TeachersFirst's BYOD Dream Tools: Free Tools that Work on ANY device!

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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)

 

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Lose It! - FitNow, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health...more
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"Lose It!" is a comprehensive calorie counting and activity tracking tool; this website provides a free way to monitor calorie intake and output to lose, maintain, or manage health and weight. With great graphics and an available phone application, this tool is so versatile and easy that even younger students could learn to use it. The database of food includes restaurant, grocery, and generic food brands and types.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calories (9), DAT device agnostic tool (167), fitness (50), nutrition (155), obesity (18), social networking (115)

In the Classroom

Try using "Lose It!" in health classes as early as fifth grade to help students become aware of how they spend their calories in a day and just how much they are consuming. Sometimes just this awareness is enough to help some kids stay healthier. Have students do a baseline record what they eat and do with no set rules for three days to a week. Have students analyze with their free weekly reports: what they consumed, how much, and what vitamins and other nutrients that they may need to increase. If students are comfortable sharing information with each other, have them compare reports to get a better and more realistic view of their intake. Have students create a plan to make small changes to diet and activity for a week at a time and then have them check their reports again. This could be a year long, month long, or two week long process. Depending on the incidence of childhood obesity or malnutrition in your area, you can adjust this to fit your needs. If you are concerned about student privacy, create an account for a fictitious person that the entire class can use to analyze hypothetical food intake and more.

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Pearltrees - pearltrees

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows...more
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Pearltrees.com is a great place to organize, share, and store websites for current, future, or collaborative use. More than a standard social bookmarking website, Pearltrees allows you to create trees of sites to show relationships or even the order in which to browse websites. It is extremely simple to sign up, free, and easy to use once you have joined. To use it, you can install an add-on to your browser, use a bookmarklet, or just use your home spot to paste in websites that you want to add to your own pearl tree. There are "big pearls" that function as folders for multiple strands of Internet pearls. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): bookmarks (62), DAT device agnostic tool (167), webquests (30)

In the Classroom

In the simplest form, Pearltrees could be used to store links for classes that you are teaching or taking. More creatively, however, you could use this site to create a guided online field trip from one site to another. Even try pairing Pearltrees with the use of a highlighting style website such as Webklipper reviewed here, to direct students to the information on the site that you, as their teacher, want them to see. Try turning the tables on your students, and have them create a Pearltree for short research projects or as a working bibliography for their research papers. 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.

Comments

This is my favorite bookmark tool for my use. I have not used it with students but I love it for organizing things I want to go back to over and over. Charity, MD, Grades: 9 - 12

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Magisto - Magisto, LLC

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This "magical," cloud-based video editing service uses your unedited footage and turns it into more exciting short movies to share with others (or random mashups of your footage.) The...more
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This "magical," cloud-based video editing service uses your unedited footage and turns it into more exciting short movies to share with others (or random mashups of your footage.) The technology analyzes the footage using facial recognition. It is able to sort out pets from people as well as backgrounds, landscapes, and behaviors. This is one of the simplest video editing sites around. Simply upload your files, and Magisto does the rest. Uploaded videos are analyzed and edited to remove less interesting parts, including blurry sections or not-so-great footage. Choose from a selection of music to overlay the clip or upload your own. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Like using YouTube? Any video uploaded to YouTube can be edited automatically using Magisto's tools integrated in the YouTube site. Note: Uploading your video footage transfers rights to your content to Magisto!

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), video (273)

In the Classroom

Use as an easy way to edit videos without using costly programs or difficult, time consuming applications. Use for any video that needs to be edited before placing on a wiki, blog, or site. Use for any student project, videotaping of classroom activities, or tapes of students explaining their experiment. Create a compilation video of short clips from throughout the year to share as an end of the year overview. Take long sections of video from a field trip and use Magisto to shorten to the most important bits. Magisto. 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.

