TeachersFirst's BYOD Dream Tools: Free Tools that Work on ANY device!
This collection of reviewed tools from TeachersFirst includes apps that are available for FREE on iOS (iPad, iPhone), Android, and web devices. Ideal for BYOD classrooms or 1:1 computer/tablet programs, these reviewed tools allow users to create and access projects using the same app, no matter what kind of device they have.
This collection includes only "DATs" (device agnostic tools) that are FREE on all devices and offer free access with sufficient features to be useful without upgrading to a paid account. Whether you call it an "app" or a "web tool," a DAT allows you to access your projects from almost any device.
Be sure to read the "Edge Features" list at the end of each review to know whether you need to create individual accounts, how products can be shared, and other tips on using these DATs safely and within school policies.
Even the best DAT has slight differences in capabilities on different devices. Encourage your students to share what they discover about additional or missing features on each type of device. your class will quickly appoint tool experts for each app!
TeachersFirst encourages our members (membership is FREE) to add comments and ratings to help other teachers and students trying these tools. Apps change quickly, so we welcome your comments on any changes that may occur to these tools and their free status.
(image credit: Jeremy Keith)
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSet up accounts for all your classes, and even your extracurricular activities, to send homework, project, and supply reminders. Remind students of upcoming events, practices, or things they need to bring to class or practice. You could also use this to communicate with parents (allow them to sign up for text message updates at back to school night). Share this site the first week of school to save time throughout the entire year. Remind parents of big tests, report cards, field trips, deadlines, back to school night, sneaker days, conferences, and more. Set up a faculty reminder group within your school for emergency closures and more.
Love this site! I'm using it to send reminders to students about overdue library books and/or fines!Terri, VA, Grades: 9 - 12
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomBe sure to check out the "About Our Games" portion of the site for game features and information. This site is excellent for use as a classroom center or on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to share the link with parents on your classroom newsletter or website.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Brainly as an online homework help resource with your students. If you aren't comfortable with students receiving too much homework help, ask students to let you know when this resource has been used and have them provide feedback with what was learned. This is also an excellent opportunity to talk about reliability of your information source and rechecking to be sure an answer is correct. If they see the responses as "hints" more than trustworthy answers, they will learn well. Often students learn best from each other. Encourage your students to provide answers for other students through Brainly. Offer bonus points for debunking any Incorrect answer they find at Brainly and submitting it to you! List this resource on your class website or wiki. You may have to explain to parents that this resource is allowed, as long as students realize that any answers they receive should be rechecked.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomView exhibits and information together with your class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore the site on their own. Have students create a timeline of artworks and more using Timeglider, reviewed here. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi, reviewed here. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms (or people) they learn about the Hermitage using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
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In the ClassroomMake use of this trial just before standardized test time to get the most out of your free JogNog account. Create a free teacher account then choose quizzes for student review of any topics. Create any number of quizzes and share with students for use on any mobile device. Share JogNog with parents to create an account for their student.
Grades1 to 12
This tool can be used as a basic bookmarking tool, simply allowing YOU to save, sort, and access your own bookmarks from ANY computer or mobile device (once you are logged in). You have the choice whether your bookmarks are public or private. You can gradually ease into more advanced and interactive features: highlight parts of sites and save or share those annotations, add sticky notes to parts of websites, pictures, screen-shots, documents, audio, and more. Do group collaborative research. Organize your bookmarks by tags. Unlike sorting bookmarks into file folders, adding tags permits you to put multiple tags or "labels" on one site. The same site you tag for book reports could also be tagged for biographies, for example. Aditional Diigo features include groups (a way to share and exchange bookmarks with a certain group of Diigo users), messaging, and search features. You can search all the public bookmarks made by others and discover other people with similar interests, already bookmarked and ready for you to mark as your own. There are many groups you can join, such as those with a specific teaching interest or hobby. See "Tools" for many helpful options, including bookmarklets to make bookmarking instant on multiple devices. Bookmarklets drag directly to the toolbars on your computer and are well worth it. It goes beyond simple bookmarking and adds options like highlight, capture, send, read later, comment, search bar and Diigo message options. You decide your own level of use and desired tools to be shown on the bar. If choosing not to install the toolbar, then there is an applet called Diigolet that will be used in its place. It is not as strong a tool as the toolbar, but will work well if the toolbar installation is not possible. Check our sample group. You can also install a widget on your blog (or class web page) that will show your bookmarks there.
