Monday, January 6, 2014

My Top 5 Tech Tools for Teachers and Students

Educational Technology became a new passion of mine this past year. Thanks to my wonderful PLN on Twitter, I've discovered so many tools I can use in and out of the classroom. The following tools have helped my students and I get organized, create, demonstrate learning, and more.  I hope you'll enjoy these tools as much as we do! - This website allows students and adults to build a virtual wall. Formerly know as Wallwisher, this site gives you a blank wall on which you can put anything you want. Simply click (or tap for you tablet users) anywhere on your wall and add your text.  Users can also add multimedia and share their walls instantly. My students have created walls to demonstrate what they have learned about a particular topic. They love to play with the layouts! Padlet can be used as a discussion forum to share thoughts on a particular topic, create timelines, brainstorm menus, and so much more. The possibilities are endless! Check out examples in Padlet's gallery for more ideas. - This is an online whiteboard students and teachers can use to draw a simple sketch, work out math problems, or even jot down a quick list. My students love using this website on their iPads during math. Instead of using individual dry erase boards, students can solve math problems by drawing and writing with their fingertips. The drawing tools come in two different thicknesses and various colors. There's also an eraser tool. Your whiteboard is instantly saved and is designed for collaboration. 
Pocket - This is a free app available on iPhone and iPad which allows you to save articles, blog posts, or web pages all in one spot.  This app quickly became my favorite tool! There have been so many times I've come across an article or a blog post on Twitter and I just didn't have time to read it right then and there. Now, within five seconds I can have it saved to my Pocket. The app is easy to set up and gives you very easy directions showing you how to save items you wish to read later. 
Cloudart - Cloudart is a great creation app that let's you make colorful and dynamic word clouds. Check out the word cloud I made under my last post. I've also used this free app to create a cloud for my students. Create a word cloud using the lyrics to a favorite song or words from an iconic speech.  Let your imagination run wild! Simply copy and paste, or type text into the app and it will automatically create a beautiful word cloud for you. You can also play with fonts and color pallets, or create a custom pallet. Your word cloud can be saved to your camera roll and easily shared with friends. 
Vine - Vine is Twitter's baby. Vine allows you to create six second videos and instantly share them on Twitter. My students and I use Vine to document the learning that takes place in our classroom and then we post it to our classroom Twitter account. Through Twitter and Vine, my students connect on a global scale. Parents also love having a glimpse into our classroom. Vine allows us to be creative and think carefully as we record and edit using a six second time frame. Whether you're documenting the learning process, or making how-to videos, parents and students around the world will enjoy learning from and with you and your students.
My students and I love these creation tools and I hope they will be helpful to you and your students as well.