TeachersFirst's BYOD Dream Tools: Free Tools that Work on ANY device!

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This collection of reviewed tools from TeachersFirst includes apps that are available for FREE on iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, and web devices. Ideal for BYOD classrooms or 1:1 computer/tablet programs, these reviewed tools allow users to create and access projects using the same app, no matter what kind of device they have.

This collection includes only "DATs" (device agnostic tools) that are FREE on all devices and offer free access with sufficient features to be useful without upgrading to a paid account. Whether you call it an "app" or a "web tool," a DAT allows you to access your projects from almost any device. 

Be sure to read the "Edge Features" list at the end of each review to know whether you need to create individual accounts, how products can be shared,  and other tips on using these DATs safely and within school policies.

Even the best DAT has slight differences in capabilities on different devices. Encourage your students to share what they discover about additional or missing features on each type of device. your class will quickly appoint tool experts for each app! 

TeachersFirst encourages our members (membership is FREE) to add comments and ratings to help other teachers and students trying these tools. Apps change quickly, so we welcome your comments on any changes that may occur to these tools and their free status.

(image credit: Jeremy Keith)

 

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Basecamp - Jason Fried

Grades
7 to 12
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Basecamp is an online tool for organizing and managing collaborative projects. This site includes many features such as file storage, progress tracking, and to-do lists. Create your...more
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Basecamp is an online tool for organizing and managing collaborative projects. This site includes many features such as file storage, progress tracking, and to-do lists. Create your class account, paying special attention to the directions to make it a FREE teacher account. Then add projects to work on. Invite others to join your Basecamp. Begin adding files, to-do lists, documents, and whatever else you wish to share. As others accept your invitation to your Basecamp, they have access to all files and can add, share, and comment as needed. Regular accounts for non-teachers are not free. Click on Support to view FAQ and Help Guides to learn about the many features included with a Basecamp account.
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tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), organizational skills (93)

In the Classroom

Use your teacher/class account with students as a tool for organizing and collaborating on group projects. As the account owner, you will be able to see what each group is doing. Set up projects for each small group working on a project. Demonstrate the different tools and functions on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use Basecamp to help students remain on track with project deadlines. Keep track of projects with your students by having mini-conferences and using Basecamp as your guide. Use this tool to collaborate with colleagues for use with professional projects such as unit planning and long term scheduling. You may also want to use it with your grad school group projects.

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ClassMind - ClassMind

Grades
7 to 12
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Receive instant feedback from an audience or class using any mobile device or web browser and this response tool. Features include automatic grading (even open-ended questions) and...more
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Receive instant feedback from an audience or class using any mobile device or web browser and this response tool. Features include automatic grading (even open-ended questions) and taking attendance. The keyword function helps with live discussions or for easy grading. Search what others have created and reuse their content. ClassMind supports several world languages. Questions can be multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, or open-ended. Click on the arrow next to your name to find a guide for using the tool. Click "How can we help?" at the bottom right to address a specific problem.
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tag(s): assessment (63), classroom management (78), DAT device agnostic tool (69), polls and surveys (39)

In the Classroom

Sign up for an account and create courses and sections. Create questions for students to answer. To register students, use an interactive whiteboard (or projector) to walk students through the sign up information (email address, select their role [student], agree to the terms) and select your course and section. Use this tool, to survey students about their thoughts about issues they may not feel comfortable answering out loud. Create and save "ready to go" quick quizzes on any topic. Start class with quick questions to pre-assess what students know. Give the questions again at the end of the class (or the beginning of the next one) to see what students learned and what you need to re-teach. ClassMind gives analytics for how a student is performing and improving. Know which students or if the entire class needs a review. When students are preparing for speeches or presentations, suggest they use this tool to hold their audience's interest. There is a section where teachers can give students permission to create questions, quizzes, and surveys.

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Slack - Slack Technologies, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create your own channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images,...more
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Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create your own channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images, and more for sharing. Drag and drop files work with Google Docs, Dropbox, Twitter, and more making it easy to share across several different platforms. Easily search Slack archives to find discussions, documents, and more.
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tag(s): chat (38), DAT device agnostic tool (69), microblogging (37), organizational skills (93), social networking (103)

In the Classroom

Share this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing workflow, and more. Take the time during the first week of school or as group projects approach to model how to plan and manage group process using such a tool. Use this tool with school clubs, as well. Manage professional discussions by creating channels for different departmental or grade level teams.

