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

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This collection of reviewed resources and tools from TeachersFirst includes web tools and apps that are available for FREE on iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, and web devices. Come here to find tools that your students can use as they do instructional activities in your BYOD or 1-1 classroom. In this collection, you will find tools and resources that include calculators, quiz creators, game makers, curation tools, interactive lessons, Venn-diagram creators, literacy accessibility tools, online time trackers, meme creators, podcast makers, translator tools, task list creators, and many other free tools that will work on any device. 

Even the best device-agnostic resources have 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 experts for each resource or tool. TeachersFirst encourages our members (membership is FREE) to add comments and ratings to help other teachers and students who are trying these tools. Free resources and tools 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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Google Keep - Google, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use Google Keep to save notes directly to your Google Drive account. This tool requires that you have a Google account. Unlike some similar services, such as Evernote,...more
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Use Google Keep to save notes directly to your Google Drive account. This tool requires that you have a Google account. Unlike some similar services, such as Evernote, reviewed here, notes kept in Google Keep are saved to your Google Drive account. Use Google Keep for notes, voice notes, lists, and photos. Access these on any web enabled mobile device. Keep works best with Chrome browsers (there is an extension for Chrome, also) and Android phones, but our editors had no issues using other browsers as well. Google Keep can also be also used with any school's Google Apps account. Keep is colorful, which is part of the design. Be sure to use the colors as an organizational tool. Keep has a low learning curve and is very simple to use. The quick note feature is invaluable: just type your notes in the text box without logging in or switching screens. To leave a voice note, tap the microphone icon and speak. Archive items easily when you are done. Though Keep is a more generic, basic tool, its value is in its simplicity and ease of use.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), note taking (33), organizational skills (90)

In the Classroom

Take pictures of things to do, buy, or finish. Create checklists of steps in a project. Place all of your notes in one place so you do not forget. 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. They could "keep" assignment information, reminders, and more. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed and not allowed -- and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information to be shared by all. Create separate accounts for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Keep to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, by absentees, etc.

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
18 Favorites 2  Comments
Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Click Products on the top menu and slide down to browse content in subject areas (social studies, ...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Click Products on the top menu and slide down to browse content in subject areas (social studies, science, etc.). Stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. All articles have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension, customizable assignments, writing prompts and annotations. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress and students to take constructed response writing assessments; however, many other features are free and there is no outside advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), differentiation (65), guided reading (35), independent reading (104), news (233), reading comprehension (130), remote learning (47)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. If you and your students are teaching and learning remotely, or you have a blended classroom, Newsela will work perfectly for those! Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each student's individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ENL//ESL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet nonfiction/current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing this information. Please keep sharing content like this. Cassandra, IL, Grades: 0 - 12
This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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Google Docs/Drive Templates - Google Docs/Drive

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Find hundreds of templates and documents -- for all sorts of needs, not just education -- ready to use at Google Docs (now known as Drive). The best part, the ...more
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Find hundreds of templates and documents -- for all sorts of needs, not just education -- ready to use at Google Docs (now known as Drive). The best part, the documents are available from any computer with Internet access. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Important note: To OPEN this link and see the templates, you must have a Google Drive account and be logged in! Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. No need to create a new document. Simply search for the template you need and modify it to your specifications. Choose from many categories including resumes, presentations, calendars, budgets, and more. Once you find a document to use, preview to view the full document. Viewed documents will then be available under a link called "Templates I've Used." You can also "save a copy" to change it at will. This makes them easy to find in the future. Upload your own documents for use anywhere and anytime.

tag(s): classroom management (138), DAT device agnostic tool (135), organizational skills (90), rubrics (30), spreadsheets (22)

In the Classroom

Find specialized templates for teachers and students by clicking that category in the left sidebar. You can find templates for all sorts of "real world" tasks in the broader collection, including authentic writing tasks such as press releases, project proposals, and resumes. Upload commonly used classroom documents and share with students to retrieve at home. Search for templates for outlines, rubrics for reports, or guidelines for classroom projects. Share this site with students to use for their own projects. 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.

