Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst

This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online signup sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more. Mark your Favorites using your free TeachersFirst membership, so you can find them quickly!

For a full listing of reviewed "creation" tools by category, try the TeachersFirst Edge, today's hottest tools for creating teacher and student projects online. 

 

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DivShare - Diversion Web Publishing

Grades
3 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
DivShare is a service to upload, store, and manage your files. You can also embed any file (including video files) into websites. The free account allows up to 5gb storage ...more
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DivShare is a service to upload, store, and manage your files. You can also embed any file (including video files) into websites. The free account allows up to 5gb storage and 50 downloads/month. Select a file from your computer, organize into folders, then upload. Once a file is uploaded, a unique sharing link is provided. Add a password for increased security if desired. Use your account dashboard to organize and find files from any computer.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Use DivShare to store and manage any classroom files and to embed on your classroom website. Create a class DivShare account for students to use with collaborative projects. Share a link to DivShare on your class website for students to create their own accounts, if permitted.

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Printliminator - Chris Coyier and Devon Govett

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Chrome ONLY.) Then...more
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Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Chrome ONLY.) Then click the bookmarklet from any page to open up tool options. Mouse over your web page and click on red boxes to remove them from the page. When ready, preview and send to your printer. Be sure to watch the Quick Video Demo for a full overview of all features of the Printliminator.

tag(s): classroom management (135)

In the Classroom

Install the Printliminator on your browser tool bar. Show students how to use Prinliminator on your interactive whiteboard or projector for use when they are researching or preparing a study guide for a test. Use when viewing web pages on your interactive whiteboard to eliminate unnecessary information. Delete unnecessary information from webpages. Send to print and save as PDF for use with student handouts or links from your class web page. Of course, you will want to include your SOURCE on the handouts as a model of good digital citizenship. This is also a great tool to differentiate for any student. Use this tool to share handouts or PDFs with students who are easily distracted to help them stay focused on what matters.

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SmallPDF - smallpdf.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
SmallPDF offers many tools for creating and working with PDF files. Choose links to reduce the size of any PDF document, convert JPG to PDF or PDF to JPG, merge ...more
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SmallPDF offers many tools for creating and working with PDF files. Choose links to reduce the size of any PDF document, convert JPG to PDF or PDF to JPG, merge PDF files, and much more! After choosing the option to use, follow the simple directions for uploading files. Be sure to download and save. All conversions use temporary online storage and disappear from servers within an hour.

tag(s): conversions (23), worksheets (60)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save SmallPDF for use throughout the year. Upload Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files to convert into PDF documents. Use SmallPDF to split large PDF documents into smaller, manageable portions. Have students use Ourboox, reviewed here. Ourboox creates beautiful page-flipping digital books in minutes, and you can embed video, music, animation, games, maps and more.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Random Name Selector - Primary Technology

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Easily "draw" student names at any time and from any device using the Random Name Selector. Choose "Change Names" to create your own list of names. Click "Save" when finished. ...more
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Easily "draw" student names at any time and from any device using the Random Name Selector. Choose "Change Names" to create your own list of names. Click "Save" when finished. Adjust the length of your spin from 4 to 7 seconds. Turn the sound on or off. Choose "Save and Share" to view the embed code for any blog or website or copy the URL to bookmark and save for future use. As each name appears, it includes the option to remove it from the list.

tag(s): classroom management (135), probability (130)

In the Classroom

Use the Random Name Selector to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name selector to choose the classmate who comes next. Create your list at the beginning of the year and SAVE it to use throughout the year. Use the Random Name Selector as part of your probability unit to chart how often names appear with random spins (be sure not to remove them from the list as they appear).

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Toggl - Toggl

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Easily track time spent on projects without time sheets! Enter your task and click to begin tracking. View the day-by-day breakdown of time spent on the activities. Generate summary,...more
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Easily track time spent on projects without time sheets! Enter your task and click to begin tracking. View the day-by-day breakdown of time spent on the activities. Generate summary, detailed, or weekly reports. Use this tool to create teams and generate team reports. Invite members by email and mark team data as public or private as needed. Use multiple machines in the day? No problem. Time is tracked across multiple devices including Android and iOs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (135), DAT device agnostic tool (199), organizational skills (122), time (144)

In the Classroom

Introduce this tool to students as you talk about study skills and homework habits at the start of the school year. Make it part of your lessons on "how to study" or part of your first long term project, especially with disorganized middle schoolers (and gifted students). Have students track how they are spending their time outside of school and make resolutions about how they can adjust it to improve grades, etc. Even teachers need to track time spent on activities. Record time spent in preparing lessons, collaborating, maintaining your PLN, communicating with parents, extra-curricular activities, and more. This tool is beneficial with student groups and tracking time spent on activities. Be sure that students break down the specific responsibilities needed for the project and separate them out to the group. Students can show the work they completed as well as the summary report of time spent. Students can use this information as self-reflection upon completion of any class project and see the possible impact of time well spent!