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My Live Chat - mylivechat

Grades
K to 12
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Create a polished, professional live chat on your blog or class site with this FREE tool. Create a "How Can I Help You?" message to pop-up as parents and students ...more
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Create a polished, professional live chat on your blog or class site with this FREE tool. Create a "How Can I Help You?" message to pop-up as parents and students visit the page. When in an active chat, visitors receive a pop-up asking if they wish to join the chat. This tool runs on every platform and mobile device. Be sure to check out the demo tab to understand how to use the tool in your website. Add the HTML code into your site to add the chat box and features. Use this tool to analyze site traffic so you can identify what is most used by students and parents.
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tag(s): chat (38), DAT device agnostic tool (69)

In the Classroom

Create a chat message pop-up for the most frequently asked questions students and parents have about finding items on your classroom site. Offer a set time for office hours published well in advance for parents and students to drop in and ask questions about assignments, homework help, or any other questions that they may have. Set up a chat time early in the school year for "meet and greet" so parents discover your website or for those who are unable to attend back to school night! Cut down on email! Encourage students to identify the questions they (or their parents) have the most as you develop the scope for your chat. ESL/ELL teachers can use the chat to provide extra written language practice for their students in an engaging way! Use the chat with your colleagues in a Teacher Lounge format to help each other in the appropriate use of technology, content sharing, or professional development.

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ClassFlow - beta - Promethean

Grades
3 to 12
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ClassFlow is more than a lesson builder, more than a presentation tool, more than an assessment tool; it is all of these and more! Access everything in one place: create, ...more
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ClassFlow is more than a lesson builder, more than a presentation tool, more than an assessment tool; it is all of these and more! Access everything in one place: create, present, and share lessons; connect, poll, and assess students with devices they use every day. After registering, you will receive a welcome email with several "getting started" links. The lesson developer is a very powerful tool, with options for embedding, linking, or adding images and shapes. There are also annotating/highlighting tools, and more. Demonstration videos hosted on YouTube show how to have students sign up via a web browser. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (63), classroom management (78), DAT device agnostic tool (69)

In the Classroom

Any teacher can take advantage of ClassFlow. It is a good idea to view the YouTube video for creating a lesson on ClassFlow. Become familiar with this program, and have students present projects using ClassFlow. Since ClassFlow is an interactive and collaborative program, have literature circles complete write ups, discussions, and final presentations about the book they read using ClassFlow. Lab partners can present their findings, and math students can demonstrate how they solved a problem.

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Toggl - Toggl

Grades
K to 12
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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,...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.
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tag(s): classroom management (78), DAT device agnostic tool (69), organizational skills (93), time (131)

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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Smarty Pins - Google

Grades
6 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The ...more
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The game gets you started in the right general location, but you have to drop a pin in the right spot to answer the question. Your score depends upon how close you are. Starting with 1000 points, you lose a point for every cumulative mile you are away from the target(s). The questions come from broad categories like science, history, current events and entertainment, and it's possible to narrow your questions to just one of the categories.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), map skills (72), maps (236), trivia (15)

In the Classroom

Smarty Pins would be great as a reward for students who finish work promptly, for advanced students who have completed an assignment before other students, or as a way to focus student attention quickly at the beginning of class. It can be used collaboratively from an interactive white board, or it launches from both the Android and the iOS Google map app or from a desktop. Challenge your students to design their own geography quizzes using Mapskip, reviewed here, adding their own "stories" with questions.