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In the ClassroomTeachers even in very early grades can use Diigo simply to share links with students and parents. To get more ideas on the potential education uses of this site, see this SlideShare powerpoint here. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
Assign students a research topic and allow them to use Diigo collaboratively to collect and share resources. Share teacher-selected options (complete with comments or directions) easily using Diigo. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use Diigo to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article for your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a sticky note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as a homework assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can organize many assignments using Diigo. Use this site to help all of your students stay organized. Share this resource with your (not so organized) gifted students to help them manage projects and not "lose" the information they "found somewhere." Post assignments, readings, online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit responses by adding a comment. Of course others will see what they said, so you may not want the comments to be the only thing they do! If you assign gifted students to do projects beyond the regular curriculum, consider having them curate and annotate a collection of resources on a higher level topic. For example, extend your study of World War II by having them collect web-based primary sources showing the propaganda leading up to the war, political cartoons during the war, and advertisements from the time. Have them annotate the collection explaining each artifact and how it reflects the sentiments and biases of certain groups. That same collection could provide other students a class opportunity to interact with "objects" from the time. If you have contact with other teachers of gifted students, they could collaborate across different schools or classrooms.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAllow students to create collaborative drawings as responses to literature. They can map out the plot or themes, add labels, create character studies, and more. Share the finished products on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or your class website. Have a group of students create a drawing, that another group can use as a writing prompt. Use a Draw It Live board as a brainstorming or sketching space as groups or the class share ideas for a major project or to solve a real world problem. Use this site with students in a computer lab (or on laptops) to create a drawing of the setting in a story as it is being read aloud. As a creative assessment idea, have students draw out a simple cartoon with stick figures to explain a more complex process such as how a democracy works. If you are lucky enough to teach in a BYOD setting, use Draw It Live to demonstrate and illustrate any concept while students use the chat and drawing tools to interact in real time. If you are studying weather, have students diagram the layers of the atmosphere and what happens during a thunderstorm, for example. Introduce this tool to students who are working on group projects. Or have students use this to work as partners or as a small team to complete complex math problems or equations. Give students a problem by typing it on their board. Then have them work through it together, noting all of their reasoning and steps of work along the way. Have them "turn in" their work by url, or post the url on the class wiki to compare with others. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. This would be a great tool for gifted students (or any students) to collaborate with others outside of their own class, even from other schools. It is simple enough for ANY student to figure out and get started without a membership.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a powerful formative assessment tool that is also fun! Create pretests to offer to gifted students to "test out" of already learned material. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Make it a class challenge! Use this tool at the start of a new chapter or unit. Project your quiz to the entire classroom using a whiteboard or projector. Students can easily see the choices and choose answers using a browser on a laptop or any device. Use the Team choice when reviewing for a unit test. Students can see who is at the top of the leaderboard during the play and can even ask questions while going through the quiz. Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content.
What makes a good web tool? In my opinion, a web tool should be two things. They should be easy to look at, and easy to use. When you use these tools you need to be able to see clearly what a site does and the purpose it serves. Not only do you need to be able to see what you are doing, but do it easily. If it takes students more effort and energy to use a web tool or website, they will stop using it. You have to be able to keep the attention of the user. Beyond that an education tool needs a few additional items. Education tools need to be fun and interactive to continuously grab the attention of students. Students should have fun when using the site/tool.Ad, , Grades: 0 - 12
Kahoot fits all the above criteria. Not only is it fun and easy for students to use, but easy for teachers to set up and use for students. Kahoot is a fun quiz tool that teachers can use to build discussions, polls, and quizzes for the classroom. Students can then log into the quiz using smartphones, tablets, or computers. The tool is designed for students and works for students. Kahoot is well thought out, and well executed. This tool really brings the learning experience to students who are so familiar with technology.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a Wibki of the most used sites for your class. Link to teacher web pages, webquests, resource sites for your subject, and any other resource that is helpful for students. Consider creating a login for the whole class to update with suggestions from class members. Be sure to link your Wibki on a computer center in your room for easy access. Since icons are shown rather than words, you could use this site with your nonreaders. Create a Wibki mix for parents and students to access at home before tests. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter Wibkis for all your students.
