Educational Technology Websites for Students To Use - NOW
Padlet - used to be called Wallwisher, but it got a makeover and a name change recently. It’s essentially a virtual board with sticky notes that can be easily moved, shared and embedded. There are several views, including something that looks more like a scrollable blog and it’s easy to both personalize the experience and organize notes. The privacy and moderation settings make it easy for students to become members of a board where a teacher can post resources and encourage them to do the same. “It’s a great way to quickly share resources with your kids and moderate what they post,” said Bellow.
Ipiccy - is like free Photoshop, but less complicated. It has intuitive editing control panels that allow for the simple things like filters, effects, cropping and resizing. It’s also easy to undo anything that didn’t turn out as imagined. But if the project requires a more sophisticated treatment, Ipiccy has layers that like Photoshop allow a user to make very professional final products. Best of all, it’s easy to upload projects to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks that a class might be using to house finished work.
Thinglink - allows a user to add content to images. For example, a student could display a map of Washington, D.C. and add a video explaining how a bill becomes a law over the Capitol building. And it’s easy. The user just clicks a spot on the image and adds text, a link to a website, or an embed code for video. It’s a quick and easy way to make a project more dynamic and interactive.
Easel.ly - is a fairly easy way to create an infographic, a visual depiction of information. The tool offers set themes that can be dragged onto a blank canvas to give students somewhere to start. A good example is a map of the United States with bubbles highlighting statistics about specific areas. Then icons can be added, sized, and edited to visually represent information. It’s good for those uncertain of their tech skills, but who want to begin integrating some digital tools into the classroom. It won’t do the work for you, and it forces students to represent what they know at the end of a research project, while giving some creative license. “Instead of giving a paper or project, this is a great way for them to break down concepts visually,” Bellow said.
Infogr.am - is another tool to visually represent information. It has templates that allow you to throw in your facts and build beautiful charts to represent the information.
Poll Everywhere - has been around for several years, and a familiar tool with many teachers. It’s built with HTML 5 so it can be used with any device and is responsive to screen size. Teachers can create both multiple-choice questions and open ended questions that student respond to via text. Students get excited that they can use their phones in class and teachers gain valuable feedback about how well students understand a concept.
InfuseLearning - is the student response suite challenger to Poll Everywhere. It’s a simple interface that’s free to teachers and it doesn’t require any advanced planning or setup. In real time teachers can send out questions, prompts or quizzes and have students respond in a variety of formats; true/false, multiple choice, open ended, even with a doodle. It also has an audio function that includes language translation, opening up more use possibilities.
BigHugeLabs - provides a great way to make posters and trading cards easily. Best of all, using the free education-specific login students won’t see any advertisements. It’s good for younger kids or an older kid who wants to put together a presentation fairly quickly. One great use would be a movie poster featuring themes and characters of a book.
Sign Generator- allows users to create their own clip art by changing the letters in photos of signs. The tool provides over 500 templates or a user can upload a photo of a sign and change the letters around. It’s a fun way to get creative.
Delivr - creates QR codes, the codes that a mobile device can easily scan and trigger an image or website. QR codes were a theme at ISTE this year; educators displayed interesting ways they use them including as a way to engage students as they come into class or in a treasure hunt format. The nice thing about Delivr is that it will remember all the QR codes ever created and users can edit and change associated urls if to send users to a different website. That adds some unpredictability and suspense to the day. “It becomes the Easter egg for your classroom that gets kids thinking about what they’re going to be learning in class that day,” said Dembo.
Aurasma - is a free app that lets a teacher turn any object into a QR code, rather than just a square bar code, and plays with the idea of augmented reality. Students can hold a mobile device up to an image, such as a bulldog, and be taken to a website, a video or an image about bulldogs. “It’s a blend of virtual reality and reality,” Bellow said.
