My Tech Toolkit

This is a collection of apps that excite me that engage students and that have the potential to transform the classroom space into a collaborative, interactive, creative space. But wait — apps can’t do that, only good teachers can! So while I share these apps as resources, I do so with the caveat that how you put them to use matters far more than whether or not you use them. 

How I pick apps for my toolkit: I value apps that are “free” to access (or at least have some free features available to educators), are open source (these are few and far between), or that have shown promise either in observations of or conversations with teachers and students. I’m selective! I don’t want this to be your standard list o’ links — I want it to be a meaningful starting point for educators.

Formative Assessment

Socrative: Create quick and easy quizzes for students to get fast data about their comprehension or understanding of a concept. Saves your quizzes and data, and “will always be free,” to quote the website!

Vokaroo: Create audio recordings (for feedback, or have students make them!) and save them quickly, simply, easily, and then embed them in other media or  websites.

Kaizena for Google Docs: Kaizena also has a full version, but my favorite part of this app is the Drive add-on that lets you add audio feedback right in a Google Drive Document.

Flubaroo: Another extension for Google, this one integrates with forms to turn forms into quick quizzes that you can quickly grade. A great Docs add-on for teachers.

Multimodal and Multimedia Composition

Haiku Deck: For younger students especially, this app teaches a bit about design and a bit about organizing presentations and ideas, without all the bells and whistles of PowerPoint. For quick formative assessments using visuals and texts, it’s great. I would encourage creative uses of this app — not just having students create presentation slides!

iMovie: Like its PC partner, MovieMaker, it can do more than the smaller, faster, easier-to-use digital storytelling apps. For bigger multimedia projects, it’s my go-to.

WeVideo: Easier to use than iMovie, but with some limitations on length and size if you’re using the free version. Great for small, creative formative assessments.

Class Brainstorming and Idea Generation I’ve been using this one for a long time to help students talk through difficult concepts and how they are connected. While you can certainly use it for research paper brainstorming, I like it as a way to help students create visuals of complex concepts.

Padlet: I enjoy starting off PD sessions with this tool, and could see myself using it with students as well. It allows users to post responses to a prompt in the form of text, pictures, or links!

Notetaking and Productivity

Stickies: Because who doesn’t like post-it notes? I like to color-code them based on the different tasks I need to accomplish. There are sticky note apps for PC and Mac.

Evernote: A great place to store your notes in the cloud, to share notes with others, to organize your life. I come in and out of it, but it remains a constant favorite.

Diigo: My favorite social bookmarking tool (though does similar things to Diigo and is also loved by many), Diigo allows students to annotate digital texts in addition to save their favorite sites. Teachers, be sure to get an education account!

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