Enhance Learning with These Online Tools
Having a ton of online tools in your tool belt won't earn you any prizes or necessarily make you a better teacher or leader, but having exactly the perfect website for a particular student need or in a special situation may earn you superhero status. It's not about the quantity; it's about having the right tool for the right job. Here are a few tools you may not already know and how they might best be used in the classroom.
Helping students understand the relationship of events can be difficult, whether it is events from history or in a story. One way to overcome the difficulty is to have them create a timeline of key happenings. Timeline JS is a powerful timeline creator that is both easy to use and filled with features. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet, which is great for making collaborative timelines. Timeline JS can then pull in media to document events in the timeline from a variety of sources and has built-in support for Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, and more. No registration or account is required.
Your students have successfully completed an important unit of study and now need to summarize what they've learned. You could have them create a PowerPoint slide or two sharing what they've learned. Instead, have them first reduce the learning to one or two key sentences (a skill many students struggle with) and then create a beautiful representation of their learning with Recite. Recite has you type in a key thought or quotation and then allows you to select from a wide variety of templates that match the thought. Students can practice their design skills (another 21st century skill) while summarizing their learning. Completed creations can be emailed to the teacher, published to the web, downloaded as an image, or posted to Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. No registration or email account is required.
If your students have access to multiple devices in the classroom, whether in small groups or via a 1:1 program, then you will want to provide opportunities for them to share their ideas and answers during discussions. There are a lot of different feedback tools available, but AnswerGarden is one that is especially simple to use. The teacher or a student can create an AnswerGarden with a question that is then shared with the rest of the class via email, blog, social media, or URL. Other students can respond to the question by typing in their answers, which appear in word cloud format for everyone to see with the most frequent answers in larger text. No registration or email account is required and a free iPad app is also available.
TalkTyper may change the way your students write. It is free speech-to-text dictation software that works in any browser. Simply click the on-screen microphone and begin speaking; every word will appear. This will allow your students to focus less on their keyboarding ability and more on their ideas. What makes TalkTyper stand apart from similar programs is that it provides the ability for you to edit what is recorded before printing, emailing, or copying and pasting the completed text into another document. Again, no registration or email account is required.
Originally posted through TCEA TechNotes/Nov. 2014