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HelloSign - Joseph Walla

Grades
K to 12
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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...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.
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tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), organizational skills (93)

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
5 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 (69), digital storytelling (84), video (177)

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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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 (69)

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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Tapestry - readtapestry.com

Grades
K to 12
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Tapestry is a new way of storytelling across any device. Create and view beautiful "tappable" stories -- slideshows telling a simple story where readers tap to move forward. Explore...more
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Tapestry is a new way of storytelling across any device. Create and view beautiful "tappable" stories -- slideshows telling a simple story where readers tap to move forward. Explore Tapestries created by others sorted into categories such as popular, fashion, inspiration and more. To make your own Tapestry, click "Write a Tapestry" to view options. Options in the original editor include adding images, text formatting and color options, including a share button to send your Tapestry to others via social networking and email. Additional formats include resources for creating animated gif's and short stories. You do need an account to make your own Tapestry. There are free app versions for iOS and Android.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), slides (55)

In the Classroom

Tapestry is perfect for use when creating and sharing short stories or poems. Use Tapestry to create quick slideshows for any classroom use. Set up a whole class account so students do not need individual logins. Easily share slides with information or (online) images on your website or blog to remind students about a project or assignment. Have students create presentations to "introduce" themselves to the class during the first week of school. Create a slide show to introduce any unit and have students guess what they will be learning. Create a Tapestry easily "on the fly" as a review resource to embed on your class website or blog. This site is perfect for your BYOD (bring your own device) classroom, since it is a "DAT." Make quick "cue cards" for students to read their lines off a projector, interactive whiteboard, or tablet for a video or school news broadcast! Paste your school or class announcements into slides and embed them on the class or school website.

Use this simple tool for students to make book promos for the library/media center. Display them on tablets or iTouches! Even the youngest gifted students can create simple presentations to go beyond regular curriculum in your class. Be sure to show young ones how to copy/paste the url for their finished work to send it to you or mark it in Favorites on the classroom computer or iPad. Have them make slide shows telling a story, explaining about a famous person, and more. During a unit on plants, have students create a guide to plant care or a show about the world's strangest plants. Have them write and illustrate slides as book reviews for independent reading they have done. This tool is simple enough for any student who can read.

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Comics Head - Next Wave Multimedia

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create one frame cartoons or entire comic books -- easily! Start by uploading a funny picture and create a comic from that. You can create your comics anywhere from any ...more
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Create one frame cartoons or entire comic books -- easily! Start by uploading a funny picture and create a comic from that. You can create your comics anywhere from any device and access them from the same device or any other. The drag and drop interface ensures ease of creation. Choose from a variety of options for characters, layout options, backgrounds, props, captions, and special effects. Choose options to use and drag and drop them onto the comic page. Simply undo or delete objects, move objects backward, forward, add text captions, and zoom in and out of the page. Register with the site (email required) to save, share, and print out creations. You can create a single page comic or full book length comics. You can download as a pdf or even share as an ebook! Some of the instruction videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube. Mobile apps are available, including "lite" (free) versions.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73), DAT device agnostic tool (69), digital storytelling (84)

In the Classroom

In classes with younger students, use a whole class account under teacher control. In a BYOD classroom, let students set up their own accounts and use the app versions. When studying characterization, create a dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Use the dialog box (bubbles) to explain the sequence of a story, a science concept, or school news! Create a political cartoon. Why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Emotional support and autistic support teachers can work with students to create strips about appropriate interpersonal responses and/or feelings. Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or create pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments. Let your creative (or gifted) students take the comics even further by making them into entire books!

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Booktrack Classroom - Peter Thiel

Grades
1 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music...more
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Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music to the stories and books you love. There are thousands of titles already available, both classic and contemporary; these include novels, poetry, and short stories that are in the public domain. Find them by clicking "Free to Use" and scrolling down a bit. All of this is free on a computer, or with free iOS and Android apps. There are several ready-to-go lessons at elementary, middle, and high school levels. When using on a computer, BookTrack works best in Chrome and may not function at all in some browsers. Watch the short tutorials to learn how to create a book with a soundtrack.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), ebooks (33), guided reading (37), independent reading (96), reading comprehension (83)

In the Classroom

Click "Teachers" and scroll to the bottom of the home page to find free lessons. Work together with your music teacher to find classical music selections that make great background music. Have students choose a story and create a "read aloud" with music and sound effects. Challenge students to capture the feel or tone of current events articles, science articles, or poems they have created. Use music and sound effects to enhance historical events or battles in social science. At the end of literature circles, have students select the best events in a story and put music and sound effects together with them. Watch the short tutorials to create your class and to create a book with a soundtrack. FanFiction users may want to put sound effects or music to their own writing. In the library/media center, share BookTracks to interest students in some of your "old" books!