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Math Nation - Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Math Nation is an intensive, interactive Algebra site. Although specifically created for Florida students, material is applicable for any Algebra students. This program was originally...more
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Math Nation is an intensive, interactive Algebra site. Although specifically created for Florida students, material is applicable for any Algebra students. This program was originally created for students to use at home after school and on weekends. Interesting fact: you access all materials through a Facebook account! Enter Math Nation through the link provided to connect with a Facebook account. If you are not associated with a Florida High School, type "other" when prompted to enter a school name. Once logged in, choose any topic from the large list of videos explaining and breaking down featured problems. Use the study guides to follow along and practice independently. Choose the Teacher Resources link and register to access the section created for teachers. This includes videos and other classroom resources. If your school does not allow students to access individual Facebook accounts, why not create a class account under your name (or class number). All students can use the same login information for Facebook.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), equations (120), exponents (35), factoring (25), fractions (164), order of operations (28), polynomials (21), venn diagrams (14)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students and demonstrate how to enter and access Math Nation using their Florida High School name or entering "other." Share this resource with parents as an excellent tool for review and study of Algebra topics. Create a teacher account and share videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as an additional learning tool to use along with current classroom materials. Provide this link for students to use at home to hone their algebra skills.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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IFTTT - IFTTT

Grades
9 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
IFTTT is a service that connects and consolidates social media tools. With this service, you can browse "recipes" for having social tools interact with each other. Some examples are:...more
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IFTTT is a service that connects and consolidates social media tools. With this service, you can browse "recipes" for having social tools interact with each other. Some examples are: text the morning weather, send free nook books from Barnes and Noble to your Gmail account, send the iTunes app of the week to your email, or download videos you like to your Dropbox. Create your own recipes to help you make life easier by having one social media communicate with another.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), organizational skills (90), social media (46)

In the Classroom

IFTTT can make recipes for students and teachers alike. Teachers can drop photos into Dropbox and automatically send them to a place they have chosen. This will help save time with classroom photos, field trips, and other events. Be reminded of birthdays for students and friends. Send amazing professional website bookmarks to your Gmail. Older students can receive emails or text messages about classes, tests, quizzes. Students can receive immediate feedback when they turn in assignments. Add tweeting to students' own personal learning networks. Have technology classes find unique and creative ways to create recipes to save time and improve productivity. What kind of recipes can you create? Hold an IFTTT "potluck" where you and your savvy colleagues (and students) swap "recipes" to save time and effort. Invite more savvy students to share a recipe a week with fellow students. The better-organized ones can perhaps teach others how to become more organized!

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Mail Chimp - Ben Chestnut

Grades
K to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
MailChimp lets you create email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. MailChimp handles all of this with lists....more
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MailChimp lets you create email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. MailChimp handles all of this with lists. You can subscribe, edit, and remove yourself from lists as you please. Send your newsletter immediately or schedule delivery for the future. Test the email using the popup window to send to your own email address. Create your own template or choose from one of the many pre-designed templates available on the site. Content is rendered for easy use on mobile devices for viewing and through the app for creating and sending content. The site offers a long list of free features for use if you have under 2,000 subscribers and you can send up to 12,000 emails a month - at no charge! Free features include templates, auto translate into other languages, group creation, Facebook and social media integration, and much more. Import recipient information from your online address book or an Excel spreadsheet. Choose to send your emails to your entire list, or a specific segment of your list. Your newsletters can include images and text, and can be personalized by merging "subscriber" information into the body of your message.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communities (30), DAT device agnostic tool (135), journalism (68), newspapers (89), writing (286)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for schools and classrooms to manage newsletters. Your class can generate a monthly newsletter or create newspapers from a period in time and share them with parents, school principals, and the school community. Share this site with the person responsible for creating and sharing content at your school. Send a nice end of the year message of thanks to parents with links for summer activities and even a year-end online slideshow. Send an informative beginning of the year newsletter with classroom information and introducing yourself to parents. Send out departmental information to parents through the group feature of MailChimp specifically to those involved. Use the merge feature to make emails personal. How much nicer would it be for parents to see news addressed to Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones, as opposed to Dear Parent(s)? School counselors can share information about college and career fairs, important deadlines, and more using Mail Chimp.

