By Paulina Gibson
Technology for educators has come a long way in the past several years, largely due to a great effort we’ve been making to move our work online. We love it because it’s simpler; more centralized, making it easy for us to keep our eyes on everything important. Not to mention that the various productivity tools have taken us a long way from the good old pen-paper-calculator toolset.
But it’s not only about educators. These edtech advancements are creating positive changes for students as well. Collaboration and power of online research have dramatically impacted learning curve, leaving us all amazed at what we can accomplish with a little pinch of digital fairy dust in our classroom.
Document management is one area that has improved drastically. Teachers can now easily prepare lectures online using unlimited resources, while students can collaborate on their homework. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In light of these tech trends in education, we have compiled a list of the best free tools for managing classroom documents so you can experience this enhanced productivity firsthand.
Evernote is a superstar app for educators and always worth mentioning. You can use it for nearly anything, ranging from writing lesson plans to acquiring student observations after class. Some of the most powerful features for educators include the ability to:
- Create templates
- Scan tests
- Prepare and share lesson plans with colleagues and students
This free scanned-PDF to Word converter is a time saving tool that allows you to fully digitize your classroom documents. It sports an advanced OCR technology that unlocks the text from an image-based (scanned) PDF and extracts it into a fully editable MS Word docx. file. Editing PDFs is traditionally a frustrating pain-point for teachers, so this is a must-know service.
This is another PDF tool, but this one is better suited for teachers using Google Drive. The Cometdocs’ Google Drive add-on allows you to convert between multiple document formats, by simply right clicking the file inside Google Drive—ultimately, you can convert PDF to 12 other popular file formats, as well as, create PDFs with the click of a mouse.
They don’t say “one place for everything in your life” for nothing. OneDrive is one of the most popular cloud storage services available and can be used to store your documents. The best part is that you can edit them in Microsoft Office online, collaborate with colleagues, and review student assignments like essays and book reports.
Smmry is the perfect educator’s assistant for preparing lessons. It’s an online tool that summarizes specific text for you, in as many sentences as you would like. Simply copy and paste the text into the tool and click “Summarize.” Alternatively, you can copy and paste the URL containing the text you would like summarized. Use this to write quick lesson summaries for students.
This is an online service that analyzes text in several ways. It provides general statistics, such as: total word count, total unique words, lexical density, etc. It also provides you with a breakdown of individual word length in a word cloud. It’s an excellent addition to any busy teacher’s toolbox, helping you to quickly review and analyze your students’ essays and other textual assignments.
PlagTracker is a free tool that is widely used for checking student papers for plagiarism. Simply copy text in the box and click “Start Checking.” A detailed plagiarism report is sent to you when it’s done. This is useful to students, as well, allowing them to double-check their work for copied text.