January 30, 2017

A Dozen Great Tech Tools that Make Teachers’ Lives Easier

By Rob Klindt, Contributing Writer | Literacy Resources

While it might seem that some students are leaps and bounds ahead of teachers when it comes to using technology, are they really?

Probably not. Beyond everyday consumer technologies like smartphones, videogames and social media, most K-12 students are still on the shy side of using technology for productivity, the workplace and especially education. That’s where teachers can flex their tech muscles.

Savvy teachers know the benefits of using technology in the classroom. Among the most visible are increased student engagement, higher test scores and easier classroom management. And the good news is that technology — especially internet technology — for educators is increasing every year.

Below is a sampling of free and low-cost tech resources that K-12 teachers should consider adding to their classroom tech tool boxes.

Classroom organization

Freeology. This site is a great source for downloadable classroom planners, calendars and organizers. It also has printable awards and certificates to celebrate classroom achievements. Free. Visit the website.

Instant Classroom. Make classroom seating charts with this web-based tool, which is compatible with tablets and major web browsers. The printable charts can be customized with student names and photos, and updated on the fly. Free. Visit the website.

TeacherKit. This app makes it easy to take attendance, manage student profiles and organize classes on a smartphone or digital tablet. Free, with paid upgrades on iTunes and Google Play.

Multimedia

Clyp. Upload classroom audio clips of music, songs or plays to this website, which bills itself as a social media soundboard. Clips can be shared publicly or saved for private access. Free; extra features with optional registration. Visit the website.

Vocaroo. This cool web-based voice recorder is great for helping students boost their read-aloud skills and learn foreign language pronunciations.  Audio clips are saved online or can be downloaded to use in blogs, websites or classroom presentations. Free. Visit the website.

YouTube Video Editor. The popular online video depository offers web-based tools for editing, splicing and adding audio to video clips after they’re uploaded. It’s great for classroom projects and presentations. A free YouTube account is required. Visit the Website.

Presentations

Air Sketch Free. Quickly connect newer iPads and iPhones to a projector connected to a Wi-Fi-enabled computer with this free app. It’s great for on-the-fly presentations and lets teachers walk around the classroom while projecting their own sketches. Available on iTunes.

SMART Exchange. Check out dozens of downloadable, prebuilt K-12 whiteboard lessons and templates created by educators. A search tool helps users find materials that align with educational standards from most states. Free; registration required. Visit the website.

Gimp. Download this image-editing software to create posters and charts for classrooms. Photos or sketches can easily be cropped or enhanced for printing. Software has versions for Windows and Macintosh desktop platforms. Free. Visit the website.

Quizzes

Flipquiz. Teachers can create gameshow-style testing boards for quizzes that can be downloaded and displayed with electronic whiteboards or projectors, or on computers. Quizzes can be saved and updated as needed. Free; registration required. Visit the website.

Testmoz. This automatic test generator is great for pop quizzes. It features four question types, automatic grading, a simple interface and detailed reports. Teachers can create a short test in about a minute. Free; a paid version has more features. Visit the website.

That Quiz. This website offers a straightforward template for creating online quizzes in mathematics, vocabulary, geography and science for students in sixth through 12th grades. Free; registration required for teachers. Visit the website.

These sources give a good idea of the growing number of tech tools available to educators on the internet. It’s a good idea to set aside time regularly and search education and technology websites to keep up with the flow of new sites, apps and tech tools that can be used in the classroom.

Rob Klindt’s “App Reviews” combine his passion for writing with an ever-growing interest in educational technology. His simple, straightforward approach to reviewing educational apps help educators and parents leverage new tools for students in and out of the classroom.

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