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Stencyl - Stencyl, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stencyl allows you to design and build your own games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create the game ...more
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Stencyl allows you to design and build your own games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create the game of your dreams. Visit Stencylpedia to get started by viewing videos, demos, and sample projects. Stencyl also has a library for backgrounds and actors, or you can import graphics from your Mac or P.C. The click and drag capability empowers those with a creative game idea to see it come to reality without knowing any code. Share your game with Stencyl, or on your own site or blog. Stencyl also has tools for creating iOS (iPhone, iTouch, iPad) games, but they are not free (rats!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), game based learning (159), gamification (79), quizzes (83)

In the Classroom

Create games for student review and/or practice, or use to assess knowledge before and after a unit. View example games for an idea of what you can create using this tool. One of the best learning tools for kids is to have them create their OWN games. Use your own teacher account so you do not need student emails at school. Ideally, students can create games for either learning or review for their fellow classmates. Assign a small group of students to create a game and then act as "host" to present their research information on a topic and keep the "audience" engaged. Learning support teachers might want to work together with a small group of students to create review games on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The process of creating the game provides another layer of review/practice before students play the game for more repetition.

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Anki - Flashcard creator - ankisrs.net

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Anki is a flashcard creator with a twist. The program is used everyday, and each response is rated as Easy, Very easy, Good, or Again. Very easy questions won't be ...more
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Anki is a flashcard creator with a twist. The program is used everyday, and each response is rated as Easy, Very easy, Good, or Again. Very easy questions won't be shown again for 7 days, Again responses will be shown again during the same session. Choose the number of flashcards to use for each session, time to spend, and number of questions to be offered. Search by topic to find readymade flashcards or create your own. This program needs to be downloaded to your computer following the onsite directions. Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux versions are available.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), flash cards (39), test prep (70)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards for your classes using Anki -- or have them make their own. Try using them as an introduction to a concept, then again in the practice of the concept, and again as a final review. It is a nice three for one creation deal! This would be great for teaching Latin prefixes and suffixes of words to students. Use this site to learn science terms or for standardized test preparation. Try having students create flashcards and share with each other to quiz themselves within their own groups. Teach students in higher grades how to create flash cards with multiple blanks to challenge their brain to remember more pieces of the puzzle (even counterexamples). Show them how to carefully read through their classroom notes and underline the most important word or words in a sentence. Then have them leave out the most important words for their flashcards. Learning support teachers might want to have small groups create cards together to review together before tests. Have students create flashcard sets to "test" classmates on what they "teach" in oral reports. Since this program is a download, flashcards may be difficult to share - one suggestion is to download the program onto a USB stick to be shared as needed. Students can also create flashcards for classmates to try after watching peer's presentations.

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Trello - Fog Creek Software

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, ...more
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, so refreshing the site isn't necessary. The two main items used on boards are cards and lists. Cards are tasks; create a card for each task and drag it to the list. Attachments such as videos, due dates, user notes, and more can be attached to cards. Then pull each card into a list and place in any order necessary to complete the tasks. You can be identified with an @symbol and receive instant notifications.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), graphic organizers (44), organizational skills (90)

In the Classroom

Use this site in the classroom for organizing any long term project such as a research report or collaborative projects. Create a board for each group with a timeline and assign parts for each project. Gradually release the responsibility from one project to the next, asking students to create their own task lists so they learn time management. Teachers of learning support and gifted will love this tool as a way to teach organizational skills. Share it with parents to support their organizationally challenged students. Yearbook or school newspaper advisors may want to consider this site for organizing and assigning tasks. Share this site with your school's PTA as a resource for organizing and planning school events.