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HelloSign - Joseph Walla

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Obtain and send signatures on documents with HelloSign. This service allows you to email documents and receive legally binding signatures through email and other services. HelloSign...more
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Obtain and send signatures on documents with HelloSign. This service allows you to email documents and receive legally binding signatures through email and other services. HelloSign also syncs with DropBox, Box, Evernote, and SkyDrive. Sign up using your email or Google account then follow steps on the Getting Started link. Upload documents from your computer or allowed services to edit and sign, add a message and recipients then send. Send up to three free documents per month with a free account. There is the option for a 30-day free trial period of some of the premium features, however, this review is only for the "always" free features.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use HelloSign to obtain parent signatures on IEP's, behavior notices, and more when parents are unable to physically sign documents. Have administrators send evaluation documents for teacher signatures electronically. Use anytime a signature is required without having to mail documents or have the signer present. You will, of course, want to be sure that a "clever" student is not doing the signing for his or her parents! Make sure to verify email addresses through a phone call or other means.

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Movenote - Movenote Team

Grades
5 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create an integrated video presentation or screencast using Movenote. Add content from Google Drive, a computer, or just about any device. Movenote will work with nearly any format...more
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Create an integrated video presentation or screencast using Movenote. Add content from Google Drive, a computer, or just about any device. Movenote will work with nearly any format (doc, PDF, images, and even video). Uploading your documents or video creates the slides, and you can start recording. Simply swipe to synchronize the slides to the video. Registration requires your name and email address. You can register with your Google account. Share the Movenote by embedding, or use Gmail, Google+, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and other social media. Recording requires Shockwave and the approval to access your device's sound and camera.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), digital storytelling (144), video (254)

In the Classroom

Encourage your students to use this tool for projects and reports. Use this tool for analysis of a lab report, the culminating project for literature circles, book reviews, explaining a math problem, or a digital portfolio for artwork or music. Have students record their authentic language (reading a Spanish or French paragraph or ESL/ELLs reading English) to listen to their pronunciation. Students can take pictures on a field trip and share them via Movenote to show their parents what they learned. Students could illustrate a short story they wrote, using the audio to record the story as the illustrations slide past. Use this program when you have to be away from the classroom instead of writing out all the directions for a sub. Use it for absent students to stay on top of what has been discussed, assigned, or completed in class. Use it to explain how to solve a math problem and post it on the class website for students to refer to at home. Use it as a screencast for giving feedback for student writing. This tool would be useful for blended or flipped learning, giving students time to absorb information about content, leaving class time for individualized learning.

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Writing House - Writing House

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Creating and formatting bibliographies and citations can be one of the most frustrating barriers students face in doing research, and Writing House will take the pain out of the process....more
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Creating and formatting bibliographies and citations can be one of the most frustrating barriers students face in doing research, and Writing House will take the pain out of the process. Simply choose the format (MLA, APA, Chicago or Harvard) and enter some information about the source. Writing House searches the OCLC WorldCat for sources that match. Select the source and add it to your bibliography. When you're finished, simply download the completed bibliography. The interface is clean and uncomplicated. There is no need for an account or login. Several brief articles cover the basics of citations and bibliographies. A word counter function is also available for those using a word processor that doesn't do that automatically.

tag(s): citations (34)

In the Classroom

You may want to introduce this resource after teaching students how to do citations "manually," as Writing House really does all the work for them. Once you have shared it in class, add a link to your teacher webpage for students who are working on research from home. Writing House will be particularly useful for students who really struggle with organization and detail. They need to have only the author's name or the book title to access a complete citation. You will also find it useful for your own grad classes!

