Tools in Tech: A Bag of Tricks

Classroom: Gamified
November 18, 2016
No Brainer
December 16, 2016

December 9, 2016 — When I consider great tech tools, they fall into two categories, those that save time and those that increase student engagement. This post focuses on those that primarily save time.

First, let’s look at apps and services that save time.

1. Rubistar

rubistar

As teachers strive to create meaningful, formative assessment, they often turn to rubrics. With Rubistar, teachers create fully customizable rubrics. However, Rubistar also offers a variety of fully written rubrics, organized by topic. They also offer suggested wording in a variety of topics. Using Rubistar, teachers could easily involve students in the creation of rubrics.

2. Study Stack

study-stack

Study Stack offers a variety of tools and games that assist in students in reviewing material. Teachers create sets of flashcards, or choose from a large library of shared cards.

Students navigate to the teacher’s library with a custom link. After choosing the set of cards they need to review, they not only have the option of flipping through the digital cards, but also playing matching, hangman, and other games.

3. Feedly

feedly

Keeping up with trends in Ed Tech sometimes seems overwhelming. Feedly is an RSS reader that allows for a simplified approach. Users enter the addresses, or feeds, of blogs and websites they wish to follow. Feedly provides a list of new pages, as they are added to each blog or page. Google news topics can also be added, by subject or keyword.

A few helpful Ed Tech blogs to add to feedly are:

 

Next, we will consider sites that increase student engagement

1. Kahoot

kahoot

Kahoot! Allows teachers to create exciting classroom games, using a variety of devices. The website also offers a large library with a quizzes in a variety of subjects.

In the classroom, teachers display a greeting screen with the link and game code. Students use their device, which can be a tablet, laptop, smartphone or other device with a browser. Once the game starts, questions appear on the screen and students choose the answer on their device. A variety of game settings allow teachers to customize game play, including team mode, for classrooms with limited devices, or ghost mode, which allows students to compete against their previous times. One warning to teachers using Kahoot: Students will beg to use it again and again.

2. Quizizz

quizizz

Teachers and students love Kahoot!, but it suffers a few drawbacks. Kahoot! Offers only synchronous, live review. Enter Quizizz. With the same gaming format and robust library of public quizzes, Quizizz offers engaging review options. However, it adds the ability for asynchronous play, either in the classroom or, with the homework option, at home, for a period of up to 2 weeks. Students can attempt the quiz as many times as they like. I use Quizizz for at home review, awarding the high scorer after the time period ends.

3. Edpuzzle

edpuzzle

Finally, for a tool that both saves time AND increases student engagement, I present Edpuzzle! This service allows teachers to create quizzes from a videos in a variety of online libraries, including YouTube and Ted Talks. In app tools allow teachers to clip videos, add voice over and quiz questions. Settings also allow teachers to block a student’s progress until a question is answered.Also, Edpuzzle allows teachers to assign and record student activities in Google Classroom. Finally, Edpuzzle recently added apps for Android and Apple devices.

21st century teachers cast aside fears and rely heavily on tech, both in the classroom and out. This requires a deep bag of tricks, due to the variety of needs and tendency for glitches. However, the potential return in classroom and lesson enrichment makes it all worth the effort.

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