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ThingLink - Thinglink.com

Grades
2 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
   
ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home...more
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ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home page uses Facebook to share a ThingLink, you do not have to use Facebook at all. Start with an image from upload, online URL, or Flickr. Select specific items within your image (called "things") and link them to resources or other websites. By clicking an area within the image, viewers can access the "thing" (website) that you have linked. Add multiple links to separate items from areas within a single image. Choose or upload an image and click on the ThingLink icon on your image to begin editing. Click on specific spots to add information to the link. If you plan to create many ThingLinks from your own images, it may be easier to use a class or personal Flickr account to pull images from instead of using the maximum number of images to upload. Preload your images to that Flickr account before starting your ThingLinks. ThingLink presents a variety of levels for technology use depending on teacher requirements for the project, or even student ability; it allows for adding narration, videos, text and links to help explain different parts of the image. Free Android and iOS apps are available. Teacher tools include making student groups and more.

tag(s): bookmarks (47), DAT device agnostic tool (135), game based learning (159), gamification (79), images (248)

In the Classroom

Use digital images of lab experiments or class activities for sharing on a class wiki or blog with clickable enhancements offering additional information. Have students add links or even a blog reaction or explanation to their project or experiment image. Use the site for making a photography or art portfolio blog. Have students annotate images to explain their work or various techniques they used. World language or ESL/ELL teachers can enhance images with links to sound files or other explanations for better understanding. Use in world language to label items in an image with the correct words in that language. Young students could write simple sentences to practice language skills while explaining about a favorite picture or activity. Use in Science to explain the experiment or in a Consumer Science class to explain cooking or other techniques. Consider creating a class account for student groups to use together. Teachers can create a ThinglLnk of an image with questions and links that students must investigate to respond as a self-directed learning activity. An image of a tree could have questions and links about types of leaves, photosynthesis, and the seasons, for example. Gifted students could create a collection of annotated images that link to sound files to add "personalities" to science objects (think of the talking trees in the Wizard of Oz) or create an annotated image of a almost anything they research to go beyond regular curriculum they have already mastered: Annotate an image of a food product to link to information about its sources and potential harms. Annotate an image of a campaign poster and "debunk" its claims with links to video clips that show the politician in action, etc. Annotate an advertisement with links its propaganda techniques. Teens with a sophisticated sense of humor will especially enjoy linking to ironic examples that debunk or offer a satire of the original!

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. Students can earn badges. On ClassDojo students can now have their own portfolio to share photos and videos of their successes. The wording on the ClassDojo site indicates that ClassDojo "will always stay free for teachers."

Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child.

tag(s): behavior (42), classroom management (138), DAT device agnostic tool (135), game based learning (159), gamification (79), Special Needs (44)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Pinterest - Pinterest.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Browse the site without registration. Type Edu in the search ...more
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Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Browse the site without registration. Type Edu in the search bar, and find an Education area with menu tabs like Science, Elementary, English, Higher, STEM, and more. Images have a short caption; clicking on a picture gives the option to Repin or Like. To create/add to your pinboards, register for free. If you have an account, you can Repin the picture to a pinboard you have titled and created within your account. Click on the image again to visit the original site of the image. Often this is just what you are looking for to learn specific details. You can also search Pinterest for specific items such as Guided Reading, File Folder Activities, or other classroom needs. Pinterest members can "follow" other users and see their new items as they add them to their pinboards. Use Pinterest on any device or computer, and there is a related Facebook app.

tag(s): architecture (63), cooking (31), creativity (92), DAT device agnostic tool (135), fashion (9), guided reading (35), nutrition (132), organizational skills (90), professional development (287), social media (46), social networking (82)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding printables and other items for classroom use. Create your own pinboards for organizing classroom resources found on the web. Create pinboards for students to view and/or add to as a whole class activity, such as "things that use energy," food groups, or groups of items for primary level vocabulary/practice (clothing items, farm animals, clock faces for telling time, etc.). Maybe even create "which one does not belong?" pinboards for PreK and early grades to view and change on an interactive whiteboard and repeat at home. In higher grades, make pinboards for different subjects or units where you collect videos, images, classroom blogs and websites, etc. Share your pinboards with students and parents by putting the link on your class website. Challenge your older students to create their own pinboards as a research project. Use Pinterest to show their hobbies/passions, wise quotes, recipes that fit a specific theme, art/lyrics, or a travel Itinerary. Follow other teachers using Pinterest to see items that they are adding and using in their classrooms. Add TeachersFirst to your pinboards! Note: Take a screenshot of something you find to upload to Pinterest!

