Posted in Miscellaneous

8 Powerful Tools Students and Teachers Can Rely On

Every so often, we have guest bloggers who can add to the conversation on education. Today, we have Robert Morris, who lives in New York with his family. He graduated from NYU in 2006 and has worked in education for over 7 years as a teacher and a school newspaper adviser. Now he is early childhood literacy consultant and online literature tutor. He provides teaching and learning materials by writing useful posts for educators. You can find Robert on Google+.

Just as Natasha provided us with a list of useful iPad apps, Robert goes on to list online tools that benefit both student and teacher. Natasha also pitches in with a few of her own “endorsements.”

If you would like to guest blog, send a post to mckayprteam@byu.edu (subject line: guest blog submission).

8 Powerful Tools Students and Teachers Can Rely On

According to recent estimations, the educational technology industry is expected to reach $60 billion by 2016. Both students and teachers have a lot to gain from “smarter” classrooms that rely on technology tools. Technology can not only make the learning process more interactive, but can also improve the outcome and way students approach different learning methods.

The following is a list of 8 tools that have great potential in increasing students’ capacity to learn and educators’ ability to teach.

Photo from: http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/968413/helping-encourage-technology-in-the-classroom

1. WritingHouse.org is a free bibliography maker, which makes citing in MLA, APA and Chicago styles quick and easy.

2. Skitch is a visual communication tool provided by Evernote. It’s a simple, but effective concept that has potential of increasing BYOD (bring your own device, i.e. laptops, tablets) classrooms. Students and teachers can use Skitch to display visuals with annotations  and discuss their ideas on a particular subject. Teachers can capture new images or use existing ones to explain the concepts better through visual cues.

Natasha’s endorsement: Not many schools have the technology to display visuals and add annotations easily, such as a Promethean board. Skitch is an easy tool that allows one to annotate images. In the classroom, teachers can use it to focus in on different aspects of an image to help reinforce or enhance their lessons. Students could use this to help efficiently and effectively get their ideas out on certain subjects.

3. Ninja Essays has a blog that is an irreplaceable source of information about various online educational tools. The company also offers professional assistance in academic writing, as well as editing services.

The team working at Ninja Essays holds graduate degrees and are skilled in their profession, ready to share their knowledge with others in the field of education.

4. Basecamp is one of the most popular collaborative tools on the web. It is very easy to use–students and teachers can create and manage projects through it. Teachers love Basecamp because it provides them with full control over their students’ progress. They can divide the class into groups and assign different projects to them, or individually assign projects and monitor each student’s progress.

Students appreciate Basecamp as an easy way to create quality projects.

5. WeVideo is a convenient tool for creating videos that will increase the students’ engagement within the classroom. It’s no secret that students are highly attracted to visual content, so there is no better way to capture their attention than by using videos. Students can also use WeVideo for project-based learning, since it enables the student to easily create topical presentations or a collaborative video project.

Natasha’s endorsement: You want to increase engagement by creating videos, but your school doesn’t have iMovie? No worries. WeVideo allows you to create videos on anything you want. This tool is student-friendly and can easily be used create presentation and videos. Students can also share and collaborate on their video projects.

6. Padlet is online board that allows teachers to create an online board to better explain subject material to their students. They can add all sorts of visual content, as well as links that will keep the student engaged. Teachers can determine the privacy of a project so they can enable a private wall to be accessed, while still monitoring activity in real time.

Teachers can also use Padlet as an interactive tool for assessment. The blank wall offers limitless possibilities, so the outcome is dependent upon the user’s imagination.

7.  Easel.ly is an innovative tool for data visualization. Students can learn much more effectively when they are able to visualize the information in front of them, and Easel.ly achieves just that. Both educators and students can create engaging infographics with different tools and boxes.

You don’t need any knowledge of design to be able to use this tool. Young students and even old-school educators can use it to create infographics.

Natasha’s endorsement: If you need to present information in a simple, easy to understand way, Easel.ly is the tool to use. It visually displays data in an effective way. Teachers and students can easily create these visual displays and the best thing is that you do not need any background knowledge on how to create infographics.

 8. VoiceThread is perfect for students in K-12 schools and higher education. Text often lacks the expression and subtlety found in other meaningful ways of communication. VoiceThread solves this problem by creating a more “human” way of connecting.

The users can record audio, text and comments about videos, documents, and images. Teachers can either create their own visual content or import videos, after which students can engage in constructive discussion.

Conclusion

Educational technology provides seemingly limitless options for leveraging effective collaboration in and out of the classroom. Not all educational tools are best for every educator and student, but there is definitely a right fit for everyone. All you need to do is experiment a bit and choose the perfect tool that meets your needs!

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