Gotta-Try Tech

Whenever I am introduced to a new website or resource that sounds like something that would make my classroom even better, I can’t wait to go online and explore the opportunities and materials they present. This is even better when the application, website, or Chrome extension is free!

This happened this past week for me at an I.B. training I attended where we had to explore a site called GlobalOnenessProject.org. I immediately went a little nuts exploring that resource, and I would encourage you to explore it as well! I always get excited when these online gems cross my path.

That being said, today I would like to share with you some of my favorite tech tools and resources, starting with web based tools. I hope you find something new you’d like to try out in your classroom in the links below.

Enjoy!


Web Based Tools: Tools readily accessible from a web browser. 

Tool/Resource Constraints

CommonLit.org Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 7.22.55 PM

Affordances

  • Hundreds of texts and media to explore and assign to students. All text sets have “related media”.
  • Integrates with Google Classroom.
  • Has advanced guided reading options: Dictionary, audio, questions, etc.
  • Like NewsELA.com, it offers similar assessments, however–IT’S ALL FREE! You can filter by grade, genre, theme, & more! Check it out.
  • Easy to differentiate & assign different student different texts.
  • Detailed data on the teacher dashboard.

Constraints

  • Students find the texts challenging, but I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing.
  • It can take quite a bit of time to grade the short response questions, but it’s worth it!

Quill.org

Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 7.22.26 PM

Affordances

  • Free grammar practicing website.
  • Integrates completely with Google Classroom.
  • Offers simple analytics for teachers to examine by student, concept or class.
  • New grammar diagnostic tool which allows you to assign student-specific grammar practice sets to ALL of your students with one click.
 

Constraints

  • Many features only available for premium members.
  • Many of the practice sets assigned to students have multiple correct answers and students find it frustrating.
  • Not super easy to track student work if they all have different assigned practice sets, but this may not be an issue depending on how you choose to use the site.
Tolerance.org
Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 7.21.34 PM

Affordances

  • Social justice oriented resource and lesson planning site.
  • Countless resources: texts, videos, images, etc.
  • Allows you to plan entire units.
  • Provides activities and tasks for every phase of the learning process.

 

Constraints

  • Can be time-consuming to create lessons or units.
  • Some topics are quite sensitive and require special attention when presenting in class.
  • The number of options can seem a bit overwhelming.
  • A less than great filter system when searching for resources.
Goodreads.com
Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 7.24.14 PM
Affordances

  • You are able to see what your friends are reading and interact virtually.
  • You can monitor your own progress.
  • You are able to create private groups, which would be great for a classroom/teacher.
  • It allows you to set goals for a year in pages or books read.
  • Goodreads is a great way for anybody to find books they may enjoy based on their reading history.

Constraints

  • There are major liabilities considering Goodreads may be considered a social media site, even if it is only used for class.
  • Students/parents may not want to join.
  • May expose students to texts/online entities which are inappropriate.
Kahoot.com
Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 7.20.57 PM
Affordances

  • In a 1:1 classroom, it is super easy for students to join in on a game. You simply project the join code and students’ names pop up as they get in.
  • There are quizzes on EVERYTHING. I use it for books we read, grammar, and topics like figurative language.
  • It is competitive. Students can play individually or as teams, but either way, they are always into it. The leaderboard helps with this.
  • Great Plan B or review tool! You can spend five minutes on a quick game, or as long as you’d like playing multiple!
  • Teachers or students can create new Kahoots. I have had students make Kahoots of our class vocabulary words for a given week.
  • Great motivator or reward for good behavior.

Constraints

  • It may be used a reward for good behavior, sometimes students become too disruptive after playing Kahoot. I find it is best to do at the end of class.
  • Sometimes it can slow down the internet.
  • If there’s a lag or the internet goes out, all progress is immediately lost.  
WriteAbout.com
Screenshot 2017-08-17 at 10.19.46 PM

Affordances

  • Great blogging website.
  • Has hundreds of free prompts for students.
  • Easy for teachers & students to cross post onto Google Classroom.
  • Allows students to engage with an authentic audience ranging from your classroom to other classes in your building, to the entire school, and even to any classroom/user on the site.
  • Allows students to join special interest groups & for teachers to create them.

Constraints

  • Many of the features are only available in the premium versions.
  • To get full access, even at a classroom level, teachers must pay to join.
Piktochart.com

Screenshot 2017-08-17 at 10.19.26 PM

Affordances

  • Great user experience(UX): Piktochart is a website where you are able to easily create infographics.
  • Free icons and images for students to use.
  • Easy to access help and tutorials.
  • Easy to navigate and edit images.
  • Allows students to create posters and flyers.

Constraints

  • Limited types of graphics/designs students can create compared to other graphic design sites like Canva.com.
  • Very limited number of free designs available for students to access. For example, there are only 12 infographic designs available with a free account.

I hope you found something new! Feel free to share your favorite online resources in the comment section below.