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TECH Tips from the T.E.C.H. Playground Part 2

There are so many apps and websites trying to get our attention – it can be overwhelming trying to research them all.  Here are some of the apps and websites that we use in the T.E.C.H. Playground, we hope you find them useful and if you have a question – visit us in Willard 326.  Read Part 1 – Before Class and Content Creation.

For Class:

Video:  YouTube and TED are excellent apps that can be used find the perfect video to share with your students.  Are your students struggling with a particular piece of content?  Check YouTube.  Is there something inspirational you would like use to introduce a lesson or provide some talking points to start class?  Check TED.

QR Codes:  Use QR Codes to easily share data, information, or websites.  You can use a QR Code to link to your contact details.  Or you can use a QR code that links to a specific website for your students to explore.  If you are collecting information from your students, create a Google Form and a QR Code for the link.  Then have your students scan it when they walk into the classroom.  Instant info!

Teacher Kit:  The university provides a course platform in D2L, but using D2L on a phone can be tedious at best.  Teacher Kit is a handy app that will help manage some aspects of your course on a mobile device.  We like being able to take student pictures and using them for attendance.  Tap the face once for absent and twice for present.

Padlet:  Is an app and a website that can promote classroom conversation.  Create a guiding question(s) for the day and have students post their thoughts to your wall.  They can use the web-based site or their internet connected device to share ideas and collaborate.

Poll Everywhere:   Use Poll Everywhere as a tool for formative assessment.  Create a list of questions ahead of time, or prepare some generic survey questions, then have your students answer through their phones by text message.  Build some quizzes on the website and include them in your next PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.  It is fun to watch the answers come be displayed in real time!  And you know exactly what students understand and/or struggle with.

Plickers:  Plickers works best when the instructor uses the website and a mobile device.  The app is amazing, but there is some setup involved.  Create a free account on the website, download the “cards”, and assign students to specific “cards”.   Then create your quiz or survey or whatever it is that you want to know.  Display your questions on the SMART Board and have students answer with the “cards”, you grade them by scanning the room with your mobile device open to the Plickers app.  Use your mobile device to advance to the next question.  Check out this video to see Plickers in action.

Socrative:  This is another formative assessment tool with two different apps: one for teachers and one for students.  Create a variety of questions, from short answer to multiple to choice, to true/false or put together an exit ticket.  Ask a question and get real time feedback on where your students are with the lesson.

Kahoot:   Kahoot is not an app, but works on any mobile device.  All you need to do is create a free account and build your survey/quiz.  To use Kahoot, play your quiz on SMARTboard, students will be prompted to go to a website, enter a quiz code, and type in a username.  Then the games begin!  Kahoot will ask questions and give students a timer.  Students who give correct answers in the least amount of time will get more points.  Its like the trivia games in pubs – but focused on education!

SMART Notebook: All of the classrooms in Willard are equipped with SMART Boards and all of the attached computers have SMART Notebook installed.  Create interactive lessons on your iPad, then upload them to Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access from any computer in Willard.

After Class

Save PDF files:  If you used the SMART Board to markup any of your PowerPoint or SMART Notebook slides, take just a moment to save those files as PDF files.  Then you can upload those files to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or D2L for students to review at a later date.  Use the Adobe Reader App to view and mark up PDF’s, with an in-app purchase you have the ability to edit PDF’s as well.  PDF Reader is another free app that has many functions similar to Adobe.

Create videos: There may be an occasion when your students need a little more explanation for a particular topic.  There are three apps that can help with creating content Explain EverythingEducreations, and Show Me.  Explain Everything currently has a price of $5.99 and is well worth it.  Import just about any file you use: PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, KEYNOTE, PAGES, NUMBERS, JPG, GIF, MP4, this list goes on.  Once your video (MP4 or MOV) is ready it can be uploaded to Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.  Educreations is free and all of your creations are stored in your free Educreations account.  Lessons can be shared by email, Facebook, Twitter or hyperlink.  Show Me is similar to Educreations, create your video and upload it to the Show Me community.

Remind:  D2L is a nice platform for sharing information and communicating with students.  There are occasions when something needs to be shared immediately to your students – that is where Remind comes in.  Send one way communication to your students as a text message.

Zipgrade:  Create a free account at zipgrade.com and build an assessment.  Print the sheets off and have your students answer the questions, then grade the sheets by scanning them with your iPad. Use zipgrade as exit tickets, formative assessment, or quizzes.

Websites:  There are some great websites that can be used as resources for teaching, some of our favorites: EdutopiaTeachThoughtApple EducationISTEGoogle EducationEdSurgeEdudemic, and EdTechTeacher to name a few.  If you have a favorite that is not listed here – please add it in the comments.

If there is an app you like that we didn’t mention – please add it in the comments.  We love your feedback!

-Scott

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