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Updated by Hannah Sears on Apr 16, 2019
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Hannah Sears Hannah Sears
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Top Ten Educational Tools for The Modern Classroom

These are, in my opinion, the best educational technology tools presented to me in my Educational Technology (EDU 228) class at Saint Leo University in Florida.

Nearpod

Nearpod is an exciting and interactive tool that allows students to engage in teach-made powerpoint presentations. As the educator, you can make your own presentation on the website, or upload a previously used Microsoft powerpoint. This then can then be edited to include interactive elements such as questions, quizzes, drawings, and polls, which students can interact with during class time in a live-presentation, or in their own time at a student-paced presentation (Sadly this feature is only available for gold members which costs $120 per year). As someone who finds both prezis and google docs limiting creativity when it comes to presentations, I find that this program not only allows me to keep the creative aspect of my presentations, but also makes it more interactive with my potential students. I would most definitely use this tool in my future classroom, not only for my teachings but also perhaps I will suggest this tool to my students for their presentations.

ClassDojo

Although the tool may seem a bit childish, this tool is an asset in any classroom K-12. In addition to its attendance and behavioral management features, the tool allows teachers to create groups, talk to parents, and to create assignments students can submit (and resubmit) to. Although I likely wouldn't use Class Dojo for behavioral management, I think it is beneficial when it comes to its advanced group creators, in which randomized groups can be a little less random to prevent some students from working together. Overall, the program promotes a sense of class community and helps to keep educators highly organized while maintaining a very fun and easy to use format.

Brainpop

BrainPOP is a fun and educational site for kids and adolescents that uses fun animations, games, activities, quizzes, and mindmaps that motivates students through humor and gets students willing to learn the subjects being taught to them. Through the protagonists, Tim and Moby students become attached and interested in the topic at hand and in the story presented to them. However, this tool is not free, and is a bit on the pricey side from what the BrainPOP help center suggested. Since it sadly also doesn't appear to come with a free version, I most likely won't use this in my classroom unless my school or school system has a subscription to the tool, which is a shame because it is, in my opinion, a great learning tool.

Classcraft

Classcraft promotes student engagement in lessons through the idea of gamification. With this tool, each student becomes their own hero, and through their academic journey, they earn real-life classroom privileges that help them feel more motivated to learn. This fun and exciting tool holds each student accountable for their behavior in the classroom and education both during school and at home. This tool also utilized self-paced lessons and activities in the form of "quests" that students complete to earn real rewards. Additionally, with the integration of google classroom, students can receive feedback at a much more timely rate. I think that this tool would be interesting to try to incorporate into the modern classroom, as I believe it will get more students engaged and wanting to learn. I believe I would use this in the classroom, because it helps make every member of the classroom community responsible for their actions and for completing their assignments.

Quizlet

Quizlet is a mobile and online learning and studying tool in which students and teachers can create custom flashcards to review important class material. With this tool, teachers can create online classes to monitor student studying, handouts, and games. Additionally, with the quizlet live feature, the tool becomes a collaborate gamified version that allows for students to work together to enhance their learning. This tool has changed significantly since I was first introduced to it in middle school, but I think that this tool continues to be a relevant and reliable way to study for tests and exams. Although I doubt I would use the classroom feature to monitor student studying, since students can vary in their studying styles and programs they like, I do think that I would implement this tool into my classroom as it would be a great way to review vocabulary and essential concepts from the literature we read.

Sketchboard

Sketchboard is an online whiteboard program that allows students and teachers to access visual notes and drawings pretty much anywhere. The tool is a great way to share ideas and collaborate within the classroom environment. Through this tool, students can create their own creative sketchboards, and share their notes with the class. In my opinion, the tool isn't the easiest to figure out at first, but once you get used to the system, the tool because a valuable asset that lets students stay updated with class notes and ideas. It also helps in allowing students to take notes creatively, or in the way that they learn best, rather than just the basic pen and paper notes. I would implement this in the classroom as another way for students to engage with the classroom and to take notes in a way that they feel best suits their learning style.

Kahoot!

Kahoot! is a game-based review system to both teachers and students to create, share, and play fun quizzes that promote learning. This tool also creates a fun collaborative (but competitive) classroom environment. This tool is also an excellent means of assessment for educators as it helps them to figure out which lessons got through to the students and what lessons need to be revisited. As stated previously, the competitive nature of this game although great as a motivator, it could turn ugly fast if the teacher does not establish clear ground rules concerning students' respect towards their peers. Despite this drawback, I think that this tool is a great way to get students engaged in reviews and the classroom; therefore I likely will use this to help students study material.

Book Creator

Book Creator is a tool that allows both students and teachers alike to create their own ebooks using an iPad, Chromebooks or just on the web browser. Although the tool does have premium programs, the based version allows for 1 class with 40 books, which means that each student can write their books which then can be shared or published. This tool can cover pretty much any subject; a student can write a story about themselves, write a science demonstration, write about historical events, or write about famous authors. The possibilities are endless with this tool. I think that this tool is excellent in the fact that it promotes collaboration with peers, through its library and sharing features. Additionally, this tool also allows for voice recording, meaning that each student can contribute their own voice and personality to their books. I will likely use this tool in my future classroom as a way to allow students to be more creative with writing assignments, or as a means of review for essential vocabulary or notes from the class.

Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions allows students to be enveloped and brought into a new world. Through this technology, students can take part in virtual field trips, allowing the teacher to take their students pretty much anywhere in the world and gain new knowledge that will help them in the classroom setting. Although it is a concern in the fact that not every student may have the ability to obtain VR headset or have a phone that fits with already purchased headsets, there are patterns out there that will allow students to create their own. Thus, I am likely to incorporate this technology in my classroom as it allows students to look around the places discussed in the class texts and gain a further understand as well as a peaked interest in what we are discussing in class. With this technology the entire world is waiting to be unlocked, just waiting in the palm of our hands.

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Remind

Remind

Remind is an app that allows teachers to send out text reminders to parents and students, creating a sense of community both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to allowing teachers to schedule reminders and viewing status, the app also allows for one on one instant messaging, which makes it easier to address students' problems in the moment. This is particularly helpful as well in making sure students complete homework assignments. If both the parent and the student sign up, the student can know exactly what is assigned to them, while the parent can make sure that the task has been completed. I believe that I am highly likely to use this tool in my future classroom as it will help in clarifying what exactly is expected of my students.