Grades8 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare with your students to show them different perspectives on world events. This site would also provide contrasting texts for close reading as required by Common Core. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast coverage between two newspapers. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here after reading and comparing many different articles. Build student awareness of the limited view provided by some publications, especially during times of international tension. Explore this site during Newspaper in Education Week or as part of a unit on the basics and nuances of journalistic writing. World language teachers can use newspapers to teach about both language and culture. Have world cultures or social studies students learn about local culture through advertisements and articles and share their findings using a screencast (or screenshots) of the newspaper and talking about their discoveries. Use a free tool like Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, or Screencastify (Chrome app), reviewed here, to create screencasts.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomStart the school year off by sharing this tool with students for planning homework assignments, tasks, and exam dates. Create an account to share with your learning support teacher and specialists to collaborate and know upcoming events in each other's classrooms. Share with parents as an option for student use. Use this site personally to keep yourself organized! If you have students aged 13 and up, encourage them to choose a consistent planning tool like this one to stay organized. Share this site with gifted elementary students to help them stay organized and manage their life. Promote organizational skills with your learning support or gifted learners.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse DropTask to schedule staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. Student groups of busy high schoolers may want to use it to schedule work sessions. This is a great tool for teams of teachers to stay on the same page! Secondary learning support and gifted teachers can share this tool with their less organized students. This program will help them develop coping/organizational skills, and they can set intermediate deadlines with reminders for long term projects.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Next Exit History for either primary or secondary information on any location for social studies, history, or even literature study. Use this tool as an example for a multimedia presentation or map drawing of state history or study about any geographic location. After reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney, discover the wonders of your school, community, or state. Plan culminating projects where students create their own Google Earth Map (reviewed here). Create placemarker guides to your community using Next Exit History as an example. Be sure to share this link on your class website for instant reference.
GradesK to 12
As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Explore TeachersFirst, evaluating resources and original content to find ideas to use in your BYOD/1:1 classroom, Search and share resources and experiences for the management of activities and other concerns, Find and exchange ideas, challenges, and solutions with others through live discussion (via chat) during the session, Explore ideas and resources for students' "tech toolbox" including reviewed, device agnostic tools, well suited for BYOD or 1:1 classrooms, and (Follow-Up) Use selected solutions from this session and/or TeachersFirst resources to implement new strategies/resources in an upcoming lesson.
In the ClassroomView this archived webinar to learn some new ideas to implement in your byod/1:1 classroom. Take a look at the resource page to view all sites/resources shared. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomCreate a class Flipboard account and create magazines for each unit studied through the year. Add information that is useful for student understanding, application of concepts, or materials to be used for projects. Create a magazine of great articles and information to read or search through. Consider creating a Flipboard magazine for student current events or happenings. Use this for reports on various topics such as food issues, diseases, political information, cultures around the world, and more. Make a customized "feed" for more advanced information on a topic for your gifted and advanced students. Students can curate a Flipboard of pictures or videos from the web on a certain topic to share with their classmates. Create a Professional Development Flipboard with other teachers. Teacher-librarians may want to work together with classroom teachers to create magazines of certain content for students to use during research units. Challenge your middle and high school gifted students to curate a magazine for themselves on a topic of individual interest, creating a "PLN" they can use for years. For example, a student interested in rocketry can locate and add blogs from rocket scientists, NASA feeds, and more. Talented writers may want to collect feeds from literary publications and author blogs. They will probably also discover related Flipboards created by others. As gifted students' interests change, they can curate other topical "magazines" to keep learning, even if the topics do not fall within the traditional curriculum. You may find that the personalization of learning is something ALL your students want to do.
