Top 10 tech tools for teachers
From engaging students to saving time on marking, these educational tech tools can help get the school year off to a great start.
By JENNA HOFF
From increasing student engagement to reducing exam marking time, there are many reasons for teachers to explore the educational tech tools available in today’s market.
“Technology not only supplements student learning, but at times transforms it,” says James Park, a learning consultant in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education.
“The benefit of tech integration into our classrooms is we force our students to think in new and different ways. These tools allow for students to create and share their understandings more easily,” says Aaron Ball, a teacher for Edmonton Catholic Schools. “Education of the future will be based around solving social justice issues in our neighbourhoods and around the world. Technological tools are important in this because they allow us to bridge distances to forge new relationships and create in different ways.”
With that in mind, here are 10 of the coolest educational tech tools to check out:
Easy to use and cutting-edge at the same time, emaze is a next-generation presentation tool you can use to create experiential presentations. Slideshows, video presentations and 3-D presentations are all within your grasp.
Teachers are constantly looking for ways to improve, so it’s important that they're aware of technological trends and hang on to the useful tools,” says Park. Easel.ly allows you to create infographics and posters to convey large amounts of information just by dragging and dropping.
Prepare to be amazed by chirp.io. This free app allows you to quickly share material such as photos, web pages and contacts from one phone to another using sound.
4. iBook Author
“The tools we invest in must drive innovation in student learning,” advises Ball. Case in point: iBooks Author. “This amazing Apple tool allows students to publish gorgeous digital books that allow for multimodal texts.”
5. 3-D printers
Ball explains that 3-D printers allow students to accurately test differences in their designs and dig deeper by seeing the difference changes can make. “Students who have 3-D printers are able to think more about quality of design and the iterative design process,” he says. “When you’ve built something from materials that vary in characteristics, you will always get different results.”
6. Google Sheets: Translator
This ultra-handy component of Google Sheets translates words and phrases, making it useful for teaching students a foreign language and for translating school materials for parents. Once in Google Sheets, you can access Translator by typing =GOOGLETRANSLATE into a cell. Check out this YouTube video for a helpful demo.
7. Anatomy 4D
Using Anatomy 4D, a free app available on both Apple and Android devices, students can review fascinating detailed 4-D models of human anatomy. Imagine introducing a high-school biology class to what the app creators describe as “a learning experience previously only accessible in a gross anatomy lab.”
8. Google Cultural Institute
Google Cultural Institute is a way for students to explore and learn from museum exhibits and archival collections around the world for free. No passport or museum fee needed! Whether they are learning about street art or space exploration, great resources are a mouse click away.
9. The Radix Endeavor
Looking for new ways to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? The Radix Endeavor—a massive multiplayer online game for STEM topics—is a hit with students, who study fauna, flora, biology and science by exploring the island of Ysola.
We’ve all heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder.” Flubaroo, a free tool that allows teachers to quickly grade multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank exams and assignments, helps you work smarter and save time in the process. This tool will also compute the average score for the class on a given assignment or exam, show a grade distribution graph and let teachers send individualized feedback to students.
Note: This story was originally published in Illuminate, the online magazine from the Faculty of Education.