6 Powerful Tools Teachers And Students Should Try Out

By 2018 the market for education technology is all set to reach a mammoth $60 billion. Our need for ‘smarter’ classrooms is the reason behind our increasing reliance on technology to make learning more interactive and engaging for students. New tools that help improve the learning environment are being released regularly, and while some of them are really good, there are others that don’t quite make the cut.

In this article, we are focusing on tools that are of great help to both students and teachers and go a considerable way in improving the learning environment at different levels. So, let’s take a look at six such tools.

Skitch

Visual Communication For Everyone

Evernote’s Skitch is a visual communication tool that helps leverage the immense potential of BYOD classrooms. Teachers and students can visually communicate ideas with each other about a particular subject to understand it better. A teacher can either use an existing image or capture a new image and explain it better with visual cues like arrows, shapes and even write on it with the use of highlighter tools. These can be shared with the students.

This tool can also be used to improve collaboration between students who can mark-up existing images with their thoughts, and pass it on amongst themselves to understand a particular project/subject better.

Basecamp

A convenient collaboration tool

Collaborative tools don’t get more popular than Basecamp. It’s extremely easy to use and allows users to create and manage projects. As a teacher, you will have complete control over which students are able to see which projects and can keep an eagle eye on project progress; you can divide your class into various groups and assign a different project for each group or you can create an individual projects for each student and monitor progress. You can even create a project calendar allowing you to assign and track projects, keeping in mind the holidays, meetings etc. which essentially simplifies coordination.

It’s not just teachers; even students within a group can create their own projects (provided they are allowed to) and manage all files and documents that have been created as a part of the project.

Ease.ly

Infographics Simplified

Easel.ly is a data visualization tool that helps visualize information in an easy to understand form. This helps you impart learning in a way that is more engaging and better suited to understanding a particular topic. All you need to do is select a theme, use the set of boxes and tools on offer and create an infographic that is not visual stunner but definitely passable.

The key to this tool is that it helps you visually represent data without having any knowledge of designing whatsoever. You could even ask students to create infographics about a particular project that you’ve just taught them, to assess whether they’ve really understood it or not.

Padlet

Your Own Project Wall

Padlet allows you to create an online bulletin board that can be used to explain a subject better. The user can add images, links, videos and a whole lot more to improve the engagement quotient. A teacher can create a public or private project; in the former, teachers can allow students to contribute to the wall and monitor their activity on the wall instantly.

This tool can actually be used an interactive assessment tool, where teachers can gauge the understanding of students vis-à-vis a particular subject. All you do is click on ‘build a wall’ and start expressing your thoughts on a common topic. As is the case with all tools, it’s important to use this one well to leverage its potential. The fact that it can work on desktops, and is also available in the form a free app for iOS and Android is another point in its favor.

WeVideo

Learn and Be Entertained

WeVideo is a video creation tool and again something that up’s the engagement ante in classrooms. There is nothing better than videos to get students involved in classroom learning and this is where WeVideo scores over many other tools available on the market. It enables Project-Based Learning (PBL) enabling students to collaborate on a video project and create topical presentations that showcase their understanding of a particular subject.

Creation of videos fosters deep knowledge about a particular subject, and is one of the more interactive learning methodologies that can be used to explore topics in depth.

VoiceThread

Fun with Conversations

VoiceThread is a tool that offers different versions that cater to the needs of K-12 schools and Higher Education. This tool allows a user to record audio text and comments about uploaded images, documents and videos. As a teacher, you can import a video or create your own, upload it, and ask students to discuss it. You could even describe an experiment or showcase an example of good writing and explain why the written piece is so good.

The options are seemingly limitless. How you as a teacher or a student can use this tool to improve the learning experience is your call.

 

Picking the Right Tool 

This is just a small sampling of the many wonderful education tools available on the market. Some of them have not been specifically designed for education per say, but can be used to improve the collaborative environment of classrooms and promote better learning.

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, you need to make an informed decision with respect to the tool you choose. The basis of choice should always be how well you can put the tools to use and whether you can keep using them over the long term. So understand the features and functionalities offered by a particular tool before you put them to use. This will ensure you’re able to experience all the benefits they bring to the table.

That was about tools in general. Then there are whole sites targeted at education in particular. Subscription-based services such as RankJunction can prepare students for various aptitude and entrance exams by conducting mock tests in a competitive environment. Sites such as Khan Academy have whole series of videos aimed at educating anyone who’s interested. This means the options for students, academics and educators are immense and incalculable when it comes to tools and platforms. All you need to do is choose the right one!

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