Technology and education are pretty intertwined these days and nearly every teacher has a few favorite tech tools that make doing his or her job and connecting with students a little bit easier and more fun for all involved. Yet as with anything related to technology, new tools are hitting the market constantly and older ones rising to prominence, broadening their scope, or just adding new features that make them better matches for education, which can make it hard to keep up with the newest and most useful tools even for the most tech-savvy teachers. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the tech tools, including some that are becoming increasingly popular and widely used, that should be part of any teacher’s tech tool arsenal this year, whether for their own personal use or as educational aids in the classroom. And what’s great about these tools is that they can be used anywhere, regardless of whether you are in Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas, or Florida.
These tools use the power of social media to help students learn and teachers connect.
- Edmodo: Teachers and students can take advantage of this great tech tool, as it offers a Facebook-like environment where classes can connect online.
- Grockit: Get your students connected with each other in study sessions that take place on this great social site.
- EduBlogs: EduBlogs offers a safe and secure place to set up blogs for yourself or your classroom.
- Skype: Skype can be a great tool for keeping in touch with other educators or even attending meetings online. Even cooler, it can help teachers to connect with other classrooms, whether you’re from Hawaii, or Alaska, or even those in other countries.
- Wikispaces: Share lessons, media, and other materials online with your students, or let them collaborate to build their own educational wiki on Wikispaces.
- Pinterest: You can pin just about any image you find interesting on this site, but many teachers are using it as a place to collect great lesson plans, projects, and inspirational materials.
- Schoology: Through this social site, teachers can manage lessons, engage students, share content, and connect with other educators.
- Quora: While Quora is used for a wide range of purposes, it can be a great tool for educators. It can be used to connect with other professionals or to engage students in discussion after class.
- Ning: Ning allows anyone to create a personalized social network, which can be great for both teachers and students alike.
- OpenStudy:Encourage your students to work together to learn class material by using a social study site like OpenStudy.
- ePals: One of the coolest benefits of the Web is being able to connect with anyone, anywhere. ePals does just that, but focuses on students, helping them to learn languages and understand cultures different from their own.
These educational tools can help you to make lessons fun, interesting, and more effective.
- Khan Academy: Many teachers use this excellent collection of math, science, and finance lectures and quizzes to supplement their classroom materials.
- MangaHigh: MangaHigh offers teachers a wealth of resources for game-based learning in mathematics.
- FunBrain: If you’re looking for a great collection of educational games, look no further than FunBrain. On it, teachers can take advantage of fun tools for math and reading.
- Educreations: Educreations is an amazing online tool for the iPad that lets teachers (or students) create videos that teach a given topic. Perfect for studying or getting students to show off their knowledge.
- Animoto: Animoto makes it simple to create video-based lessons or presentations for the classroom and to share them with students or anyone else.
- Socrative: Available for computers, mobile devices, and tablets, this student response system engages students through games and exercises on any device they have on hand. Even better, teachers can easily assess student progress and track grades.
- Knewton: Adaptive learning has been a hot topic in recent months, and with Knewton it’s something that any teacher can access and use. The site personalizes online learning content for each student according to his or her needs.
- Kerpoof: On Kerpoof, students can get creative with their learning with games, interactive activities, drawing tools, and more that are both fun and educational.
- StudySync: With a digital library, weekly writing practice, online writing and peer reviews, Common Core assignments, and multimedia lessons available, this site is a fully-featured tool for teaching and learning that can be a big help in the classroom.
- CarrotSticks: On this site, teachers can take advantage of a wide range of math learning games, giving students practice while they have fun.
Lesson Planning and Tools
Use these tech tools to pull together great lessons and design amazing and memorable student projects.
- Teachers Pay Teachers: Have great lessons to share? Looking for something to add to your classes? On this site you can do both, selling your own class materials and buying high-quality resources from other teachers.
- Planboard: Make sure your lessons are organized and that your day runs smoothly with the help of this amazing online tool designed just for teachers.
- Timetoast: Timetoast is a pretty cool for student projects, allowing them to build sleek, interactive timelines in minutes.