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ShareDrop - Cowbell Labs

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Frustrated when trying to transfer files from one device to another? This resource is a free service that easily transfers files between devices without creating any kind of account....more
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Frustrated when trying to transfer files from one device to another? This resource is a free service that easily transfers files between devices without creating any kind of account. Use this resource in Opera, Chrome, or Firefox (not Safari or Internet Explorer!). It will work on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Please note: both devices must be connected to the same wireless network. Simply drag files into ShareDrop on one device and then open it on the other. For users familiar with AirDrop on Apple products, this tool looks and works similarly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199)

In the Classroom

This would be a good tool to use in a computer lab or with laptop carts, iPads, or Chromebooks where students don't have email addresses or Google Accounts for sharing work with their teachers or each other. Students and teachers simply go to the ShareDrop site. When students are ready to share their work with their teachers, they can drag it into the ShareDrop page on their laptops, desktops, or tablets. For those interested in security, files are not actually uploaded to a server. Instead, ShareDrop is a peer to peer connection. Teachers can "push out" files to students quickly and easily using this tool. During curriculum development and other professional development activities, members of a specific department (or even school-wide) can share resources and documents easily to each other. This is a MUST in 1:1 and BYOD classrooms! Student groups working on projects in class can gather and share files easily.

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Website Evaluator - ResearchReady.com

Grades
5 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
The Website Evaluator takes you step-by-step through the process of evaluating any website. The site also creates a final report based on your input. Begin by adding the URL of ...more
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The Website Evaluator takes you step-by-step through the process of evaluating any website. The site also creates a final report based on your input. Begin by adding the URL of any website and clicking "Go." A sidebar set of questions appears alongside the site to guide you as you go. Questions consider purpose, accuracy, authority of the author and publisher, relevancy, and how recent the information is. Once finished, view responses and print or email them.

tag(s): evaluating sources (13), internet safety (109)

In the Classroom

Use the Website Evaluator as an integral part of your Internet safety, information literacy/research, or website evaluation lessons in any subject where you require online research. Demonstrate how to use the Evaluator on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to evaluate sites on their own. Share and compare printed evaluations on a classroom bulletin board or your class website (or wiki). Have students use the Evaluator to compare and contrast different websites to find the one that is the best fit for a particular need. Require that students include a site evaluation for any online source they use as part of a research project.

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Hashify - David Chambers

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Hashify is a simple tool to create web pages with no HTML experience.... and more. Think of it as the plainest of plain vanilla online writing spaces. Type everything in ...more
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Hashify is a simple tool to create web pages with no HTML experience.... and more. Think of it as the plainest of plain vanilla online writing spaces. Type everything in the left side of the tool and it is automatically formatted on the right side. The tools on the left toolbar tool add formatting: headers, bold, bulleted lists, etc. This tool offers options in between plain text writing and the formatting you would expect in Microsoft Word. It's also supported in many different web applications, including Tumblr and some Wikis. It is a great way to organize notes, to-do lists, or other items. It has all the advantages of plain text writing, but acts like a word processor. Use this tool as a minimalist writing system to jot down your thoughts without worrying too much about the appearance. Export the finished result with formatting added. Click Save. Share above the left typing area to obtain the url to the page you have created. Others can add their own ideas, too! No membership is required.

In the Classroom

Use this minimalist tool for a student scribe to keep track of key terms during a class discussion. Share the url with classmates for them to add their thoughts, as well. When brainstorming with a class, use this simple tool for students to add ideas or make lists. It is so simple it does not take up space with lots of fancy toolbars and gadgets. It also does not offer spell checker, so it could be a useful way to have students write without all the "crutches" of grammar and spell checkers.

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Remind - Remind 101

Grades
K to 12
12 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Remind is a safe and easy way to send reminders to students and parents via text message or email. When sending a text, the site is set up so that ...more
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Remind is a safe and easy way to send reminders to students and parents via text message or email. When sending a text, the site is set up so that students & parents do not see the teachers' phone numbers nor do the teachers see the students' phone numbers. Create an account. Any phone that can receive text messages will receive these. Communication through this site is safe and secure. You only see the names of your students, not their phone number, and they only see your name -- not your cell phone number. Be sure to obtain parental permission FIRST, as standard messaging rates apply.

tag(s): chat (51), DAT device agnostic tool (199), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Set up accounts for all your classes, and even your extracurricular activities, to send homework, project, and supply reminders. Remind students of upcoming events, practices, or things they need to bring to class or practice. You could also use this to communicate with parents (allow them to sign up for text message updates at back to school night). Share this site the first week of school to save time throughout the entire year. Remind parents of big tests, report cards, field trips, deadlines, back to school night, sneaker days, conferences, and more. Set up a faculty reminder group within your school for emergency closures and more.

