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2016 Teacher Tools

2016 Teacher Tools: Dotstorming

2016 Teacher Tools: Dotstorming

By Julie Smith

2016 is the year you become a tech-savvy teacher and Julie Smith, a K-5 teacher in Virginia, is going to help you do exactly that. All teacher tools in the series were chosen by this techie teacher, and she’ll give you the quick run down on a different tech tool every month. 

What Is It: Dotstorming is a free real-time, group-sharing, brainstorming and decision-making web tool that can easily be used in every classroom. I’ve used Dotstorming with several classes this year and received a lot of great feedback from both the teachers and students.

How I Use It: As an easy way for students to share their work with one another.

The Bottom Line: Very easy, yet very effective.

The Rundown

Dotstorming is similar to Padlet and Realtime Board in that the teacher creates a board/wall that produces a web address for students to click on or type in for easy access. Users can add “post its” with their thoughts or ideas as well as upload images. I love to use virtual collaboration boards like Dotstorming for students to share their work with one another.

Dotstorming allows users to view and comment on each other’s posts. Students LOVE to read the feedback from their peers:

feedback from peers

Users can also place votes on their favorite idea or image by clicking the “dot” under the post. The post that has the most dots is the most popular:

place votes

When you create a board, you get to indicate how many votes each user is allotted. I like to give students at least two votes to use. The voting feature in Dotstorming is a wonderful way for classes to make decisions fairly while working together on a common goal. I love that.

Another great feature of Dotstorming is the chat room. This is helpful for students working together, as they add ideas and upload images to a shared board. They can communicate with each other without leaving comments on the individual posts.

Dotstorming does not provide an embed code like Padlet does; however, it’s still a great tool for students to share work, communicate, and provide feedback.

How do you use Dotstorming in your classroom? What teacher tools would you like to learn more about?

View Comments (9)


  1. Pingback: 2016 Teacher Tools: CheckThis

  2. Lana Spence

    May 25, 2018 at 11:12 am

    This is a great tool for the classroom.

  3. Julie Kubrick

    July 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    The most positive thing about this is that the students collaborate on assignments together. The shared board aspect is not something a second grader is used to, but I feel they would love it once they got used to it.

  4. Chelsea Praylor

    July 14, 2018 at 6:26 am

    I have not used this in the classroom before. However I will be using it this school year. We do a lot of service learning projects that require brainstorming and voting on ideas. This tool will be a great way for students to share, vote, and give feedback.

  5. Tasha Fulmore

    November 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    This seems like a great tool to use for collaboration. I would love to try this, but I would need to know what technology they would need in the class. We currently have 2 student computers. Is this something students could do in the computer lab?

  6. Kristie Lano

    November 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I think dotstorming seems like a great tool to use for collaboration between students in my fourth grade class. My questions are what technology is necessary to use dotstorming? Is this something students could use in the computer lab? Our school has two carts of old laptops that we can check out but it is difficult to get each student logged on in a timely manner. In the classroom, we only have two computers in the classroom.

  7. Karen Carter

    November 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I wish I had more access to technology for my students. We have three laptop carts that are able to be checked out at my elementary school. I suppose I could try dotstorming on the laptops or the computer lab in my school. I would love to do a writing assignment (I teach reading and writing to 4th graders) using the dotstorming. For example, I could have students write an attention grabbing opening sentence or two for a certain prompt. Students could then read all the beginnings, and they could vote for their two or three favorite opening sentences.

  8. Cynthia A Parks

    December 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I had not heard of Dotstorming before this class. I am a high school counselor and the adviser of the National Honor Society. I would love to use this with my club.

  9. Paul Sexton

    December 17, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I use padlet in the classroom, but I like the vote feature of dotstorming a little more than padlet. I’ll give it a try and let the students help me choose our favorite.

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