There are many instructional tools that are web based. They do things from helping design presentations, to sharing ideas, to staying in touch. Below are five tools that I have used and find very helpful.
- Google docs and the rest of the products
- This group of products is free and can be accessed anywhere with a google account. You can write a document, make a slide show, develop a spreadsheet, take notes, store bookmarks, and even draw. The main products have apps that work across all platforms and devices. Students and teachers can share templates, work together, comment on each others work, and even chat if they are on at the same time. It is easy to organize everything in drive and to share work with anyone else that you want to. I used these extensively with my students this year and, once they got used to it, they started using it for everything. I would use google suite for all notes, papers and projects whenever possible. If you don’t have classroom a folder that is shared can house all work for a class.
- Prezi is a great free presentation tool if you step a little outside of the box. Many people use it and it looks much like a PowerPoint or slides presentation. It is possible to do so much more with Prezi in terms of appearance. Here is a presentation I made for a 2014 PD on digital citizenship for elementary school teachers. In using the newspaper format I was trying to show teachers that Prezi can really make a presentation look different from a PowerPoint without much more work. It’s a great presentation tool for both teachers and students.
- Grammarly checks your grammar, spelling, and helps you expand your vocabulary, all for free. Commonly confused words are marked so that you can go back and check the context to make sure you are using the proper word. Grammarly reminds you of all those rules about grammar that you’ve forgotten and explains why. This is a great add on for teachers and students. I’ve also read enough free ebooks whose authors could use this add on.
- Lesson Paths
- I’ve been using this free program since they first started. It used to be MentorMob and they had so many people using it for education a new site was developed called LessonPaths. The site allows you to gather different websites, videos, and worksheet together into a path where the students move from step to step. In the last few years they have added a feature where you can have challenge questions added to any step. I have found that students are much more likely to visit all the sites I have set up for the day if they just have one initial click and then just click on next. I also have had students use it to set up a list of all the locations they have visited when researching. When they are done they reorder them so the research flows like the finished presentation.
- Remind 101
- Ever had a student forget a test, deadline, or a change in location? This free app makes it easy to send out reminders for anything you want. Need supplies for a lab? Send a reminder. Have a test on Thursday? Send a reminder. Parents can also sign up to get the reminders which greatly cuts down on phone calls and emails complaining about missed assignments. It is easy to set up for the teacher and all of your messages are saved. Students and parents appreciate getting the reminders, as long as they aren’t too frequent.