- This portfolio is a collection of recently tested and reviewed educational technology, which might come in handy for teachers to use in their classroom. While most of the programs/apps chosen are geared towards ESL learners, I believe that they still may hold value in whatever field you are involved in.
Why use Educational Technology?
My rubric for assessing the EdTech
Let's take a look at what's what!
Edmodo is a site which lets you collaborate and connect with your students. It follows a very similar platform as Facebook in its presence and outlay.
It allows for teachers and students to post material (Facebook style) and comment on what has been posted. This is great for inducing conversation on more relevant and interesting things you chose to include in your class.
Edmodo also supports an ample amount of features for teachers to use with their students. Most notably is the Assignment, Quiz and Polling options. All of these are simple enough to navigate and allow for assignments/responses to be inputed within the Edmodo ecosystem. No third party needed. All in all, this platform is well organized and easy to navigate for students and teachers. The app is decent but needs to be tweaked as it has limited options and keeps needing to be rebooted.
ClassDojo is a class management system which allows you to give feedback to your students (in real time) as to how they are doing in the class in terms of their behaviour and participation.
The interesting and engaging aspect of this program is that it allows teachers and students to customize their own little monsters that represent who they are in the class. In the picture above, we can see that in my "too cool for school" class, the student Deb has received a -2 for today and Hye-won got a +2.
ClassDojo also allows you to customize what aspects of participation or behaviours you want to reward or use for the section needs work. On the students side of the program, there is an app available for them to download, where they will be able to see their progress in the class.
Pros: Great engagement and customization features, provides real time feedback, allows for your customization of classroom management, allows for parent to be added so they get student feedback directly
Cons: Incredible difficult to get set up and running, class codes are generated per student - very annoying and time consuming, "real time" isn't exactly real time - noticeable delay in delivery
Remind is a messaging program that allows teachers to communicate with students via messages through a safe and secure system. It has some neat features that allow teachers to send timed messages and also allows for free chatting as well if the teacher feels the need to discuss something with students. The beautiful thing about this program is that the teachers send one way messages if they like or two way for a way to hear back from students.
This is the screenshot from the phone app. As you can see the message was sent as an announcement and does not allow for the student to respond to the teacher, which is nice since it gets tiresome when we receive tons of acknowledgement texts for every little message sent.
Pros: Simple and efficient, great easy to use set up, supper easy set up for students and teachers
Cons: None really, it does what it says
Moodle is a free and open-source software learning management system written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. The is definitely one of the first and well known learning management systems around. But I have to say that my personal experience with this system (as a student - see picture about) was unimpressive to say the least. Where to begin...
It is boring for starters. Compared to all the other free systems out there, this is by far the most boring and annoying complicated to used system. Not to mention that as a teacher, I can make an account by asking my school for permission and they retain control over the system itself. It is incredibly slow and continuously needs every command to be redone several times and finally it logs me out continuously without having done so myself.
This layout is tedious and dull. And the information is all over the place, not very well organized. Did I mention it is unbelievably slow and boring?
Pros: Its free... and I guess open sourced is good...
Cons: The system, the organization, the lack of creativity, lack of responsiveness, the sharing/posting system is antiquated and so functionality, pretty much everything I guess...
Socrative is a program which allows teacher to assess and test their students using online real-time quizzes, surveys, polls and even a game called space race. The beauty of this program is that it allows for simplified, easy to navigate, real-time assessment of students in a class. And its results options are also impressive. The teacher can chose to share part or whole sections of the results and they get broken down into usable and applicable data.
Pros: Great real-time interaction, allows for engagement and interaction with leaners, excellent feedback and sharing capabilities
Cons: stand alone system - doesn't match with other existing programs, excellent at what it does but it doesn't do much else
I have to say that tackk, has been one of the easiest and user friendly EdTech ecosystems, that I have ever used. Now of course since I am currently using this platform, I can see why you'd think that I was being a little bit bias. But, kid you not, this has been a pleasure working with. It allows for multiple uses, from blogging to chatting to organizing school projects, it is an incredibly diverse and creative system.
