Some of the most exciting edtech tools are those that accommodate students’ different learning styles. Newsela, for example, enables teachers to differentiate articles for students based on their Lexile levels.
Other tools allow students to conduct research using photos and real-world objects, or use dynamic QR codes to direct them to documents and videos. Other innovative technology tools include live polls and word clouds, which make it easy for students to express their thoughts.
The TED platform has expanded from just perfectly presented talks of big ideas to an educational arm called TED-Ed. This resource offers short animated videos that teach and encourage students to dig deeper.
TED-Ed lessons feature a lesson title, a set of multiple-choice or open-ended questions to discuss (“Think”), a place for additional resources to encourage further exploration and learning (“Dig Deeper”), and the opportunity to share public discussions or keep them private. TED-Ed also has a video collection featuring TEDTalks and a series of adventures that teach students about everything from animals to climate change.
This free resource is an excellent way to supplement any subject. Lessons are very polished and have been through a rigorous screening process to earn the TED-Ed label at the top.
Screencastify is one of a new generation of simple, lightweight screen recording tools that are having an impact on education. Educators can use Screencastify to record their computer screen or webcam, edit the footage, add text and visuals, create quizzes, and more.
The clean layout of Screencastify promotes an efficient workflow and makes it easy for students to navigate. While the free version provides many of the features teachers might need, a premium account removes the Screencastify logo from videos and gives educators unlimited recordings and more advanced editing options.
Screencastify’s small, bootstrapped team serves millions of users around the world with a tool that is easy to learn and fast to deploy. The company uses Google Workspaces, Kubernetes Engine and Firebase to provide scalable backend infrastructure for their customer base.
Schoology is a platform that provides users with the ability to communicate and collaborate in a virtual classroom. It is a free program that can be used by students and teachers.
Teachers are able to upload prerecorded videos and audio files, as well as documents. They can also create threaded discussions, which allows for easy response and organization. They can also embed external tools (FlipGrid, EdPuzzle, etc.) to allow learners a single point of access for all of the learning tools they will need during a lesson.
Schoology’s social learning environment encourages collaboration and communication, which has been shown to lead to higher student engagement in the classroom. This is especially beneficial for introverted learners who may find the traditional classroom setting intimidating.
4. Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a free tool that educators can use with students. There is also a paid version of the program that includes extra features such as a teacher dashboard and support tools.
Teachers can use Google Classroom to post assignments and share resources in an easy-to-use interface. They can differentiate assignments for different students or groups within a class to provide additional support or challenge.
Students can access assignments and homework on the classroom Stream page, which is also where they find their grades. This interactive hub can also be used for collaborative projects like a virtual field trip or an online debate with another classroom.
Google Classroom also supports several other apps and software, offering quick imports and integration with popular teacher favorites. It also includes an originality report to help educators keep their students from plagiarism.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud storage service with a suite of collaborative tools that syncs across all devices. It competes with iCloud, Dropbox and Box.
Aside from a simple file storage solution, Drive features an entire office productivity suite, including Docs, Sheets and Slides which are similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There is also a mobile app that allows you to take a picture of an image or document and instantly save it to your Drive.
Another great feature of Google Drive is the ability to search for files by their contents rather than just a name or file type. This can be a real time saver and makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Moreover, Google Drive has built-in security features that protect sensitive information by preventing users from downloading, printing, copying or editing files that contain sensitive content or data.