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Smithsonian Science Education Center Games - Smithsonian Science Education Center

Grades
K to 2
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Enjoy science activities correlated to Common Core and National Science Standards at this site from the Smithsonian Science Center. The initial game offering, Shutterbugs: Wiggle and...more
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Enjoy science activities correlated to Common Core and National Science Standards at this site from the Smithsonian Science Center. The initial game offering, Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp, offers the opportunity to describe movement and motion while visiting exotic animals from the zoo. Game difficulty levels scale up or down based on your response and adults receive printable reports of mastered words. Coming soon is a Memory Match game. These games are device agnostic. Click on the actual game and scroll to the bottom of the page for links to download free app versions from the Google Play or Apple stores.

tag(s): animals (218), DAT device agnostic tool (69), habitats (70), motion (51), preK (227)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the "About Our Games" portion of the site for game features and information. This site is excellent for use as a classroom center or on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to share the link with parents on your classroom newsletter or website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The State Hermitage Museum - State Hermitage Museum

Grades
6 to 12
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Take a virtual field trip to one of the oldest and largest museums in the world without leaving your classroom! The Hermitage Museum located in St Petersburg, Russia offers virtual...more
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Take a virtual field trip to one of the oldest and largest museums in the world without leaving your classroom! The Hermitage Museum located in St Petersburg, Russia offers virtual visits, viewings, and academies through their extensive website. Virtual Tours offer descriptions and panoramic views of all rooms in the museum. Choose the Virtual Viewing link to exhibits, art collections, and themed exhibitions exploring different people and eras in Russian history. Be sure to check out the Children and Education link for many offerings in the virtual academy exploring topics such as medals and the Winter Palace. App versions are available.

tag(s): artists (57), DAT device agnostic tool (69), medieval (25), museums (36), religions (49), russia (28), virtual field trips (37)

In the Classroom

View exhibits and information together with your class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore the site on their own. Have students create a timeline of artworks and more using Xtimeline (reviewed here). Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi (reviewed here). Have students create a word cloud of the important terms (or people) they learn about the Hermitage using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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JogNog - JogNog

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
JogNog offers some free online learning games aligned to Common Core Standards. Easily find games for 2nd grade up to college level by topic or type. Search relevant keywords to ...more
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JogNog offers some free online learning games aligned to Common Core Standards. Easily find games for 2nd grade up to college level by topic or type. Search relevant keywords to find games. Hover over search results to view a short description of each quiz along with the number of levels and questions included. Create a class and share any quiz with a quick click to create a class code and url link to selected quizzes. The first level of every Quiz is always free. Every review quiz is free. Grade Books and Questions Report provide feedback on class participation and correct responses. Choose the design link to create your own personalized quizzes using your own content or from questions already on the site. Play JogNog on personal computers or any mobile device by downloading the corresponding app. Creating quizzes is FREE at all times. The free trial (offers additional materials) is good for only 14 days.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), quizzes (75), test prep (83)

In the Classroom

Make use of this trial just before standardized test time to get the most out of your free JogNog account. Create a free teacher account then choose quizzes for student review of any topics. Create any number of quizzes and share with students for use on any mobile device. Share JogNog with parents to create an account for their student.

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Diigo - Education - Diigo, Inc. 2010

Grades
1 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation...more
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This interactive social bookmarking and collaboration tool does so much more than any ordinary bookmarking tool. It is a research tool, knowledge-sharing community, website annotation tool, and social information network all rolled into one "cloud" package. To get started, check out the About link. You will find information and videos on the uses of Diigo. Set up an account, being sure to click the FREE education edition upgrade. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

