5 Top Tech Tools (And How To Use Them In Education)

What good is a nifty new device if you don’t know how to use it? What’s the purpose of loading up your new iPad Air with a gazillion apps if you never figure out how to properly use them in the classroom?

What if there was a simpler way to figure out how to use the most popular tech tools in education? That’s the idea behind the new Global Education Database (GEDB) – it’s still in the very early stages but has an aim to be something akin to the ‘Yelp for Education’ thanks to the robust and brilliant education crowd around the globe. Each listing in the GEDB features expert reviews, pros, cons, tips on using each product in the classroom, what the product is good for (flipped classrooms, Common Core, etc.), and more. I’m proud to be one of the folks helping make the ‘Yelp for Education’ dream a reality as it’s something sorely needed in education.

There are a lot of teachers and students alike who want to use education technology but there’s no cohesive way to research cross-platform products that align to a particular goal. In other words, it’s currently far too difficult to find the best tablet, apps, web tools, and even MOOCs that would work well with a flipped classroom. That’s the aim of the GEDB – to fix the discovery process at least a bit.

We’re still early on in the process but would love to get your insight into which products should be added, what you think about current products, and more. Share your knowledge and help others learn! The site is ad-free as well as totally free to use. Hopefully you find it useful and a valuable resource to watch grow over time.

Let’s review just a handful of the popular education technology tech tools that are in the database. Below are snippets of the listings you’ll find including how to use each tool in education.

Edmodo: Why 31 Million Users Love It

edmodo app logoIt’s like your very own Facebook for your classroom. Complete with the addictive tools that let you communicate with your students, parents, and others. Share homework, pictures, and start learning together.

Use it in the classroom: Use Edmodo to streamline your workflow, get assignments actually turned in on time, and even flip your classroom. You should also integrate some of the apps that Edmodo now offers as part of the package.

Edmodo is powerful and relatively straightforward. It will save you time and effort so you can actually teach. Use it to help kickstart a flipped classroom so you spend more time learning and less time focusing on accomplishing tasks and finishing assignments.

Apple iMac: The Massive Learning Machine

apple imac gedbThe Apple iMac has a massive screen and is overpowered. That means the only limits to how you use these two big assets is your imagination.

Use it in the classroom: Dive into the Mac App Store and download some education apps. There are a ton that are available only for the Mac and look great on either size iMac screen.

Also be sure to get your students to use Skype or Google+ Hangouts on the iMac as the big bright screen makes for an engaging time. It’s also better for the people on the other end of the video call as they see you a lot better.

That’s instead of a classroom-sized webcam shot where every student is pixelated. The iMac helps a lot here.

Apple TV: How It’s Perfect For Your Classroom

apple tv closeupThe Apple TV is just a ‘hobby’ for Apple but so many people use it … they must have to update it and improve it soon. Keep an eye out for Apple to make a move in the television space soon. Look for it on GEDB when they do!

Use it in the classroom: Great for collaborating (sharing screens on AirPlay), demonstrating concepts (mirroring your iPad or MacBook), or simply watching some educational videos on YouTube or Netflix.

Also supports Sky TV for some real-time global news coverage. Great for history classes! Hook it up (via HDMI) to a television or projector and then you can mirror any Apple device with a relatively recent operating system onto the screen.

Great for browsing YouTube videos, watching an educational video snippet on Netflix, or even watching live news from Sky TV or ABC.

Socrative: How A Complex App Simplifies The Classroom

socrative appTo be frank, this is one of my most favorite apps currently available. I’ve met the developer and founder of Socrative (Ben) and he’s awesome. The app has been funded by VCs and is going to be getting even more impressive very soon.

Use it in the classroom: Use Socrative to boost the level of engagement in your classroom in no time flat. I’ve used the app many times and, after the recent update, have been blown away at how quickly it gets students to participate without any fear.

This is a great tool to lift the spirits of students not normally inclined to raise their hand or participate in class in any capacity. Socrative makes it easy and quite fun to upgrade your classroom in no time.

Evernote: The Time-Saving Elephant Loved By Education

evernote app logoEvernote is an easy to use tool that you can employ in your classroom to replace almost anything that you’re currently doing on paper. Create digital portfolios, take notes, share student work via shared notebooks, and store and organize notes and work in a variety of media. An awesome tool that spans all age groups and subject matter. Comes in free and paid versions.

Use it in the classroom: Use Evernote in your classroom for note taking, list making, individual student documentation, grading, collaboration, creating digital portfolios, sharing information with students and parents, storing photos, documents, and clippings from the web, organize audio recordings, and much, much more.

Evernote offers a number of free add-on tools for drawing, digital handwriting, study note cards, web clippings, food, distraction free reading, and remembering information and experiences about individuals – great for both student and teacher use.

5 Comments

  1. Dan Gallagher

    February 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Nearpod should be in this list. It hands down is better than Socrative

    • Jeff Dunn

      February 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks Dan – we love Nearpod too! This wasn’t meant to be the be-all end-all list. Nearpod is listed on the GEDB (http://gedb.org/nearpod) too!

  2. hasankamal1122

    February 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Nice share of the above post. It should be used in term of children education so that they can groom.

  3. Alain

    February 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Yaaaay, Nearpod, cool! That other post is great. And though I think Nearpod should be included on every list, it’s also true that we need to share other apps, too. Great and informative post, thanks Jeff.

  4. Vincent Fredericks

    March 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I never thought to use my Apple TV in my classroom to pair up with my Mac Book. I have used Edmodo in my classroom before and its a great way to have students take quizzes and hand in assignments. I think that Edmodo is great because students today use social media so often they are used to the format of the website. It does not take long for students to learn how to use the site. I look forward to trying to use Evernote in my class.

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