- Capzles: There are so many different ways that Capzles can be used in the classroom, there’s bound to be an application that fits your needs. What does it do? Capzles makes it simple to gather media like photos, videos, documents, and even blog posts into one place, making it perfect for teaching, learning, or online projects.
- Prezi: Want to build presentations that will wow your students? Make use of this online tool that makes it simple to do all kinds of cool things with your lessons, even allowing collaboration between teachers.
- Wordle: Create stunning word clouds using Wordle, a great complement to language lessons of any kind.
- QR Codes: QR codes (or quick response codes) are showing up with greater frequency in education. If you’d like to get in on the trend, you’ll need a tool to create and manage the codes like Delivr and one to read codes, like any of those listed on this site.
- Quizlet: Quizlet makes it easy for teachers to create study tools for students, especially flashcards that can make memorizing important information a snap.
- MasteryConnect: How are your students performing with regard to state and common core standards? MasterConnect makes it simple to track and analyze both, as well as other elements of student performance.
- Google Docs: Through Google Docs, teachers can create and share documents, presentations, or spreadsheets with students and colleagues as well as give feedback on student-created projects.
- YouTube: Not all schools allow YouTube, but they are missing out as the site contains a wealth of great learning materials for the classroom. There’s even a special education-focused channel just for teachers and students.
- TED-Ed: TED isn’t just a great place to find inspiration anymore, the site also contains numerous videos that are organized by subject and can help you to teach everything from how pain relievers work to Shakespearean insults.
- Glogster:Glogster is a social site that lets users mash up music, photos, videos, and pretty much anything else you’d like. It’s a great way to create learning materials and a handy tool for creative student projects.
- Creaza: Want to bring your student projects into the 21st century? Creaza can make that possible, offering tools to brainstorm, create cartoons, and edit audio and video.
- Mentor Mob: On Mentor Mob, you or your students can create a learning playlist, which is essentially a collection of high-quality materials that can be used to study a specific concept.
These tools can help you to stay connected, organized, and increase the ease of building multimedia lessons and learning tools.
- Evernote: Capture great ideas, photos, recordings, or just about anything else on your Evernote account, access it anywhere, and keep it organized. A must-have tool for lesson planning.
- Twitter: There are so many ways Twitter can be used in education. Teachers can connect with other educators, take part in chats, share their ideas, or even use it in the classroom to reach out to students.
- Google Education: Google offers a number of great edtech resources for teachers, including email and collaborative apps, videos, lesson plan search, professional development, and even educational grants.
- Dropbox: Easily store, share, and access any kind of data from anywhere with the easy-to-use and free Dropbox service.
- Diigo: Diigo lets you treat the web like paper-based reading material, making it simple to highlight, bookmark, take notes, or even add sticky notes.
- Apple iPad: One of the most widely used, though expensive, tech tools being used in today’s classroom is the Apple iPad. With a host of educational apps being developed for the device, it’s become a favorite of teachers and students alike across the nation.
- Aviary: Aviary is a suite of tools that make it easy to edit images, effects, swatches, music, and audio or to create and modify screen captures.
- Jing: If you’re teaching kids about tech or just about anything else, a great screenshot program is essential. Jing is one great option that allows teachers to take screenshots as images, record up to five minutes or videos then edit and share the results.
- Popplet: You and your students can use Popplet to brainstorm ideas, create mindmaps, share, and collaborate.
- Google Earth: From geography projects to learning about geological processes, Google Earth can be an amazing and fast way to show students anywhere in the world.
- DonorsChoose: Need funding for a classroom project? You can get it through this site that hooks up needy teachers with willing donors.
- SlideShare: With SlideShare, you can upload your presentations, documents, and videos and share them with students and colleagues. Even better, you can take advantage of materials that other have uploaded as well.
- LiveBinders: Like a real-life three ring binder, this tech tool allows you to collect and organize resources. Much better than a binder, however, the site also comes with tools to connect and collaborate and a virtual whiteboard.
- AudioBoo: Through this tool, you can record and share audio for your students or anyone else.