Comments

Sharon, OH, Grades: 0 - 6

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Socrative - Socrative.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative works on tablets, smartphones, iPod Touch, laptops,...more
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Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative works on tablets, smartphones, iPod Touch, laptops, and others. There is an introductory video demonstrating teacher and student logins and how your class will interact in real-time. You can create your own multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. You may also choose to use one of their ready-made activities as exit tickets, thoughtful questions, or games. See your students' responses in an Excel file or view online as a Google spreadsheet. Multiple choice questions are automatically corrected.

tag(s): chat (39), DAT device agnostic tool (135), game based learning (159), gamification (79), polls and surveys (44), questioning (30), social networking (82)

In the Classroom

If you've ever wanted greater student engagement, increased student interest, and heightened discussion and interactivity in your classroom, Socrative is the answer. Students can give their input and express their views anonymously, if you wish.

In any curriculum area, ask open-ended questions and display student responses with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Alternatively, students could respond on a tool like Dotstorming, reviewed here, and also vote on the options.

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.

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Lose It! - FitNow, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health...more
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"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health and weight. With great graphics and an available phone application, this tool is so versatile and easy that even younger students could learn to use it. The database of food includes restaurant, grocery, and generic food brands and types.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calories (9), DAT device agnostic tool (135), fitness (48), nutrition (132), obesity (10), social networking (82)

In the Classroom

Try using "Lose It!" in health classes as early as fifth grade to help students become aware of how they spend their calories in a day and just how much they are consuming. Sometimes just this awareness is enough to help some kids stay healthier. Have students do a baseline record what they eat and do with no set rules for three days to a week. Have students analyze with their free weekly reports: what they consumed, how much, and what vitamins and other nutrients that they may need to increase. If students are comfortable sharing information with each other, have them compare reports to get a better and more realistic view of their intake. Have students create a plan to make small changes to diet and activity for a week at a time and then have them check their reports again. This could be a year long, month long, or two week long process. Depending on the incidence of childhood obesity or malnutrition in your area, you can adjust this to fit your needs. If you are concerned about student privacy, create an account for a fictitious person that the entire class can use to analyze hypothetical food intake and more.

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Pearltrees - pearltrees

Grades
6 to 12
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Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows...more
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Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows you to create trees of sites to show relationships or even the order in which to browse websites. It is extremely simple to sign up, free, and easy to use once you have joined. To use it, you can download to your browser extension or bookmarklet, use a bookmarklet, or just use your home spot to paste in websites that you want to add to your own pearl tree. There are "big pearls" that function as folders for multiple strands of Internet pearls. 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 site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (47), curation (27), DAT device agnostic tool (135), webquests (22)

In the Classroom

In the simplest form, Pearltrees could be used to store links for classes that you are teaching or taking. More creatively, however, you could use this site to create a guided online field trip from one site to another. Even try pairing Pearltrees with the use of a highlighting style website such as Webklipper reviewed here, to direct students to the information on the site that you, as their teacher, want them to see. Try turning the tables on your students, and have them create a Pearltree for short research projects or as a working bibliography for their research papers. 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.