There are amazing collections on this site.Cindi, NC, Grades: 0 - 6
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomSet up Hootsuite by providing information such as your Twitter and Facebook name. Create columns for the various conversations such as "All Friends," "Facebook status updates," "Direct Messages," and more. Create a new Column to follow all the tweets of a particular person or a specific hashtag. Simply enter the username or the hashtag to instantly follow all conversations. Have more than one Twitter account? No problem. Follow all conversations by adding up to five accounts. Click on the picture of each follower for simple commands such as "Reply," "Retweet," "Direct Message," or "Other actions" to manage the user or the Tweet given. Easily follow or unfollow others. Create a column for each hashtag for the best way to keep track of chats on education topics.
Check that Twitter is accessible at school. Twitter is safest used as a whole class activity. If using Twitter with students, be sure you are following the students in order to monitor their use. Set up searches for curriculum-related topics, such as climate change or earthquakes. Use this tool to manage some of the best professional development around. Learn from other like educators, and challenge thinking and learning to greatly impact the lives of your students. Create connections that help you grow as an individual and an educator. Find more ideas in TeachersFirst's Twitter review.
If you teach gifted students, use Hootsuite on classroom computers for them to set up specific searches related to the topics your class is studying. Challenge them to act as your class Twitter curators, checking out related articles and links that will bring more real-world examples to the rest of the class or raise related debates that the gifted student can investigate. Find professionals in the field for your gifted students to ask questions about their science experiments and interests. Be sure to discuss safety and responsible online behavior if you permit students to send tweets on their own. Of course you will be able to "see" what they have sent if they use a class account.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark (or save) this site for students to use on classroom computers. Demonstrate HOW to use existing activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Experiment together to learn how to build your own activities, as well. Challenge your gifted students to create a simple activity on their own or with a partner, and share it with the class. Find great explanations of various math concepts on this site. Use the search by tag feature. Use to explain the rules of various problems or functions in Math. Have students look over the solutions to the problems and discuss the rules for solving similar problems. Provide time for students to teach the solutions to the class. Follow up with additional problems for practice. Consider using embeds from this site to create your own homework help section of a blog, site, or wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Teachers of gifted will love the open-ended challenge of having students create their own interactive "worksheets."
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSet up accounts for all of your classes. Send homework, project, and supply reminders. Send changes to plans due to a Snow Day. Remind students of upcoming events, practices, or things they need to bring to class or practice. Don't forget any extracurricular activities. You could also use this to communicate with parents. (Allow them to sign up for these updates at back to school night using a laptop or provide them the necessary information on your class web page.) Remind parents of big tests, report cards, field trips, deadlines, back to school night, sneaker days, conferences, and more. Learning Support teachers can promote organizational skills by having students and their parents sign up to receive reminders about tests and homework. Add your own messages to help parents know how to help their elementary child study. Need supply donations? Send out a request using Class Messenger. Set up a faculty reminder group within your school for emergency closures or department meetings and activities.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis tool is great for creating and visualizing math concepts from basic geometric shapes and area to complex constructions and trig. Use on a whiteboard or with a class projector for interactive classroom use. Save or retrieve creations with Dropbox, reviewed here or Google Drive, reviewed here. Use for hands-on work with any geometry or trigonometry functions. Since this tool works on such a variety of devices, it would be ideal to use in a BYOD (or 1:1) geometry class. Art teachers who want to "draw in" their more mathematical students can offer this as a design option, especially when teaching about perspective.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): addition (223), commoncore (96), DAT device agnostic tool (174), decimals (124), division (159), equations (148), fractions (225), functions (71), integers (41), measurement (164), multiples (34), multiplication (210), number sense (96), numbers (194), operations (122), order of operations (38), polynomials (30), pythagorean theorem (32), statistics (124), subtraction (184), time (137)
In the ClassroomAdd a link to classroom computers for use during math centers. Be sure to share a link with parents on your class website or newsletter for math practice at home. Differentiate content based on individual student's needs. If you wish, encourage parents to create individual student accounts to track progress and share with you throughout the school year. Have them email reports or print them out and send to school with younger ones. If you and the parent wish to "share" a login, you could work together to support struggling students. Learning support teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will find this simple tool a great asset in the classroom.
This website is now, out of beta and they have added a lot of new content. Editor's Note - Thank you, we will update our information.ise, , Grades: 0 - 12
Great website for math-practiceise, , Grades: 0 - 12