With a new school year, it is time to try something new. In no particular order, some of my favorite online programs for the classroom:
1) Quizlet. I attended the Quizlet Unconference before school began to trim my learning curve. I cannot believe how easy it is to use. The basics are study cards, definition (graph, picture, diagram, etc) on one side and definition or explanation on the other. But you can use this set in a variety of ways. I used a statistics set that was done in Spanish for my ELL students. You can study the cards, or have a matching activity. Challenge students to match your best time (mine was 38 seconds). Students can play a game or you can play “live” such as Kahoot or Quizizz with teams of students. Great variety, and vocabulary is so fundamental to understanding a lot of subjects, especially math. www.quizlet.com Here’s an example of matching:
2) Flipgrid I have been a fan of Flipgrid before it became part of the Google family. Last year I had my students create a 1 minute video using Flipgrid on a project they had done in Geometry class. I created a video myself and showed in class to give students an example (and laugh) of what the video would be like. It is important to give students exemplars of work we ask them to do. This year I will be using Flipgrid to have my Consumer Math students do a public service announcement on teens and finance. https://admin.flipgrid.com/
3) Boom Cards If you have read any of my blogs or heard me speak in person, you already know I am obsessed with Boom Cards. I use them in class on a regular basis to let students practice. These are digital task cards which students complete. There is instant feedback for students and teachers can hear the correct answers (ding) and the wrong answers (sounds like whoops). I sometimes use the ‘fast pin’ option to get students playing fast, but if you have students create an account, you can assign the decks to them and keep track of their progress. This comes in handy during parent conferences. https://wow.boomlearning.com/
4) Quizizz/Kahoot. Kids like Quizizz but they love Kahoot. I have mixed feelings on this. This could be a great review, but kids get points for answering fast so the strategy usually is to answer fast and hope that you get something right. But playing whole class without the timer is better. And if the teacher plays along and challenges students to beat the score it is great. Nothing like competition to get the class engaged. I prefer Quizizz because you can easily add questions quickly. www.getkahoot.comwww.quizizz.com
5) Nearpod/Pear deck. These are both very similar. They are a slide type presentation for instruction that includes the ability to add interactive components within the slides. Have the students answer questions as they progress through the presentation. You can create your own instruction or use one already created. www.nearpod.com www.peardeck.com
6) Desmos/Geogebra. They are both graphing programs. I used Geogebra to demonstrate transformations. Students rotated, dilated, reflected and translated pictures (see picture below). Desmos itself is a great graphing program, but there are a lot of activities already created by and for teachers. I recently used this for students to find the line of best fit.
7) Edpuzzle. This can be a funny one. Have you ever found a video that was great instructional value in the middle, but either too long or had a slow start? Or perhaps the video itself is great, except you would like to explain it yourself. With Edpuzzle, you take a video, edit it and you can record your own voice. I had a lot of fun with this one and so did my students. But when I assigned my students to take a video and create their own explanations so we could share with the class, I never realized how much the students would take ownership of their learning. https://edpuzzle.com/media/59f2a033449c7140e3690d99
8) Remind. In the old days, we told students about tests, projects, important data and they dutifully wrote them in their agenda. Or we sent home notes, and parents would remind their children. Now we have remind. Have students and parents sign up and send messages to your class. I send out notifications of project due dates, upcoming tests, activities at school and tutoring schedules. https://www.remind.com/
9) Plickers. They look like QR codes and act like assessments. Put a multiple choice question on the board, ask students to rotate the card to display their answer and then scan the room with your phone. You will know instantly how students did. This does require some preparation to use. You need to set up the class, print the cards and then assign cards to students. I printed the cards and then put student names on them before I laminated. Students could use them without a lot of wear and tear. www.plickers.com
10) Classcraft. This is one my friend Dara uses. It is a classroom management tool, fosters collaboration and increases rigor in every subject with teacher created quests. It is exactly what it looks like. An interactive game for teams of students. If students misbehave, take their health—in the game that is. Has a lot of great tools and students love it. This is especially great at the middle school level (perhaps younger). https://www.classcraft.com/
11) Goguardian This is a necessary one. When students are online, they need to be accountable. At my school we have students take quizzes and tests online. Even though my students are aware I can see their screens, I sometimes have students looking up quiz answers online. Others will decide to play games instead of doing assignments. Goguardian lets you keep track of student online activity, and take a screen shot if something is especially problematic. www.goguardian.com
I would love to hear your ideas on online resources. Drop a comment on your favorite tools in the classroom.