Comments

This is my favorite bookmark tool for my use. I have not used it with students but I love it for organizing things I want to go back to over and over. Charity, MD, Grades: 9 - 12

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Fuel Up To Play 60 - U.S. Dept. Agriculture, National Football League

Grades
2 to 12
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Encourage students to get sixty minutes of exercise daily by partnering school workers with this site's two sponsors: the Department of Agriculture and the National Football League....more
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Encourage students to get sixty minutes of exercise daily by partnering school workers with this site's two sponsors: the Department of Agriculture and the National Football League. You can join the program for free and see if your school qualifies to receive grants to help educate your students about exercise, nutrition, and healthy eating and also to increase student access to more physical education programs and better foods. Check with your school administrators to be sure it is acceptable to have your school join and to allow your students to individually register. "Quick Start Resources" help you learn how to use the program and set up their class as a team.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), fitness (48), nutrition (132)

In the Classroom

Participate in the healthy eating challenge by creating your own class video entry for the Cooking Show Challenge! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. Help your class members to apply to be student ambassadors. Help your students to sign up and start graphing their physical activity and nutritional changes, receive badges and prizes, see how their classmates are doing and encourage them by giving rewards, and finally, by viewing what other classes are doing. Share the information on this site with parents so they can support the lifestyle changes encouraged here at home.

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Books Should Be Free - Loyal Books

Grades
K to 12
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis ...more
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, J.M. Barrie, Hugh Lofting, and Beatrix Potter. Some audio tracks are available in different languages. The most significant collection appears to be in French and German. Download MP3 files for each chapter in one zip file (333 MB) or directly into iTunes. Search for books by genre, author, title, or keywords. Suggest this site to students who have difficulties with reading, including ESL/ELL students. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support, foreign language, or ESL/ELL students.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (135), ebooks (34), fluency (20), french (71), german (45), literature (220), spanish (97)

In the Classroom

Upgrade your literature circles and include e-readers that are speech enabled. Share the stories (or full text) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Books Should Be Free - Loyal Books provides links to the free text that accompanies the audio track. Sites such as Project Gutenberg, reviewed here, contain free versions of the full text. Students can simultaneously listen and read books on either a classroom computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android, or other mobile or cell phone. These recordings will also boost fluency instruction by serving as an oral reading model. Audio-assisted books will encourage students to read with expression, improve reading comprehension, stimulate vocabulary development, and provide a way for students to read text beyond their reading level.

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Edmodo - Edmodo

Grades
7 to 12
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Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library...more
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Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library to store your assignments, quizzes, and units. Post assignment reminders, quizzes (automatically graded), build an event calendar, and post messages to groups as well. Create multiple classes and have students join via the class code. Then, you can create small groups from your class rosters on Edmodo. Designed specifically for education, teachers can create a network for their classes where members can quickly respond to each other. Use the Snapshot feature to align quizzes with Common Core Standards. Gamify your class, if you'd like, using their badges or importing your own. Use the parent sign up to keep them in the loop. Find other educators and groups to connect with and follow your interests. Use Edmodo from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. YouTube hosts all support and training videos for how to implement Edmodo. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (123), blogs (71), classroom management (138), communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), game based learning (159), gamification (79), microblogging (26)

In the Classroom

Before using with a class, create a master administrator and also create two to three "fake students" to practice using Edmodo for a few weeks. Use this suggestion not only to understand how to use Edmodo but to also determine how it will be used in the classroom. Allow students to register by using your group code. 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.

Use this service for class scribes to detail what has been learned that day. In Math, instruct scribes to discuss how to solve a problem. Better yet, allow students the opportunity to discuss how they solve specific problems to identify more than one manner of solving. During class presentations, use Edmodo to provide feedback to the presenter. During videos, students can maintain backchannel discussions in order to recap events, ask for clarification, or carry on meaningful discussion of the content. Use to create stories one line at a time with collaboration from the whole class. Ask questions from the days work to identify which concepts are causing problems with students and need to be reinforced. Post assignments in Edmodo. Students can access assignments and ask questions for clarification. Discuss environmental, health, or other social issues to identify other viewpoints and concerns.

Comments

Edmodo is a terrific resource for communicating with teachers and students. It's Facebook-like interface is familiar and inviting for users. Tim, , Grades: 0 - 6

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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. podOmatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), digital storytelling (129), podcasts (65)

In the Classroom

podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.

Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.

If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images at Vecteezy and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.

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Penzu - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): communication (135), DAT device agnostic tool (135), journals (16), writing (286)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Easel.ly, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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