMark on your Chrome browser as a time-saver and aid to providing feedback to students with a focus on improvement instead of providing a written grade. Have students use CheckMark to review their work before turning it in for a final grade. Ask them to take a screenshot of the initial findings and include it with their final draft. Enhance classroom technology use with an easy website creator like Hashify, reviewed here, and have students reflect on their work and changes made.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMany schools require students to volunteer, use Golden to help manage your school's volunteer program. Be sure to use the sharing features to place volunteering opportunities on your district, school, and class websites. Help students understand the value of volunteering by taking their work beyond just time spent. Use an online bulletin board like Corkboard, reviewed here, to share and brainstorm areas of student interest with the understanding that volunteering will be more meaningful if it is something chosen by the student and not viewed as a required assignment. Encourage students to document their volunteering by taking photos and videos throughout the experience. Consider extending classroom technology by asking students to create a podcast using Buzzsprout, reviewed here, to encourage others to volunteer by sharing their personal stories and reflections upon their own experience. As a reflection activity, and to modify classroom technology use, ask students to create and share a presentation using Sway, reviewed here. Use Sway to include images, text, and more to tell their volunteering story.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): songs (52)
In the ClassroomUse Suan to create mixtapes for classroom use in many situations. Create a mixtape with soothing music to play during quiet times or to calm students after active periods. Use this site in music class to put together mixes of genres, composers, or instruments being studied. Find music from different eras or podcasts to create a mix to introduce the period to students. Ask students to create music mixes from their own material shared on SoundCloud as part of a course portfolio. Enhance students' technology use in class by including the URL to their mixtape in a presentation created using Wakelet, reviewed here; ask them to include video, images, and original student work.
Grades4 to 12