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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
20 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), digital storytelling (156), speech (92)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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Collaborize Classroom - Democrasoft

Grades
3 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about...more
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Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about Collaborize Classroom including 8 Online Icebreakers. Tutorials for learning how to enter students into groups, creating new groups, and choosing discussion types exist. Consensus discussions such as yes/no, multiple choice, and vote/suggest can be chosen. Open discussions can occur using the forum discussion type. Add video, images, documents, and more to your discussions. Students, however, cannot upload material to the discussions. Because it is a closed group, outside comments are not a concern (group members must be added, invited, or approved). The process from setup to a functioning site is very simple. Tutorials and technical support is available and make this tool very easy to use. Use participation and activity tools in Collaborize Classroom to track student participation. Use the available PDF's for assistance in using Collaborize Classroom and ideas to use in class to stimulate discussions and engage learning. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), forum (9), polls and surveys (54)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for discussions, project collaboration, voting on issues, and sharing resources in and out of the classroom. Increase student participation and encourage in-class discussions and outside homework, extension of the classroom, and activity. Use for blended learning activities that include discussion questions to extend the discussions from in class to outside the classroom. Provide multiple choice questions that they can answer, agree or disagree with statements, post comments, or vote on other responses. Use the discussions to debate issues in the school community or within the country. Critique and comment on current events as they are happening. Use to discuss environmental problems. Use groupings to create literature circles. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

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Dropbox - Dropbox

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox ...more
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Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox and it is accessible everywhere you use it. Simply copy, save, or move the document into Dropbox. Easily sync and share. Revert to previous versions of the document for up to 30 days (for the free version.) No access to Internet at one of your locations? No problem as your Dropbox file stays in Dropbox and the next time you are online it will upload it for you. Share Dropbox files with other users for easy collaboration. Apps for Dropbox are available (at the time of this review) for iPod touch, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid. Now share files and folders with others by clicking on "Get Link." Share the link with others even if they do not have a Dropbox account. What could be better? You can continue to add to the folder and those you share with will see every new addition! This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. Though not a complete back up of all your documents, Dropbox can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any item you can work with using word can be used with Dropbox. Use this site to help all of your students (gifted, learning support, ADD) stay organized. 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. Share whole files and folders with students easily!

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Edmodo - Edmodo

Grades
7 to 12
11 Favorites 1  Comments
    
Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library...more
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Edmodo is a complete, online environment for classroom management, learning, and more. Use Edmodo for sharing content, accessing homework, grades, and announcements. Create a library to store your assignments, quizzes, and units. Post assignment reminders, quizzes (automatically graded), build an event calendar, and post messages to groups as well. Create multiple classes and have students join via the class code. Then, you can create small groups from your class rosters on Edmodo. Designed specifically for education, teachers can create a network for their classes where members can quickly respond to each other. Use the Snapshot feature to align quizzes with Common Core Standards. Gamify your class, if you'd like, using their badges or importing your own. Use the parent sign up to keep them in the loop. Find other educators and groups to connect with and follow your interests. Use Edmodo from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. YouTube hosts all support and training videos for how to implement Edmodo. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (106), blogs (89), classroom management (148), DAT device agnostic tool (167), game based learning (112), gamification (74), microblogging (45)

In the Classroom

View a screencast demo of using Edmodo here. Before using with a class, create a master administrator and also create two to three "fake students" to practice using Edmodo for a few weeks. Use this suggestion not only to understand how to use Edmodo but to also determine how it will be used in the classroom. Allow students to register by using your group code. 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.

Use this service for class scribes to detail what has been learned that day. In Math, instruct scribes to discuss how to solve a problem. Better yet, allow students the opportunity to discuss how they solve specific problems to identify more than one manner of solving. During class presentations, use Edmodo to provide feedback to the presenter. During videos, students can maintain backchannel discussions in order to recap events, ask for clarification, or carry on meaningful discussion of the content. Use to create stories one line at a time with collaboration from the whole class. Ask questions from the days work to identify which concepts are causing problems with students and need to be reinforced. Post assignments in Edmodo. Students can access assignments and ask questions for clarification. Discuss environmental, health, or other social issues to identify other viewpoints and concerns. Still need more ideas? Check the Edmodo blog.

Comments

Edmodo is a terrific resource for communicating with teachers and students. It's Facebook-like interface is familiar and inviting for users. Tim, , Grades: 0 - 6

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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. Podomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Podomatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), podcasts (55)

In the Classroom

Podomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.

Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.

If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.

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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), homework (46), journals (21), writing (364)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Piktochart, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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Todoist - Todoist

Grades
4 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. With the free account you will have access to 10 (or more) platforms, a built in calendar, recurring due dates, sub-tasks and sub-projects,...more
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Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. With the free account you will have access to 10 (or more) platforms, a built in calendar, recurring due dates, sub-tasks and sub-projects, set task priorities, collaboration with 5 people per project, have a secure connection and more. Set up free accounts in minutes with email. The intro and support videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (46), DAT device agnostic tool (167), organizational skills (129)

In the Classroom

Your students need to know about time management skills. Todoist will help you teach them and give them practice. Any student would appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector the first week of school to help students set-up their own accounts. Parents may appreciate learning about this site also. Use this site professionally to keep yourself organized! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/hers together so students can see how it works.

