Those of us who were lucky enough to attend EdSurge’s Los Angeles Tech for Schools Summit 2014 became intimately acquainted with the newest and best products from over 30 leading companies of the industry. This post is a collection of the most practical ed tech tools we at BGL plan to use both in our distance learning program and our on-site bilingual program in Taipei, Taiwan.
We have broken up the post into two categories, one for all teachers and one for teachers of 1:1 classrooms.
Ed Tech Tools Recommended for All Teachers
1. Zaption – Everyone showing videos in class should use this to ensure that your videos achieve your curricular goals. The teacher can arrange videos in a queue, edit length of videos, and make video interactive with additional annotation and questions (open response and multiple choice). There’s also a discussion element, you can embed the videos anywhere, and you can ask for login (such as Google) to ensure privacy or make comments anonymous. The best part are the really cool analytics that come free with the product. AMAZING!
3. Gonoodle.com – series of “brain breaks” videos that are designed to get kids moving in between lessons and during transitions. Create a class with an avatar and when you complete the brain breaks your avatar grows. Aligned with math and ELA standards. Not compatible with ipad.
4. FreshGrade – Two functions: gradebook and portfolio. Can use one, the other, or both. Teacher has a capture app that can collect video, pictures, audio or text. Easily tag students to add to their portfolios, even share with parents. Gradebook is good but you have to manually enter student data (this may be changing soon as they add an import function). Can tag with skills/content (including Common Core standards, which are already built in, and customizable standards) to track student/class progress. App will automatically notify you of students who are improving or challenged in various categories. Parent and Student codes allow each student to track their progress at home.
5. Class Dojo – classroom management tool with avatars for individual students. It’s popular and has been around for a while but it now has a parent communication option.
6. News-O-Matic – app-based news source that puts real news stories on your students’ reading level. Daily, differentiated stories and audio reading. Teacher can buy one app ($5) and can display it to the classroom. Individual apps are same price for students but only make sense if you consistently incorporate current events into your curriculum.
7. Newsela – same concept as News o Matic but the website is free for everyone. Premium version has analytics but is a bit pricey.
Ed Tech Tools Recommended for Teachers in 1:1 Classrooms
8. Brainrush – A series of customizable web based games and quizzes. Can format existing game/quiz or easily make your own. Ease of use makes this product a real winner.
9. Educade – 700 gaming curricula you could use tomorrow. Hands on, role play, search by subject, page range, tools for lesson plans, websites, apps, etc. Vetted by teachers, includes a teacher community – give feedback on resources & strategies.
10. Exitticket.org – simple way to ask questions at the end of a lesson and track the data instantaneously. Could replicate with Google Forms but this product has more analytics. Can also display an abridged view to the class that takes off names. Fremium model.
11. Mathchat – easy to create math problems, students can draw responses, help each other, ask friends for help all through a live communication function within the app.
12. Flubaroo – already installed as an “Add-on” in Google Drive spreadsheets. Use to easily grade the results of online assessments.