Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Hidden Gems: 20 Awesome Web Tools for Teachers

July10

hidden gemsMost teachers today use technology in the classroom. Many are eager to utilize more tools to enhance their lessons and give their students more opportunities to learn and create. Web tools can be used in so many ways and can make keeping up with assessments easier for the teachers while making work requirements easier. And since students today use web tools and apps on a regular basis in their personal lives, adding web tools will engage your students, and help prepare them for work in the future.

One problem is that there are so many web tools available, and it can be confusing to find the right ones for your classroom. A few of them are well known, but that still leaves a vast amount of lesser known ones that may be perfect for your class. It can take hours to hunt down the tools that fit your needs and those of your students, and then you still have to research the tool to make sure it does what you want, test it, and see if it works with your technology permissions.

Life may be a little easier if you use this list of valuable web tools for teachers and students. Teachers can use this list to find tools to introduce topics, to assess students’ knowledge, to collaborate on projects, to differentiate assignments, and so much more. Students can use this list to find cool web tools to use for their collaboration and final products.

With so many choices, from “click and go” to “might want to read the manual,” teachers can easily add more web tools to their classes and truly immerse their students in their learning. If you are one of those teachers or students looking for more web tools for your lessons, dig in!

Blendspace

Blendspace is a great web tool for creating a virtual classroom. You can use Blendspace to create projects and assignments, present lessons and information, share videos, and much more. Students can use Blendspace to review information, take assessments, and post questions or answers.

blendspace

BookWidgets

BookWidgets is a super-easy-to-use tool for creating your own engaging interactive lesson material. You can choose from a broad library of activity types (including quizzes, worksheets, word games, flash cards, bingo games, jigsaw puzzles, interactive math plots, arithmetic exercises, and much more), personalize each activity with your own content, and send the activity to your students’ devices. After students finish their exercise and submit the results, the results are automatically graded for you to review.

You can create and preview widgets without registration, but need to register for a free 30-day trial to share your widgets with students.

book widgets

Bubbl.us

Bubbl.us is a brainstorming web tool. You can use it in classes to capture ideas during brainstorming sessions. Students can collaborate with group members and create maps or webs of topics or create individual maps or webs. Their work can be printed out instead of saving the maps.

Bubbl.us has a limited free plan, but requires registration with email if you are going to save your map.

Chatzy

Chatzy is great for creating a back channel in your class. A back channel allows your students to use their personal devices to interact during a lesson by sending comments and questions in real time. You can also use it to ask questions and check for understanding.

Chatzy is free, and your students do not have to register to participate.

chatzy

Collaborize Classroom

Collaborize Classroom is your “go to” web tool for the classroom. You can register for free and create a virtual classroom with the opportunity to create blogs, assessments, assign projects, store grades, and keep a library of pertinent information. Students will not need email to register for your class on Collaborize Classroom. You can provide differentiated assignments, students can work on collaborative projects, and so much more.

Collaborize Classroom is a free tool that requires registration.

Looseleaves

With Looseleaves, you open up a leaf and start creating thoughts and writings. You can use Looseleaves to create a document with assignment instructions, images, and links to related materials. You share your link with your audience, and they can revisit it as often as they need. Post your class syllabus or rules, and parents and students can refer to it all year. Students can use Looseleaves to create documents that summarize their learning and share links to references they used. This is a great, quick and easy web tool for any writing purpose.

Looseleaves is a free web tool that does not require registration.

looseleaves

Mqlicker

Mqlicker turns your students’ phones and other devices into response devices. You will have to register for this free web tool. After entering your questions, you provide your students with a session key or code. Once students enter the code into the site, you can begin the quiz or survey. Results can be shown in graphic form and can be saved, so you can measure growth over time.

Mqlicker is free, but requires teacher registration.

mqlicker

Padlet

Padlet is an excellent web tool for creating class lists, sharing ideas, sharing resources, collaborating, and collecting information. You can start a wall in Padlet instantly, share the wall link with your students, and they can view it on Padlet and add their own comments, questions, and resources. Student groups can use it to collaborate on a project design or as the final presentation of their work. Padlet is an extremely easy to use web tool.