It allows for a reasonable amount of customization with a very user friendly operational system. As you can see it is very sharable and allows other to give feedback as you will soon see when you reach the end of my little portfolio here. And the coordination and compatibility of tackk with other programs is fantastic. I have yet to find something (image, video, audio) that tackk can't handle.
Pros: Very dynamic and fosters excellent customization and creativity, easily sharable, excellent operating system
Cons: Not many that I can find, perhaps the linear progression of the information is a bit narrow? But honestly, for a free site, well done
What did we do before Google? Google is now and for the foreseeable future my go-to source for everything from "how long does it take to boil an egg?" to "ESL activities - past tense". There is no doubt that most teacher who have embraced technology in the classroom have at one point or another used a Google product. From emailing to Youtube video watching, Google services are prolific in our lives and in our classrooms. As such, many of the services offered by Google are very compatible with learning and integrating a EdTech learning system in the classroom.
The first is of course the versatility of Google Drive in storing and sharing documents, videos, power point presentations, images, pretty much anything you can potentially use in the classroom.
Goggle Docs, Calendar, Slides, Sheets and the chatting app Hangout, are all services that Google provides that allow for collaboration and creative interaction among the students and with the teacher.
Pros: Versatility in services and they are all free, universality of Google, excellent reliability
Cons: Docs, Sheets and Slides is simple and lack pizzazz, can't open file completely from Drive to show full screen in class, bloody login must be a billion characters long and because your whole life is tied to Google, you need a separate account for you and teacher you
Quizlet is a flashcard and self-study tool, that allows both learners and teacher to create their own study material and assess their progress using a variety of options.
Flashcards can be shared and downloaded between Quizlet members which is also a nice feature. You can set your flashcard set for your students to see only or open to the public. There are two versions and with the free one, you can have up to 8 classes. Sets can also include audio and visual components to make the learning more interactive as well as incorporated learning games that can be used with any set created. One unfortunate problem is that they do not allow you to delete classes or sets that you have finished with (perhaps because this is the free version?).
In addition to having learners self-study, you can set a number of different quiz styles that allow you to asses how well they are doing. Quizlet sends you and your students the results of the assessment.
Pros: Great flexibility with the sets, excellent sharing options, fun interactive games for learning and studying, free version is good
Cons: Phone app is limited in capabilities and design, multiple issues with mobile apps functionality
Schoology is an integrated learning management system with a social networking component to it. It is similar to programs such as Moodle and Edmodo in that it creates an Edtech ecosystem in which all your classroom necessities can be done through one program.
Schoology has a very attractive and simplistic platform design, allowing both learners and teachers to navigate seamlessly through the various sections of the program. It's organization of material, posts, and upcoming reminder section are fantastic (in vast contrast to Moodle) and it's material design is vibrant but classy. Teacher profiles includes options such as class assignments, quizzing, polling, management of grades and even attendance. One minor limitation is that it doesn't allow students to post audio or video clip in the posting section. And while the site responds well, the app at times feels like its functionality slows down its responsiveness.
In addition, Schoology allows you to add resources that can be integrated within the Schoology ecosystem, allowing for greater access to materials for your students.
Pros: Great layout, well organized and somewhat easy to navigate, like the material design, functionality is very good
Cons: Looks very similar to Facebook and give a tad feeling of lacking in creativity, posting section could use more features, apps needs work
Educreations is an interactive whiteboard and screencast tool that allow both teachers and students to creatively work on lessons.
It is fantastically versatile in that it allows the user to explore their creativity by giving them the options of annotating, animating and narrating almost any content which can be found online. This is a fabulous tool for teacher to use in getting learners to present a topic/lesson/project in whichever way they desire. And its fun! One area that definitely needs improvement is in the options available for modifying the content. Put simply, its quite basic and writing is difficult and not always done well as you can see from my efforts above.
The sharing and feedback for Educreations is great. You can share all the students materials so everyone can see each others work.