By Teachers, For Teachers
I know some teachers are doing great things with technology, but I just don’t have the time to figure out what stuff to try! If this sounds like you, don’t worry!
These 13 time-saving sites will save time organizing, preparing for lessons and projects, not to mention looking for online resources. Check out these classroom-tested, free tech tools.
If you want to get yourself organized, try…
Ever wish you could access the files on your school computer from home? Then Dropbox might be the solution. Once you download the Dropbox program onto your computer, it provides you with a secure, online storage system where you can store files and share them with other people. Instead of saving your files to the hard drive, you save them to the dropbox, which then can be accessed from any computer and even from some cell phones. This allows you to share your files with a colleague or even with your students, if you wanted. Any time you make a change to the file, Dropbox updates it automatically, so it can also serve as a backup if your computer crashes.
LiveBinders allows you to create an online “binder.” You can organize your binder using labeled tabs, then collect images, videos, and websites and store all of them in one location. In fact, you can add a LiveBinders bookmarking feature, so if you are searching the Internet and find a site or article you like, you can automatically add it. Creating a binder in LiveBinders will be time-consuming, but once it’s created, you could use it over and over again, adding to it and revising it as necessary.
Like LiveBinders, Evernote allows you to create online “notebooks” that can store typed notes, webpage links, and images. You can even use Evernote on your phone, so you can take a photograph with a cell phone and include that in your “notebook.”
If you want to use tech for presentations and projects, try…
Prezi is an online tool that can be used to create memorable presentations. It makes it simple for students to embed photos or even videos they find on the Internet as part of their presentation. Prezi’s interface is easier to use than PowerPoint and it can be accessed from any computer, which frees you from hours in the computer lab.
Glogster allows students to create “glogs” or online interactive posters. Glogster implements a “drag and drop” method that is very easy to use. Students can “drag” images, videos, and more and add text to create memorable digital displays.
Both of these tools allow students to create digital timelines. Whether they are charting the events that led to World War I or documenting their own life stories for an autobiography project, these tools put a whole new spin on the traditional timeline assignment.
Say hello to the Internet equivalent of a diorama. Students fill their “box” with images, video, and more to represent a character they read about in a book, a topic they’re studying in science, or any other subject you can think of.
If you want to use computers for brainstorming or mind-mapping, try…
Webspiration offers many different existing templates, including concept maps, flow charts, idea maps, outline structures, compare/contrast charts and more – or create your own template. You can modify an existing template by clicking and dragging or adding your own text and images. Webspiration is designed to be collaborative, so students can use the tool to plan out assignments or brainstorm for a project, and you can save their in-progress brainstorming so they can refer back to it at a later time.
Cosketch is an online whiteboard that allows you to draw or type out ideas. It is another collaborative tool – students can access their whiteboard from multiple computers and “chat” with each other through an instant-message-style interface. This could be a great way to allow students to work in groups without lots of raised voices, or it could enable students to work together on projects even when they’re at home.
If you’re already tech-savvy and looking for a new challenge, try…
Give this new web application a go with the 15-day free trial. You can assign activities based on current events and news stories right to your students for in-class work or homework. It's a cool, new interactive platform that challenges students to comprehend the meaning behind current events stories and develop their online search abilities.
Edmodo is essentially Facebook for teachers and students – a social networking site to support classroom learning. Once you create an account and invite your students to join, you can post questions, hold online student polls, share photographs, and create a class calendar. Edmodo has a well-constructed application that allows you to post assignments, receive them from students, and even provide feedback, all within a secure, student-friendly system.
Webs offers you the chance to build a free website. The site has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to build a professional looking site; add photo galleries, videos, blogs, social networking, and more. Their premium (paid subscription) plans allow you to buy your own domain name, remove ads from your site, and access additional features. Consider having students create their own free sites to present their work on a project, or take the time to build your own classroom site where students and parents can network, blog, or create podcasts.
Moodle is a free Course Management System, which allows you to distribute resources, collect assignments, give quizzes, and more – all online. If you have ever taken an online course through a system like Blackboard, you are familiar with course management systems. Moodle works like Blackboard, except that it’s available for free. Creating a course in Moodle will take some time, but if you’re interested in exploring online education, it’s a great tool to start with!
Whatever your tech skill level, explore one of these new time-saving teaching tools today!
What tech tool do you use most in your classroom? Share in the comments section!