Comments

Love this site! I'm using it to send reminders to students about overdue library books and/or fines! Terri, VA, Grades: 9 - 12

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Brief.ly - Brief.ly

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or ...more
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Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or click the wrench for more options). Brief.ly will generate a unique URL. When opened, a Table of Contents page lists the sites included. When you open the bundle, each site appears and tabs appear along the top of the page that allow you to easily jump from one recommended site to the next. This site is very easy to use and helpful for all ages, as long as they can read. With your membership, you can edit the contents of your list later, without resending it or changing the single link.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Brief.ly is a lifesaver for every classroom, teacher, or school. Whenever you are sharing multiple sites at centers, during small or whole group presentations, or even sites gathered for a research projects, Brief.ly takes away frustration and saves time! Save different content areas, subjects, or study links in one simple click. Gather all grade level websites on your school webpage, and list all classes. Unclutter your own class webpage or blog with just a few links. Sending links to parents or colleagues could not be any easier! Collaboration within classes, groups, or home is a snap! Improve organization for yourself and your class. As students work on group projects, they can share their link list easily. Use a class account so students do not have to register, and you can watch what they are using for sources.

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Online Dictation - Amit Agarwal

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use the magic of speech recognition to create emails, dictate notes, or write an essay without ever touching your keyboard. Online Dictation only works in the Chrome browser. Click...more
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Use the magic of speech recognition to create emails, dictate notes, or write an essay without ever touching your keyboard. Online Dictation only works in the Chrome browser. Click "Start Dictation," and grant the site permission to connect to your computer's microphone. Begin talking, and watch your words appear on the screen. Dictation detects many different languages so is useful for many non-English speakers. When you finish speaking, export your text using links to Dropbox, Google Drive, your computer, or send as an email.

Since this tool has to connect back to its own servers to "translate" your spoken words to text, it may not have the sensitivity you expect. It is a good idea to test it first yourself before assigning students to use it. You might want to demonstrate how clearly you must speak to make it work.

tag(s): speech (92)

In the Classroom

Use Online Dictation to dictate homework assignments to post on your class webpage. Demonstrate proper note taking using Online Dictation. Leave this site up in your browser, and add notes throughout your lesson. Save notes to your computer to print and use for future reference. Share this site with students who have difficulty putting thoughts onto paper or students with delayed handwriting skills or processing delays. Let students dictate stories, poems, questions, etc. to print and use. Share Online Dictation with your school's ESL/ELL teacher as a resource for use with their students. Speech and language teachers can try this tool to encourage students to improve articulation. If they speak clearly, their words will "magically" appear in writing!
 

Comments

The concept is great but the execution is disappointing. The text response is slow and often captured only an occasional word or phrase. Most of what was returned in text was gibberish. This program is not suitable for student use. Dwight, , Grades: 3 - 7

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DropCanvas - Chris Newnham and Heath Axton

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
DropCanvas offers quick and easy file sharing. Simply drag and drop any file onto your "canvas" and it is ready to share. Share using the link for your canvas or ...more
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DropCanvas offers quick and easy file sharing. Simply drag and drop any file onto your "canvas" and it is ready to share. Share using the link for your canvas or send using email or social networking links. Privacy options allow adding a password for viewing and setting an expiration date for your canvas. Inactive canvases automatically expire in three days with no activity when using an anonymous account. Register (FREE) to increase storage and save canvases for up to 14 days with no activity. If you seek a place to KEEP files beyond 14 days, this is not the tool for you. Try Dropbox, reviewed here.
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In the Classroom

When assigning group projects to be done outside of class, suggest that students share work via DropCanvas. This eliminates the need to actually be in the same place at the same time, which can be difficult for students to arrange due to their schedules and their parents' schedules. Use this to have students share files with you. Students can send you any file up to 1GB (or 5GB with registration) with a few simple clicks. Use this as an extra file back-up when transporting files for a grad presentation or other important event. Easily share files and lesson plans with other teachers using DropCanvas.

