Digital Teaching Toolbox:
Tech Tools to Make Your Life Easier
AnswerGarden is a free tool that doesn't require any registration or accounts. Students submit answers to open-ended questions, and results display in the form of a word cloud; the more times an answer is submitted, the larger that answer appears on the screen. This is fantastic for taking student answers on-the-fly because it's so quick and simple to use!
Blendspace is a free tool that works like a slideshow. What makes it so unique, though, is its ability to import almost any type of media so everything is all in the same spot for your lesson. You can import YouTube or Educreations videos, photos from Google or Flickr, import resources from Dropbox or Google Drive, and embed or upload almost anything you want! You can share easily with a link, embed code, or QR code for easy access, making it perfect for the flipped classroom or a substitute. Here is an example Blendspace lesson.
Doodle is a free tool that makes scheduling a meeting with lots of people so much easier. Write the name of the event and list day and time options before sending the link. Participants can check off the days and times they are available so the event coordinator can easily see when to schedule the meeting so everyone can make it. I love using this for team meetings; we all have such different and busy lives, but Doodle makes it easier to coordinate!
OneNote is an online organizational system that keeps track of notes, files, spreadsheets, to-do lists, and more. Much like Evernote, users create binders to hold their notes. OneNote has so many capabilities: color-code tabs in the binder; add unlimited number of pages to each tab; add binders within binders to keep everything concise; upload documents; import documents so they are readable in one click; create/import graphs, charts, or spreadsheets; create check-able to-do lists; organize notes with tags; record audio or video from inside the binder; draw/write with a stylus on a tablet, export pages, password protect sections, share the binder with others, and more. You can even use special templates for your pages, such as to-do lists or lecture notes. I use it for my lesson plans, professional development notes, and for data tracking. View my blog post about it here.
Shadow Puppet Edu
Shadow Puppet Edu is a free app available in the iTunes store. It lets you pull in a series of pictures from the camera roll to make a presentation. Users record their voice over the pictures and have the ability to add text or a pointer to draw attention to specific parts of a photo. The app is made by the same company that made Seesaw, so "puppets" (presentations) are easily imported into Seesaw without the need for an account. (Here's my blog article about Seesaw.) My students use it for projects, but I use it for mini tutorials.
Sign Up Genius
Sign Up Genius lets users create sign up sheets for any event. Send the form to volunteers, who can then choose which date/time works for them. You can even have them type in a comment with their submission. I've used this for gathering copy/laminator volunteers for my class + volunteers to work each station at Family Science Night. I've also seen it used to sign up to bring a bedridden colleague meals -- we typed in a comment of what we were bringing so it wasn't duplicated later. It truly makes getting volunteers a painless experience.
Both the regular version and the edu version of Symbaloo are free, but I prefer the edu version. Symbaloo is a bookmarking service that saves all your links in the cloud so you can access them from any computer. You can arrange them on a board however you'd like (almost like small Pinterest pins). The edu version lets you group links together in folders, and you have the ability to "lock" the order of links in a folder so that visitors must visit link #1 first, link #2 second, and so on -- great for a flipped lesson!
ThingLink lets users upload a photo and then add "tags" to the image. Tags are notes (sometimes with a hyperlink) that provide viewers with more information as they mouse over the tag image. Tags come in a variety of colors and shapes (you can even use numbers as the tags to help viewers follow a sequential order of your notes), and premium users can upload their own tag images. Here's a ThingLink with information about a paperless classroom, and here's a ThingLink assignment about solving an ocean problem.
WiFi Mouse Pro
This handy app lets you control your computer from your mobile device! You can move/click the mouse, type, and more. The app is normally $3, but I happened to download it when it was free (read this blog post about getting apps for free); if you keep your eyes peeled, it might go free again. In any case, it's totally worth $3! I love using it to control the Promethean from the back of the room while I teach.