This tool can be used as a basic bookmarking tool, simply allowing YOU to save, sort, and access your own bookmarks from ANY computer or mobile device (once you are logged in). You have the choice whether your bookmarks are public or private. You can gradually ease into more advanced and interactive features: highlight parts of sites and save or share those annotations, add sticky notes to parts of websites, pictures, screen-shots, documents, audio, and more. Do group collaborative research. Organize your bookmarks by tags. Unlike sorting bookmarks into file folders, adding tags permits you to put multiple tags or "labels" on one site. The same site you tag for book reports could also be tagged for biographies, for example. Aditional Diigo features include groups (a way to share and exchange bookmarks with a certain group of Diigo users), messaging, and search features. You can search all the public bookmarks made by others and discover other people with similar interests, already bookmarked and ready for you to mark as your own. There are many groups you can join, such as those with a specific teaching interest or hobby. See "Tools" for many helpful options, including bookmarklets to make bookmarking instant on multiple devices. Bookmarklets drag directly to the toolbars on your computer and are well worth it. It goes beyond simple bookmarking and adds options like highlight, capture, send, read later, comment, search bar and Diigo message options. You decide your own level of use and desired tools to be shown on the bar. If choosing not to install the toolbar, then there is an applet called Diigolet that will be used in its place. It is not as strong a tool as the toolbar, but will work well if the toolbar installation is not possible. Check our sample group. You can also install a widget on your blog (or class web page) that will show your bookmarks there.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), DAT device agnostic tool (69), forum (17), social networking (103)

In the Classroom

Teachers even in very early grades can use Diigo simply to share links with students and parents. To get more ideas on the potential education uses of this site, see this SlideShare powerpoint here. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Assign students a research topic and allow them to use Diigo collaboratively to collect and share resources. Share teacher-selected options (complete with comments or directions) easily using Diigo. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use Diigo to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article for your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a sticky note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as a homework assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can organize many assignments using Diigo. Use this site to help all of your students stay organized. Share this resource with your (not so organized) gifted students to help them manage projects and not "lose" the information they "found somewhere." Post assignments, readings, online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit responses by adding a comment. Of course others will see what they said, so you may not want the comments to be the only thing they do! If you assign gifted students to do projects beyond the regular curriculum, consider having them curate and annotate a collection of resources on a higher level topic. For example, extend your study of World War II by having them collect web-based primary sources showing the propaganda leading up to the war, political cartoons during the war, and advertisements from the time. Have them annotate the collection explaining each artifact and how it reflects the sentiments and biases of certain groups. That same collection could provide other students a class opportunity to interact with "objects" from the time. If you have contact with other teachers of gifted students, they could collaborate across different schools or classrooms.

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Draw It Live - Luis Montes

Grades
K to 12
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Draw It Live is a LIVE online whiteboard collaboration and sharing tool. There is no membership required. Simply click on the screenshot of the words "Collaborative Whiteboard" to create...more
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Draw It Live is a LIVE online whiteboard collaboration and sharing tool. There is no membership required. Simply click on the screenshot of the words "Collaborative Whiteboard" to create your whiteboard and add a username. Copy the link provided for the whiteboard or enter emails of those you wish to invite. Use the chat area on the left of the screen to discuss your whiteboard with other users as you all draw in real time. Tools provided include text boxes, shapes, colors, and more. Use the Clear the Drawing option to start over without having to go to a new whiteboard link. (Remember to SAVE your whiteboard link as a Favorite or email it to yourself so you don't lose it! You can return later to add more!) Note: this tool works great on tablets using the web browser! No special app needed.

tag(s): colors (70), DAT device agnostic tool (69), drawing (69), iwb (31), painting (59)

In the Classroom

Allow students to create collaborative drawings as responses to literature. They can map out the plot or themes, add labels, create character studies, and more. Share the finished products on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or your class website. Have a group of students create a drawing, that another group can use that as a writing prompt. Use a Draw It Live board as a brainstorming or sketching space as groups or the class share ideas for a major project or to solve a real world problem. Use this site with students in a computer lab (or on laptops) to create a drawing of the setting in a story as it is being read aloud. As a creative assessment idea, have students draw out a simple cartoon with stick figures to explain a more complex process such as how a democracy works. If you are lucky enough to teach in a BYOD setting, use Draw It Live to demonstrate and illustrate any concept while students use the chat and drawing tools to interact in real time. If you are studying weather, have students diagram the layers of the atmosphere and what happens during a thunderstorm, for example. Introduce this tool to students who are working on group projects. Or have students use this to work as partners or as a small team to complete complex math problems or equations. Give students a problem by typing it on their board. Then have them work through it together, noting all of their reasoning and steps of work along the way. Have them "turn in" their work by url, or post the url on the class wiki to compare with others. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. This would be a great tool for gifted students (or any students) to collaborate with others outside of their own class, even from other schools. It is simple enough for ANY student to figure out and get started without a membership.

