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8 Engaging Classroom Tools to Test This Summer

8 Engaging Classroom Tools to Test This Summer

By Dominic Gibson

Technology has become an increasingly essential ingredient in the modern classroom. The right tech tools can go a long way toward helping your students grasp and retain key concepts. They can also improve classroom engagement and interaction for a more fruitful learning experience.

Summer is the perfect time to explore new EdTech tools. Not to mention, with new and innovative products being released constantly, there’s plenty to explore when you’re not worried about lesson planning and grading.

Use this time to test new tools and find the ones that are best for your classroom and then tailor them to your curriculum and students. Start with these eight innovative tools that allow you to create custom images for presentations, find better apps for your students, and more.

More: 10 Interactive Classroom Tools for All Teachers to Use

Autodraw

auto draw

As a teacher, you already know that visual cues are an excellent way to convey concepts. Visuals help students learn and retain information better than plain text and that’s where Autodraw comes in. This brilliant tool lets you draw things within seconds. You draw a rudimentary sketch, no matter how rough or inaccurate, and Autodraw takes it from there.

How does this work? Autodraw uses Artificial Intelligence to accurately guess what you’re trying to draw and then provides you with relevant professional images that can be used in a slide presentation, for example.

The benefit of doing this, rather than downloading a free icon—if you can find one—is that you can customize the image itself by changing the color and then add text, shapes and other images. When you’re done, you simply download the finished product.

Students will love using this tool to make posters and other visual aids. Watch this overview video to get a better understanding of how it works.

 

Whooo’s Reading

Whooo's Reading

If you haven’t heard of this literacy tool, now used by more than 128K teachers, get acquainted this summer. The team at Whooo’s Reading has one simple goal: provide a higher-level thinking alternative to multiple choice, so students develop critical thinking skills.

As a teacher, you’re able to set reading goals for all your students, groups of students, or individuals and then track their progress against state standards. You can also provide instant feedback, download and print reading worksheets, and have questions auto-graded.

Students love the social nature of Whooo’s Reading, which encourages them to talk about the books their reading with one another. The platform is also gamified; students to earn Coins that can be “spent” on digital accessories for their Whooo’s Reading Owl. This keeps students engaged, accountable and excited while encouraging them to read more of what they love.

More: See what teachers love about Whooo’s Reading

 

InsertLearning

insert learning

Turn any web page into a fully customized lesson for your classroom with just a few clicks using this browser extension for Chrome. After installing, you can add notes, create questions and highlight the text on any web page. You can then share this new lesson with your students or fellow teachers through Google Classroom.

You access the feedback from students and teachers on these lessons through the InsertLearning dashboard. You can even monitor the annotations and responses from students in real-time, allowing you to respond right away if students are struggling.

Made for teachers (two high school teachers), for teachers, it’s a product you may find you rely on more and more. Check out this tutorial video to see how you’d create a lesson.

 

Sway

sway

Sway lets you create immersive visual content, including newsletters, presentations and classroom documentation. You have access to copyright-free images from within the app, and can work with templates, explore relevant topics, and add forms as well as other content.

Once the content is finalized, you can choose from various creative options to present it exactly the way you want. Use this app to take your lectures to the next level, give your parent newsletters a facelift, or have students share their knowledge in a new format.

 

Common Sense Education

common sense

The EdTech industry has seen rapid expansion in the recent years—as you probably have experienced personally. With so many new tools available, it can be hard to find the ones that are most relevant to your specific teaching needs. Common Sense Education, formerly known as Graphite, makes the task easier for you.

Common Sense provides you with comprehensive lists of EdTech resources and tools, along with reviews and ratings for each. You can search these resources by grade, subject, platform, skills, purpose and pricing, making it easier to find what you need.

 

Creaza

creaza

If you teach students in younger levels, Creaza is a must-have tool for creating digital stories. Students have access to themes and backgrounds, and they can also add their own audio and video files in the process. Users also have access to a comprehensive mind map tool that can be used to help students better understand a wide range of topics, from plot lines to science vocabulary.

More: 10 Awesome Learning Websites to Inspire Curiosity in Students

 

Wakelet

wakelet

Wakelet belongs in the same category as Sway. However, it’s also markedly different. With Wakelet, you can organize all your digital content in one place to curate custom lectures, presentations and other media for your students. Use this to create collections for students, like a supplemental resource packet for a lesson or a study collection ahead of an exam.

Students can also use Wakelet to create their own digital portfolios throughout the year. They can use it to collect resources during research or even create their own collection as the final project.

 

Animoto

Engaging students with creative projects is one of the best ways enhance classroom learning with technology. Animoto allows both you and your students to flex your creative muscles by making videos. In a few simple steps, students are able to choose a style, add video and images, enter the text, and export and share their final product. You can find more video-creation tools in our recent post, 10 Interactive Tools for Students to Create How-To Videos.

 

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