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Free Teleprompter - Autocue

Grades
1 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This handy online tool makes any computer screen into a "teleprompter" (scrolling screen with the text YOU paste in). No membership or login is required. Just open the site and ...more
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This handy online tool makes any computer screen into a "teleprompter" (scrolling screen with the text YOU paste in). No membership or login is required. Just open the site and copy/paste in the text from a word doc (or type it in). Note: there is no way to SAVE it on the site. We recommend keeping your text ready to copy/paste and saved in another document. Set the font size and screen size to large or small. When you are ready to "speak," click the "start prompter" button. Use speed controls at the top of the screen to speed up or slow down your scrolling text. If you are fortunate enough to have a rear projection screen, the text can even be reversed by turning mirroring on. Other options allow for viewing white text on black or black text on a white background.

tag(s): fluency (23), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Make a sample dialog for students to recite as you project it in a foreign language or ESL/ELL class. Be sure to write in script format so they know who is speaking! Or share this tool with students who need help getting their nose out of their notes when giving speeches or recording videos. They can run it on a laptop only they can see and look out at the audience past the prompter. The comfort of having their text right there will ease many butterflies. Use this site to feed information used in group or individual presentations to the class. Set this up on another computer when recording video and audio recordings. Why use this tool? Information fed through the prompter can be read at a steady and consistent pace. Use this site with emergent readers to practice basic reading fluency. Make oral reading fluency practice more engaging by having students pretend they are newscasters. If you advise the school announcement crew, try this handy tool to make them sound and look more professional. Share this link on your class website for young readers to use to practice reading skills at home or for older students to use to practice building confidence in their speeches.
 

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Jumpshare - Ghaus Iftikhar

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Jumpshare is a tool for sharing and viewing files easily. Create an account with your name, email, and password to begin. Drag and drop files to share. Use the link ...more
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Jumpshare is a tool for sharing and viewing files easily. Create an account with your name, email, and password to begin. Drag and drop files to share. Use the link to browse and find files on your computer. Jumpshare supports 200 file types including images, videos, and documents. Once uploaded, use links to share documents via email or social networking options. Free accounts include storage of up to 2 GB and a limit of 100 MB on individual files.

In the Classroom

Eliminate file sharing challenges during projects with penpals or people from other schools anywhere in the world. Create a class account (or several) for students to upload completed class projects. Share this site with older students to use when collaborating on group projects. Collaborate easily on lesson plans with other teachers by uploading and sharing files from anywhere.

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Teachit Timer - teachit.co.uk

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
TeachIt Timer is an online alternative to the traditional countdown or stopwatch timer. This free online timer displays a countdown timer and a count-up timer at one time. The most...more
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TeachIt Timer is an online alternative to the traditional countdown or stopwatch timer. This free online timer displays a countdown timer and a count-up timer at one time. The most incredible feature is that it allows you to schedule a series of up to eight timed alarms. There are also eight choices of sounds from whistles to bells to barking. Launch the timer right from your screen or download it to your computer to have easy access.

tag(s): classroom management (135), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. At the beginning of the school year, display on your interactive whiteboard or projector to time or count down any classroom activity. That will get the students in the habit of checking how much time they have left. Project the time TeachIt Timer while students take a test, solve a drag and drop, practice speeches, rotate between learning centers, or join cooperative learning groups. Be sure to turn up the volume! When rotating between centers or taking turns in a cooperative learning group, schedule the time sequence to keep everyone on track.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Great timer resource to use with visual students. Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Google URL Shortener - Google

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool makes it easy to share a LONG URL with less characters. Copy the address for the site from the address bar. Paste it into the field of this ...more
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This tool makes it easy to share a LONG URL with less characters. Copy the address for the site from the address bar. Paste it into the field of this tool and click "shorten URL." Share this new address with others to easily share the web address. Sign in to your Google account to see how many times the URL is visited.

tag(s): blogs (88), wikis (19)

In the Classroom

Use this whenever long links to sites need to be shared. Share on any printed material, wiki, blog, or site. This shorter address is much easier for students to type into their own computers/BYODs, if the sites aren't already provided on your class website, blog, or wiki. Share this handy resource with parents to use to shorten URLs at home.

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Tube Offline - TubeOffline.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
If you cannot access YouTube and video sites because of filters, Tube Offline may be the perfect solution for your needs! Maybe you simply want an offline copy of a ...more
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If you cannot access YouTube and video sites because of filters, Tube Offline may be the perfect solution for your needs! Maybe you simply want an offline copy of a video to use when you do not have Internet access. Download videos from YouTube and other video services directly to your computer using Tube Offline. Copy and paste the URL, then click "Get Video." Once the preview is loaded, click "Generate" to download the file. Other options include social media sharing links, a direct link, and embed code. Tube Offline uses Java to generate videos for saving, so be sure to read instructions for using with your browser and operating system. Some Mac users may have to enable Java.

tag(s): video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this service to backup videos from your YouTube channel or to download any YouTube video. Use to download and save videos at home that you wish to show to students, especially if YouTube is blocked at school.

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