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Readability - Arc90

Grades
K to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This simple but powerful tool allows you to view ANY web page as simple, clear text. It removes all of the flashing, moving, distracting elements that interrupt concentration and understanding....more
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This simple but powerful tool allows you to view ANY web page as simple, clear text. It removes all of the flashing, moving, distracting elements that interrupt concentration and understanding. Visit the Apps and Add-ons page before making an account. Readability will recognize most browsers to download a Readability add-on or extension for your browser so you can "clean up" the pages you're viewing with a single click. You can also install a "bookmarklet," a simple mini-program that runs inside Internet Explorer, Firefox, or other web browsing software on your computer. "Installing" is then as simple as dragging the Readability button to the Favorites bar of your browser, a one-click button to scrub webpages clean of distractions. No Favorites or links bar to which to drag? Go to the View menu on your browser and click to turn on your Favorites or links bar. Once you have the Readability button, go to ANY web page and click "Readability" to see the page magically change to simple text passages, ready for your interactive whiteboard, easier for your young readers, or enlarged for tired eyes. Share your Readability links through email or Flipboard. There are also Readability Twitter clients as well as many other features offered on the Apps and Add-ons page of the Readability site. Note: Pages with content created in FLASH will not work in Readability, since FLASH text is actually an image to a computer. Test it first before planning to use it in class. Readability delivers a great reading experience on every platform and provides an avenue for connecting readers and publishers on the Web. iOS and Android apps for Readability are available to use on mobile devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), media literacy (43), reading comprehension (83)

In the Classroom

Install Readability at the beginning of the year on any computer you use with interactive whiteboards so students can highlight key words from any web page and practice notetaking, main idea, summarizing or other comprehension skills to improve web literacy and overall reading skills. If your school computers are locked down, show it to tech staff and special ed/reading department chairs to convince them it is worth installing! Use Readability as you project any advertising-laden site or to help attention-deficit students stay focused on the words. Resource and ESL/ELL teachers will appreciate the ability to focus on the words without other distractions, allowing you to determine how much students are actually reading words vs. using images as context clues. Use this site to help your unfocused gifted students pay better attention! Try turning Readability on and off to show students how they can use images to help in comprehension once they find some meaning from the words on a page. All readers would benefit from stopping to compare how they construct meaning from words and text. Advanced art and design or media literacy students will enjoy examining the advertising techniques on a web page by stripping them away, then turning them back on. This tool also provides a clean way to make printable versions of web page text, even adjusting text size to your preferred option. Please consider the trees before getting carried away, though!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kaywa QR Code Generator - Kaywa AG

Grades
5 to 12
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Turn any URL into a fully functioning QR code using the Kaywa QR Code Generator. Create your free account using your email, Facebook, or Google login. Copy any URL into ...more
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Turn any URL into a fully functioning QR code using the Kaywa QR Code Generator. Create your free account using your email, Facebook, or Google login. Copy any URL into the generator to create dynamic or static QR codes. Free accounts include storage of five dynamic codes or unlimited static codes. Be sure to watch Kaywa's informational video for explanations. Another interesting option includes a QR generator for contact information. Add a photo as well as your address, email, and other information to create your personal QR code for sharing. When complete, download your QR code, share using the url created, or embed into your blog or website.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (69), qr codes (22)

In the Classroom

Make a classroom poster with a QR code that directs to your class site or blog. Have students download a free QR code reader and scan the QR code to instantly open your web page. Be sure to have a flyer or business card ready with the information and the QR code for those who do not have "QR capable" phones at school, in case their parents have them at home. To learn more about QR codes and how to use them in the classroom, you might want to visit QR Codes and Ideas for Using Them in the Classroom reviewed here. Make an interactive "This Day in History" calendar by placing QR codes on certain dates. Put QR codes in text books or on worksheets to link students to videos that help them better understand events or people in history, concepts in science, or how to solve a problem in math.

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