WeVideo- is a simple web-based video editing tool that turns video projects from a huge time sink to an easy and fun experience. “This is one of these things that every teacher should have at their disposal,” said Dembo. The tool allows users to upload content, save it in the cloud, and can link to other storage space like Google Drive. It can be powerful for making student-centered projects because it allows students to mute parts of the base video, record themselves and add that narration to the video. The video can be published using different file sizes, the smallest of which is free. The tool also offers a number of themes, effects and transitions to spiff up any video.
SafeShare.tv - is great for educators worried about what kind of ad might pop up on a YouTube video played in class, or the comments at the bottom. To generate a safe view, Martinez says it’s as easy as copying the YouTube link into this website. The site strips everything away and leaves just the video. The site also has a share button, which allows teachers to send colleagues the clean video. If teachers have streaming problems in their schools, or filters that block YouTube, they can download the video from SafeShare.tv and upload to Google Drive.
Kidblog - was designed specifically for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each of their students with their own, unique blog. Kidblog’s simple, powerful tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs. Storybird - This is a fun and easy-to-use tool for creating short, visual stories. Students can select artwork, drag and organize photos, and add their own text. These creations can then be published on the web with adjustable privacy settings. There is also the option to allow comments, which is perfect for teachers to encourage student collaboration. (Here’s one of my Storybirds.)
VoiceThread - is a collaborative, multimedia slideshow that allows students to comment on images, documents, and video through text, video, and audio files. Teachers can set up groups and classes as well as moderate comments, embed to blogs, and export to audio files. It is an easy way to differentiate instruction while providing engaging choices to “show” learning, engage in conversation, and think openly and critically about content. (Click here to see “What’s a voice thread anyway?”)
Animoto - Brilliantly easy to use, Animoto produces high-quality videos from pictures and text, set against chosen backgrounds and music. A great way for students to get creative and produce something they can be proud of, Animoto has a wide variety of classroom uses, from projects to reports.
Prezi - A must-have tool for teaching presentations, this is one web 2.0 resource that really has changed the face of the classroom. Including photographs, diagrams, flowcharts and being able to zoom in and out makes presentations far more engaging and visual than ever before.
Wizer - lets teachers easily create online, multimedia online “worksheets” (even better, you can use or modify ones other educators have made), give students the url address to the “worksheet” (I’d just copy-and-paste it on our class blog), students quickly and simply register on Wizer, complete the worksheet, and, voila, teachers can easily see each students’ work.
Pablo - lets you create visually attractive quotes and provides access to over 50,000 royalty-free images.
Pindex - is “Pinterest For Education.” You can read more about it here, and it has a user-guide here. It really is a “knock-off” of Pinterest, so one might wonder why the world needs it. I think it might be useful to educators for two reasons — one, with luck, since it’s focused on education, school content filters might not block it as so many do Pinterest; and, secondly, because it has a nifty quiz-making feature that lets track if students have completed them. In other words, teachers can create a board which students study, followed by a quiz. After students complete a quiz (after they have registered for Pindex), their username appears under the quiz for its creator to see. ClassTools - has a zillion of easy-to-use (and with no registration required) tools for creating online content. He recently added another one to his vast suite of options — this time, it’s a super-simple way to create interactive online crossword puzzles.
Photos For Class - has become my “go-to” site for blog and presentation images. It’s free and, when you download the image (all Creative Commons licensed for public use), proper attribution is shown with it. It can’t get much easier than that….
Versal - is an awesome place which lets teachers create online interactive resources.
The Learnia - lets you create interactive video lessons.
Knightlab - The Lab develops prototypes, projects and services that help make information meaningful and promote quality journalism, storytelling and content on the internet.
Top Teacher Tools - The internet is a rich source of material for educators, but it is difficult in this demanding profession to find the time to discover the best sites. After hundreds of hours scouring the internet for the best of the best, we have identified the most useful free internet resources for special educators.
Chad J. DeWolf is an educator at Madison County Middle School (Comer, GA) in the Madison County School District (Danielsville, GA). This website is not affiliated with MCMS or MCSD. ETS is used as an educational tool for anyone interested and should be viewed as a resource for an awesome online learning experience.