Padlet has a free plan, and requires no registration.

padlet

Piratepad

Piratepad is a web tool that allows you to instantly create a collaboration site for writing and editing. Once you open your pad, you share the link with your students, and you begin writing and sharing in real time. You can use this web tool to post questions, start discussions, or assign group collaborative writing activities. Students can use Piratepad to create documents for group work, take notes or create lists, or start a discussion thread.

Piratepad is free, and requires no registration.

Popplet

Popplet can be used on a computer or on an iPad through an app. You can use Popplet as a web or mind-mapping tool to organize ideas for lessons. Students can use Popplet to create webs that show their flow of ideas and for brainstorming ideas or completing projects. Popplet is a simple web tool that is a great resource for your class.

You can register and use Popplet on the web for free, but you need to buy an app to use it on mobile devices.

Prezi

Prezi is a web tool that allows users to create presentations on any device or computer. You can then share your presentations through a projector or online for students to access later. Students can use Prezi to create presentations and can also use Prezi for collaborative work.

You can register and use Prezi on the web for free, but you need to buy an app to use it on mobile devices.

Smore

Smore is a web tool for designing nice looking newsletters, flyers, and posters. It is simple to use and provides you and your students with a different way to present information that is visually appealing. You can use it to create monthly newsletters for the parents and community or to create a more visual lesson for your students. Your students can design posters or flyers as part of their summative assessments.

Smore has a limited free plan, and requires registration. There is an educator account for a yearly fee that allows your students free access without registration.

Snap.vu

Snap.vu is a QR code generator. There are numerous ways you can use QR codes in your classes. Students will need a QR scanner, easily available as an app, to access the information. You can create QR codes for documents, videos, images, websites, and so much more. Post the QR code on your webpage or your classroom wall. Students scan the code, and it takes them to information you selected. This would be a great way to randomize assignments or differentiate instruction. You can add QR codes to pages in your textbook, and students can scan the code to go to related information or a quick quiz. Snap.vu will also track how many times your codes are scanned.

Snap.vu is a free web tool that requires registration.

snap-vu

Socrative

Socrative is a quiz, exam, and survey web tool, which students can access on a pc or device. Socrative will provide you with class and individual progress reports to use for adjusting teaching methods.

Socrative is free and requires teacher registration. Students do not need an email to register.

Storybird

Storybird is a digital book making web tool.You can create books on topics related to your classes. Storybird provides students with a safe environment to express their creative writing. They can create picture books, stories, and poetry in Storybird. Students can also read and comment on their classmates’ stories.

Storybird is free for teachers.

Testmoz

Testmoz creates simple quizzes, tests, and surveys for you to use with your students. Testmoz will supply you with reports on student progress, which can be used to individualize instruction, for reteaching, and adjusting your lessons.

Testmoz is free and does not require any registration.

Twiddla

Twiddla is another immediate web tool. You can use Twiddla to do almost anything. It can be used as a blank slate for collaboration with a group. You can import pictures or webpages and start a conversation. You can ask your students to analyze a picture or cartoon. Students can use Twiddla to create their own pages and share pictures or websites on class topics and insert their comments right on the image. Other students can join the page and comment on the work done.

Twiddla has a limited free account.

twiddla

Wiggio

Wiggio is a web tool that provides a collaborative environment for groups and projects. You can use it to share class calendars and files, create polls and surveys, and send emails and messages to the class. You can even use Wiggio to host virtual meetings.

Wiggio is free.

Wikispaces Classroom

Wikispaces Classroom can be used for just about anything for your classes. Teachers create a classroom where they can post announcements, assignments, resources, videos, and more. You and your students can discuss topics and comment on the work of others. Students can collaborate on projects with students in their class, or you can connect with other classes and interact with students from around the world. You can see what the students are creating as it happens and make comments and suggestions for the work. Wikispaces Classroom is an easy-to-use web tool that you can turn into something powerful for your students.

Wikispaces is free.

Zaption

Zaption lets you add pictures, comments, and questions to videos. You can share your videos with a link or post them online for your students to access. Zaption creates a more interactive experience for your students than traditional educational videos. Students could use Zaption to make comments on videos that they create, that they want to share on a topic, or that you assign.

Zaption requires registration, and has a free limited plan.

zaption

About the author

Natalie Mroz is an award-winning retired teacher holding a BS and MA from The Ohio State University. She currently resides in Florida where she enjoys working as an independent consultant, reading on the beach, and learning and sharing new information.

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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