10 New Edtech Tools to Try This School Year
The start of another school year is finally here and edtech tools are constantly evolving and refining previous versions to ensure targeted usage within the classroom. While your nose was buried in leisurely summer reading, here at Schoology we've done the legwork for you and found 10 new Edtech tools that serve a variety of classroom purposes. Take a look at our list and see which ideas shake off the summer cobwebs and get your creative juices flowing for a brand new school year!
1. Equity Maps
How can we also ensure that students are participating in classroom discussions and activities regularly without fading into the background?
Equity Maps is an iPad app that uses a seating chart to keep track of students' discussions. When a learner begins a conversation, you can tap on their icon, and then tap other icons as more students join the discussion. The app works for smaller group discussions such as think/pair/share, and also records entire conversations so students can analyze their individual contributions.
2. Adobe Spark
Adobe's Creative Cloud suite continues to expand with Adobe Spark, which turns students into filmmakers and website designers with very little background knowledge needed. Right out of the box, students can create templates and projects that look Instagram-worthy, but also have utility in the classroom. Students can easily create a video or page to introduce themselves to their classmates, or create a post that outlines goals for the school year.
Adobe also offers a wealth of resources for educators who want to learn more about the different Creative Cloud multimedia products in the form of online classes. Check with your district to see if you can receive professional development credit for completing one of these courses.
Doing an in-depth analysis of each student's writing throughout the year can be time-consuming, and may or may not produce long-term change. With ProWritingAid, students have access to the same wealth of knowledge you provide in the classroom at their fingertips. When students input their writing, the program provides a detailed report of word choice, uses of passive voice, average sentence length, and other specific breakdowns that help students see what they're writing as it's being completed.
4. Google Tour Creator
Virtual reality and augmented reality are all the rage right now in Edtech, and Google Tour Creator allows students to make their own tours using Google Street View. The classroom uses for this tool are endless—use it as a research project supplement, a reflection after a field trip, or to create tours of your school and community.
5. Quizlet Live
According to Marzano, a widely-known expert on vocabulary acquisition, one of the 6 steps to learning new words is playing games. Combine this with Edtech and a fun, fast-paced game and you've got a classroom home run.
Quizlet Live uses a pre-made set of terms that you create to facilitate teamwork while reviewing vocabulary. Students log in to the site using a join code, which then randomly divides the children into teams with animal names. On a projection screen, students can see how each animal team progresses during the game, which requires students to work together within their group to identify the correct vocabulary word. At the end of the game, the program provides a list of highly-missed words, which can then be reviewed before the next round.
6. Bulb Digital Portfolios
Keeping track of student work throughout the year requires an inordinate, and sometimes impractical, amount of space if only paper copies are used. Bulb has created a user-friendly digital portfolio where students can drag and drop their work easily throughout the year. It even integrates with Schoology for easy access through your LMS.
Where in the world are you? Using Geoguessr, students have to navigate the screen like a map to find landmarks, street signs, and problem-solving skills to figure out where they are on the map.
ClassroomQ is an Edtech tool for students who want to get the teacher's attention without getting up or drawing too much attention to themselves. By adding their name to a digital queue, and even a note about what they want to discuss, students who might not normally raise their hand have a way to get the teacher's attention right when they need it.
YouTube is a great tool for assigning specific, relevant content to students, but how do you know that they're understanding and engaging with the material? Edpuzzle adds structure to online videos, allowing the teacher to create pop-up comprehension questions and preventing students from fast-forwarding to the end.
Recording audio in a busy classroom can be challenging, but Soundtrap eliminates background noise by trapping sound in an insulated box. This is a great tool for recording and editing podcasts, as well as having students read text out loud and hearing a clear playback of their voice to analyze oral fluency.
Edtech tools, combined with solid, sound pedagogy, take a classroom from "good" to, "Whoa, you have to see what this teacher is doing!" Sharing resources such as these with your professional learning network sparks great discussions about their viability and targeted usage within the classroom. Go forth and conquer the new school year, fellow educators!
What are some of your favorite edtech tools to use? Tell us on Twitter @Schoology