Navigating the world of teaching as a first-year teacher can be daunting, to say the least. Not only are first year teachers trying to figure out how to set up their classrooms, organize curriculum, and learn the ins and outs of building logistics, but they are also attempting to weed their way through the thousands of materials and resources available on the internet to teachers.
So where does one even begin? Below are a list of some of the best EdTech tools for classroom management, lesson planning, student assessment, communication, and professional development. These tools are easy to implement, engaging for students, and a great starting place for any first-year teacher.
ClassDojo is a classroom management app that allows teachers to fluidly connect home and school. Real-time reports are shared with parents as students work to earn points for positive behavior. Parents see what areas students are excelling at (such as homework or participating in class), as well as areas for improvement (such as blurting or bathroom behavior). Parents are able to message teachers and teachers can message right back.This app works great as a classroom management tool, as students are very aware that their parents can check in on them at any minute.
ClassroomQ is an educational tech tool that makes asking for help easier and more organized. This aids in classroom management as students do not have to get out of their desks to form a line at the teacher’s desk or interrupt others who are working. Teachers create a class students can join using the determined code. When students need help, they click on the red “Assistance Needed” button. The button tells the student they are in line and how many other students are in front of them. Teachers are able to efficiently organize students’ questions in the order they were asked. This app gives teachers one less thing to keep track of and helps give students who are shy a way of asking for help.
Seesaw is an educational tool that is one-stop-shopping for many reasons, but for lesson planning it is at the top. Teachers have access to an activity library that has thousands of already made assignments on virtually any searchable topic. Teachers can design their own assignments and conveniently share them with colleagues. Once a student submits an assignment, the assignment is seen by both the teacher and the parent. This helps create a seamless line of connection and keeps everyone on the same page.
Edpuzzle is another great EdTech tool to support lesson planning. This app allows teachers to pull a video from the internet and then customize it to meet the lesson’s goals. Teachers can insert questions throughout the video. Students pause at these questions and cannot proceed without answering. Edpuzzle is able to track how long students are spending on the clip, just in case teachers want to see if the video was thoroughly watched. The app has a cool feature where teachers can voice over parts of the video where more explanation or clarification is needed.
Kahoot! is a great student assessment tool that students love. It is a game-based learning platform where students race against one another to answer questions. Teachers can create their own questions or access the library of premade Kahoot games. The results of the games are recorded, so teachers can later look more closely into which questions students had a hard time with. Students in grades K on up are sure to love this exciting tool!
Flipgrid is a technology tool that allows educators to create grids designed to facilitate video discussions. The grids are like a message board where teachers can pose questions or start conversations and then students post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display. This is a great resource for student assessment, as teachers can ask follow up questions to lessons or use it to ask “quiz” questions. For privacy, the teacher can turn on the hidden feature so only they see student responses.
Bloomz is an award-winning app rated “Best Parent-Teacher/School Communication App or Tool” by Tech Edvocate. It delivers users with two-way messaging and student portfolios. It includes a behavior tracking feature that teachers find beneficial for data collection and to give parents a clearer picture into their child’s days. Parents can like their child’s work, comment on assignments, and easily connect with teachers. Bloomz is easy to navigate and implement, a win-win for first-year teachers.
Talking Points is another great communication tool. It allows teachers to message in families’ home languages via their phones or internet-connected devices. Parents are then able to type responses back to the teacher in their home language. Talking Points is equitable, easy, and straight forward. Add this tool to your teaching toolbox; you won’t regret it!
KQED was created to advance and inspire innovation. It offers a collection of hands-on professional learning opportunities that are focused on media literacy. The site provides professional development courses, classroom resources, and many other tools. This website is a great starting place when looking for professional development.
EdTech Magazine is a website that explores technology and education issues that are being faced. Users can search by topics, states, tips and tactics, and many more. There is an abundance of information and is presented in a clear and engaging format. Educators who spend even a little bit of time on this website are sure to grow and become more informed professionally.
Navigating through the world of teaching as a first-year teacher can be overwhelming and confusing. It is helpful to have a list of valuable technology resources that are used and approved by other educators. These mentioned EdTech tools are a great starting place for first year, or any year, teachers. Choose one to start with, and go from there.