TeachersFirst's BYOD Dream Tools: Free Tools that Work on ANY device!
This collection of reviewed tools from TeachersFirst includes apps that are available for FREE on iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, and web devices. Ideal for BYOD classrooms or 1:1 computer/tablet programs, these reviewed tools allow users to create and access projects using the same app, no matter what kind of device they have.
This collection includes only "DATs" (device agnostic tools) that are FREE on all devices and offer free access with sufficient features to be useful without upgrading to a paid account. Whether you call it an "app" or a "web tool," a DAT allows you to access your projects from almost any device.
Be sure to read the "Edge Features" list at the end of each review to know whether you need to create individual accounts, how products can be shared, and other tips on using these DATs safely and within school policies.
Even the best DAT has slight differences in capabilities on different devices. Encourage your students to share what they discover about additional or missing features on each type of device. your class will quickly appoint tool experts for each app!
TeachersFirst encourages our members (membership is FREE) to add comments and ratings to help other teachers and students trying these tools. Apps change quickly, so we welcome your comments on any changes that may occur to these tools and their free status.
(image credit: Jeremy Keith)
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the content found on this site to find reading material that appeals to students. Share stories as examples of how to write and share topical information or as inspiration for student writing projects. Use the search feature to find content that matches your current classroom curriculum. For example, when learning about countries around the world, use the search bar to find articles and videos of real-world information and sharing stories of people from that country. As students find and share information, use Edublog, reviewed here, as a platform for sharing student work. Extend learning further by finding Skype, reviewed here, partners to share cross-cultural connections with classrooms around the globe.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse FluentKey to easily differentiate world language lessons for students and allow them to progress at their own speed. Help ESL/ELL students master English using videos and quizzes based on their knowledge level. This is also an excellent tool to provide language learning experiences based on student interests. Even if the language isn't included with the videos on the site, find and upload videos for student use and add quizzes along with additional content. As students become proficient in a new language, encourage them to share their knowledge using a variety of multimedia tools. Annotate images using ThingLink, reviewed here, create an audio recording of conversations, or use PhotoCollage, reviewed here, to create a collage. As students become more proficient in their new language, ask them to record short podcasts with a podcast creation tool like Podcast Generator, reviewed here, and share tips and advice with their fellow students.
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.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free games and materials on this site to use as a supplement to your current resources for teaching history and government. Instead of written notes, strengthen learning by having students use an online tool such as Creately, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers. To compare and contrast information found in different primary sources, create a Venn Diagram using Creately. As students prepare to share their findings and summarize their learning, have them modify their learning by creating infographics using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, to visually represent facts and information. As a final assessment for your unit using these materials, ask students to form teams to debate different sides of the issues presented. Share their debates as a podcast using Anchor, reviewed here. Anchor is a simple to use podcasting tool offering several free options for creating, hosting, and sharing podcasts. As an alternative, ask other students redefine their learning and to create multimedia presentations using Sway, reviewed here to share text, videos, images, and more.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this activity with any unit on the environment, water cycles, or weather. Extend this activity further to learn more about water conservation in your community. Ask students to take pictures around the school or at home showing the inefficient use of water. Use PhotoCollage, reviewed here, and have students create a collage of their images to use as a starting point for research. Ask students to enhance their learning and upload their collage to a blog and write analyzing and sharing ideas for water conversation based on their collage. Use a blog tool such as Edublog, reviewed here. Use Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here, to create a learning path for your students for your entire unit. Add videos, quizzes, embed this game and add all the information for students to follow. Symbaloo Learning Paths also includes options for differentiation for different interests or ability levels of your students. Ask older students to modify their learning and create their own Learning Path to demonstrate and share learning throughout the unit.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site to your students on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector and explore one or two of the games together. Create a short story together to learn about how to use the different story-writing options. As students begin creating games using this site, consider having students create explainer videos to modify their learning using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, and to demonstrate tools that need a more detailed explanation than what is on the site. Have students create stories to show what they have learned about literature, geography, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Choice of Games to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This idea could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. Redefine student learning by having them include their text-based game as part of a collaborative multi-media presentation created using Sway, reviewed here. In addition to their game, ask students to include their written documents, images, and video creations.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomKidCitizen works across all devices, share a link to episodes on classroom computers for students to watch as a learning center activity. Flip your classroom and have students view at home before discussing concepts in class. As students interact with content in the episodes, take advantage of the many resources found at Classtools (reviewed here) to create concept maps, quizzes, and online games. If you teach younger students, create additional interactive games with your own content using Oodlu, reviewed here. Ask older students to create their own games using Oodlu. As a final project, have students create books using WriteReader, reviewed here. Write Reader is a very easy to use tool for even young students and includes features for sharing invented writing along with correct spelling. For older students, consider using Book Creator, reviewed here that features more robust digital storytelling tools.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomHave you ever had students complain about group projects and class members not participating fully? Clockify is an excellent tool for managing these projects. Share this site with team members and ask them to include time spent on the project and use tags to categorize time spent on different activities of the project. Clockify is also an excellent resource for teaching data and statistics in math class. Create a project and use the site's tools to add information on time spent on class activities, chart time spent on homework, or hours spent on after-school activities. Ask students to take the data and analyze the results. Use a simple online chart-creation tool like ChartAccent, reviewed here, to display the data.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to experiment while viewing their results. Learn to Code with el Chavo is great for differentiating for students with different abilities and learning styles. Set up a computer center for students to practice with the program and share with parents to use at home. Encourage students to go beyond game play and reflect upon their learning through use of a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here. Pose a question for student response asking them to discuss difficult portions of an activity and how they solved the problem. Start another response with a question asking students to provide tips and hints for their classmates. As students become more proficient with coding use Scratch, reviewed here, in your learning centers for students to create their own games and activities. Transform learning by challenging students who are proficient to use Snap!, reviewed here, to create video tutorials using a tool like FlexClip, reviewed here.
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, augment the lessons by asking students to plan a multimedia presentation using a tool like SuperNotecard, reviewed here, where you can turn your notes into a storyboard! Include modification by using the Storyboard to create a multimedia presentation tool like Sway, reviewed here, to share their learning using. Have students include text, images, videos, and a link to oodlu learning games in the Sway.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShare myHomework with students as an excellent way to organize and plan homework assignments. Create a link on your class website for students to access, and discuss using this app during back to school meetings. This site works on computers and has apps for all devices so information is available across platforms.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Rocketium to create videos for any multimedia presentation. Ask groups of students to create a video to explain science concepts like causes of earthquakes, demonstrate problem-solving methods in math, or share events leading up to World War 1 in social studies classes. Have older students create videos for younger students sharing book talks and reviews. Use Rocketium with any grade level to create and share explainer videos.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Meme Buddy to quickly create memes on the fly. Share a meme on your interactive whiteboard as a discussion starter for the beginning of your lesson. Ask students to create a meme as a one sentence summary of the day's activity and use as an exit ticket. Meme Buddy translates information into other languages, create a meme in a different language as an anticipatory set for learning about a foreign language. Foreign language teachers will love creating memes to teach phrases to students!
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this online dictionary instead of printed dictionaries and thesauruses in the classroom. Be sure to share a link to this site on your class website. Display the word of the day on your interactive whiteboard as a lesson starter during writing or language arts lessons. Ask students to include featured words during writing activities using Google Documents, then highlight each time the word is used. Take it a "tech" step further and have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here. Dive even deeper and have students or groups of students create daily video presentations featuring their choice for word of the day (or week) using a tool like Powtoon, reviewed here. Share their videos on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDownload Reader onto classroom computers and mobile devices for saving and sharing web articles. This app is especially useful for ESL/ELL or Special Education students to help remove distracting information. After reading articles, have students share their thoughts using a voice recording tool like Vocaroo, reviewed here, then share their recordings on your class website. Share several articles with students using Reader, then post an essential question on Recap for younger students, reviewed here, or on FlipGrid for older students, reviewed here. Both Recap and Flipgrid allow students to post video question responses, then add comments to the posted responses creating an excellent tool for collaborative discussions. Share student responses and discussions with a class podcast using Podcast Generator, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to follow the latest information from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. If students use mobile devices, share the link to download the official app. Ask students to share stories from the Olympics using an online bulletin board like Padlet, reviewed here. Padlet allows users to create columns for posts, add columns to sort information by country, sport, or daily events throughout the Olympics. Have students make video recordings sharing daily updates during the Olympic games using a tool such as My Simpleshow, reviewed here. Share videos using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. As a final project, have students create a Symbaloo Learning Path, reviewed here, to share information learned. Symbaloo Learning Path's offer the ability to add videos, websites, and quizzes into an interactive learning experience.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Looking for even more ideas? Record class assignments or directions. Record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) enhance their learning and build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Challenge students to create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events. Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News," encourage an extend learning and have student create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!). Invite students to write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings. Language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Challenge your Shakespeare students to record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person. If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini-casts without needing any additional tools.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomPretest students and allow them to "test out" of material they already know. Learning support teachers will want their students to create their own QuizPedia sets for practice and review of any material. Create your own sets of quizzes, or let students do the work for themselves and each other. Take advantage of quizzes previously developed and available to share with students on your class website. Allow students to create a quiz for other students to take following class presentations and reports.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHave students explore the timeline on their own, then research and share information on any given period of time. Encourage students to view future predictions on the timeline as a research project to find the basis of the predictions. Have students create a simple interactive infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here .
Grades6 to 12
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