Enhancing Learning: Tools For The Digital Classroom
There is certainly no shortage of tech-based tools to use in the classroom. In this article we’ll examine some of the best, focusing specifically on those that are designed for encouraging, enhancing, and managing learning.
Socrative professes to be “your classroom app for fun, effective classroom engagement”. In a nutshell, it is a cloud-based student response system, allowing teachers to immediately test student understanding by way of mini-quizzes, assigned to them on class laptops or tablets. Quizzes can be multiple choice, graded short answer, true-false, or open-ended short response. Socrative’s strength lies in its “on the fly” assessment method, providing teachers with valuable and timely feedback.
Scratch is a simple, fun, and engaging introduction to programming, designed specifically for 8 to 16-year-olds. Users can combine music, graphics, and photos to create interactive games, animations, and slideshows. All of their creations are shareable with others in a student’s online community. It’s important to note that Scratch will really only teach programming concepts, not so much real, authentic programming.
According to Prezi, “creating, giving, and tracking beautiful interactive presentations is as easy as 1,2,3” with their cloud-based presentation software. Prezi presentations are nothing like your traditional presentations; zooming in and out and moving side to side across one single, very attractive and modern canvas, focusing in on images and videos inputted by the user. Prezi is very popular and consistently receives excellent reviews.
SelfCAD is a free, cloud-based 3D CAD software package for students. It is incredibly easy to use, yet provides an authentic, ‘real world’ 3D design experience. Another notable feature— SelfCAD has teamed up with MyMiniFactory, to provide a database of already completed 3D printable designs, making thousands of 3D objects available for immediate 3D printing. All round, it is a very powerful and effective tool for learning in STEM, and a number of schools are getting on board.
5. Quizlet / Quizlet Live
Quizlet provides a platform for students and teachers to create and share their own learning materials, including flashcards and diagrams. Quizlet Live is the free in-class quiz game, produced by Quizlet, that can then bring these learning materials to life. In this engaging and interactive game, students must all contribute, stay focused and communicate well to win. Quizlet consistently receives excellent reviews and is a great way to bring study notes to into the 21st century.
6. Google Classroom
Google Classroom is a powerful community based social tool for learning. It allows students to post questions and receive answers from their teachers and fellow students. Furthermore, teachers can post intriguing questions and lesson materials for review at home. It can also be integrated with other Google products such as Google Forms, which can be a great way to get feedback from students.
7. Adobe Spark Video
Spark Video is part of the Adobe Spark suite. The application enables students to produce short, animated, narrated explainer videos. Students can easily add photos, video clips, icons, and voice, as well as professional-quality soundtracks and cinematic motion to their video creations. Video and vlog making is a great way to engage students creatively, and an ‘out of the box’ approach to class projects or reviewing learning materials.
8. Khan Academy
With Khan Academy you can literally learn anything; all for free. Lessons are presented by way of videos, interactive activities, and challenges. Learners also earn badges in line with their achievements and can save their progress to their own profile. Khan Academy is a great way to supplement your teaching, provide extra work to your gifted and talented students or help those who are struggling with certain content.
Seesaw is an easy to use learning portfolio application, enabling students to document, showcase and reflect on what they are learning at school. Work can be made accessible to parents as well. The collective monitoring of learning by students, teachers, and parents is a great way to motivate students, and the tool is incredibly popular with teachers.
10. Class Dojo
Class Dojo is a free classroom communication, community building, and behavior management application. A well-behaved student body is associated with better learning for everyone in the class as it minimizes distractions and improves student focus. Class Dojo enables teachers to not only track behavior and share this with parents, but also assign students tasks which build positive behavioral skills and traits.