By Teachers, For Teachers
In this 21st century, the surest way for a teacher to leave an impression on students is by bringing the newest and coolest educational technology tools to the classroom. The gamut of trendy tech tools is nothing short of endless, and it can be hard to know where to start. The following are five educational tech tools that will positively impact student learning by creating an environment of digital curiosity while redefining the way students learn.
Bulb is a digital portfolio platform that allows students to create, share, and display their work. Bulb is designed to compile content into pages that are shareable, where teachers and parents can comment and provide feedback. Students are able to showcase their best work by creating a personalized page with various folders. When you arrive at Kaiden’s page, his interface reflects his love for Star Wars. His bio says he is in 3rd grade, loves baseball, legos, turtles, and the color green. His different folders include All About Me, Kindergarten Memories, Reading, and Math. Kaiden has used his portfolio to upload math worksheets he has excelled on, video clips from a music concert, and presentations he has given. Bulb has a free version for educators and is used by students from elementary on up. An added bonus is that one can access it from anywhere and on any device.
Video clips are a great way to support student learning, but often come with bothersome popup ads and little opportunity for students to process their learning throughout. Edpuzzle changes that. This app allows teachers to pull a video from the internet and then customize it to meet the lesson goals. Teachers can insert questions throughout the video where students need to pause and answer. Edpuzzle also is able to track how long students are spending on the clip to ensure that nothing is being skipped or fast forwarded through. Educators can even voice over parts of the video where more explanation or clarification is needed. This app has a free version for educators and is compatible with most devices.
This tech tool allows students to create their own virtual tours using images they download from programs like Google Street View or personal photos. As a writing extension, part of a research project, or for extracurricular projects, there are so many ways to utilize Google Tour Creator. If students were researching the capital of Italy, they could use Google Street View to find the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Basilica. They could then download the images and create their own virtual tour of this city. Or students could create a tour of their school using 360 degree photos they take, helping new students or faculty familiarize themselves with the building. Tours can be viewed on any device such as iPads, desktop computers, or Google Cardboard.
ClassroomQ is an educational tech tool designed to make asking for help easier and more organized. Teachers create a class that students can join using the determined code. When a student needs help, they simply click on the red “Assistance Needed” button. The button tells the student they are in line and how many others are in front of them. Teachers are able to efficiently organize student’s questions in the order they were asked. Students are also able to ask for help without interrupting teachers teaching or students who are learning. The site was made by teachers and for teachers, is free, and is helping make reluctant students ask for help more effectively.
Want to do a scavenger hunt with your class? GooseChase mixes the fun of traditional scavenger hunts with technology to create a unique learning experience. Teachers build their hunts from the Game Manager portion of the site. They add missions that students can complete by submitting either a photo, video, text response, or check-in. Teachers can use GooseChase for pretests, as a review activity, or when establishing rules. Imagine having students take a video of themselves showing the right way to ask a question, or take a picture of where the class mission is displayed. The options are endless, and the engagement of students makes this game worth a look.
Implementing the newest and trendiest ed tech tools into the classroom can be overwhelming, especially with the multitude of options available in 2019. By starting with worthy options like Bulb, Edpuzzle, Google Tour Creator, ClassroomQ and GooseChase, students will be effectively engaged and their learning will be positively impacted.
Michelle is an EdTech teacher and holds an M.A.Ed. in EdTech from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN.