If you want to get techno-cool in the classroom here are my top suggestions. These are the tools that I use most (and how I use them) to keep students engaged and active in the learning process.
1. Google Docs – If your school has the education edition then you’ve got it made. Students can collaborate and send things to you no problem. If not, you can still use it to post content that you’ve used in the classroom. Just go to the share tab and publish as a webpage, then post the link anywhere.
2. Imagination Cubed – Use a variety of tools to draw anything you like. I’ve had students do the rock cycle, layers of the earth, a diagram of the heart, and more. When they are done, they can email it to me – no registration required. Best of all when I look it over, I can see the whole drawing process from start to finish.
3. Voicethread – My use of Voicethread in the classroom only hits the tip of the iceberg for this program’s capabilities, but it keeps things simple. Using a single account, I log into it on several computers. Beforehand, I upload pictures that I’ve taken, or ones the students have drawn, to a new voicethread. During class, the students go to one of the computers and record themselves telling about the picture on the voicethread. When it’s done, I post it to my blog (see example here).
4. ProProfs – This online app has a lot of capabilities, but my favorite is the online flashcards. I start by having my students write questions and answers they think might be on our test. Once they show me a paper version and I approve their question, they can go to a computer and type it into proprofs. Once done, the flashcards are embedded into my blog (see example).
5. That Quiz – I love this app and use it daily for 6th grade morning math quizzes – among other things. Students navigate to their class thatquiz page (see example), log on, then complete whatever test I’ve assigned. The tests are automatically graded and easily accessible when I log into my account. I can choose from thousands of math, geography, and language tests or create my own. See a tutorial here.
6. Delicious – How do my students get to all the sites that I assign in class? They access them through my delicious account. I’ve got a tag list embedded onto my webpage and a student can get to the site by clicking on the appropriate tag – no typing of long url’s to slow things down.
7. ClassTools.net – This app lets you create all sorts of games, venn diagrams, and more that are easily embeddable on your own site. I like to make games that have some of the vocabulary terms or questions students need to review (see example).
8. PodOmatic (podomatic.com) – A great place to post your podcasts for free. You can even record podcasts on the site if you don’t want to edit anything.
9. Kwout – I don’t use this as often I should, but it is a great way to highlight a website. When you kwout a site, you get a picture of it with working links that you can embed on your site (see example).
10. Bubbl.us – This is a great way to make mind maps for your class and keep kids engaged. When I’ve used these, I print out a blank bubble chart for students to follow along with during class. During the lesson, as we discuss things, students get to type in the items on the bubble chart (they love this). When you’re done, the bubble chart can be embedded onto your site.