Comments

What a fabulous organizational tool for teachers and students! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to ...more
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to use Lino. Join and create your own canvases to share stickies, reminders, files, and more. Change sticky colors from the menu in the upper right hand corner or use the easy editing tools that appear when the sticky is selected. Use the icons at the bottom of each sticky note to "peel them off," share, edit, and more. Create a group from your Lino page to share and collaborate on canvases. You can also share canvases publicly so anyone with the URL can participate. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): collages (17), creative fluency (8), creativity (119), DAT device agnostic tool (167), gamification (74), note taking (38)

In the Classroom

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. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.

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Symbaloo EDU - Symbaloo BV

Grades
K to 12
16 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo...more
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Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Choose EDU Teachers site tour (a blue tile) to learn more about Symbaloo EDU or begin exploring color-coded links on your own. Choose the EDU Tools WebMix to find links to classroom resources for social networking, video and image tools, and much more. Other WebMixes designed specifically for educators include widgets for classroom use, educational headlines, and much more. Tailor web resources to your individual need by creating your own WebMixes. Add tiles to instantly connect students with the resources you choose. Accounts are free but require a password (and email verification). Click "Edit WebMix" to change the background, rename the webmix, and edit the tiles. Link tiles to website URL's or RSS feed links. Hover over a tile to bring up a simple menu. Click "edit" to paste the URL of the resource, enter a title, and change icons and colors. Select any name to be displayed on the tile. Be sure to click "Done editing" when finished, and then "Share" to choose publicly or privately with friends. Use the embed code to embed directly into your class website or blog. Download the free iPhone or Android apps for use on mobile phones or use Symbaloo in your tablet browser as it has been maximized for use on these devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bookmarks (62), DAT device agnostic tool (167), gamification (74)

In the Classroom

Be sure to know the URL's of the resources you are planning to share or have them open in other tabs to copy/paste. To share you must be able to copy/paste URLs (web addresses). Have older students create their own webmixes, but this resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use in specific projects or as general course links. If shared with the world, the webmix can be viewed by others and is public.

Create a webmix of the most used sites for your class and first demonstrate how the webmix works on a projector or interactive whiteboard if you have special instructions or color coding for its use. Some examples include links to copyright free images, online textbooks, or online tools such as Google Docs, ThingLink, Prezi, and more. 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. Use this AS your class website. Color code the tiles on a webmix for younger, non-reader, or ESL/ELL students. For example, color each subject differently from the others. Differentiate by color coding varying levels of skills practice at a classroom computer center or to distinguish homework practice sites from in-class sites. Differentiate difficulty levels using the various colors enabling you to list resources for both your learning support students and gifted students and all in between. Use color to organize tools for different projects or individual students. You may want to share this resource with parents at Back to School Night and the color-coding system for differentiation. This will help parents (and students) find what sites are ideal for their levels. Be sure to link or embed your webmix on a computer center in your room for easy access. Share a review site webmix for parents and students to access at home before tests, as well. Team up with other teachers in your subject/grade to create chapter by chapter webmixes for all your students.

Challenge your gifted students to curate and collaborate on their own webmixes as a curriculum extension activity on topics such as climate change or pros and cons of genetically engineered food. They can use color coding to sort sites by bias (or neutrality) as well as to group subtopics under the overall theme. Use the student-made webmixes with other students to raise the overall level of discussion in your class or as an extra credit challenge. If you embed the webmix in a class wiki, all students can respond with questions and comments for the gifted students to moderate and reply, creating a student-led community of learners.

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MindMeister - MeisterLabs GmbH

Grades
4 to 12
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MindMeister is a free mind mapping program. It is easy to use online, on your mobile, or offline. Only the BASIC plan is free, allowing you up to 3 free ...more
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MindMeister is a free mind mapping program. It is easy to use online, on your mobile, or offline. Only the BASIC plan is free, allowing you up to 3 free mind maps. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. There are many highly interactive features: printing, sharing (emailing), and collaborating with others in "real time."

tag(s): brainstorming (25), DAT device agnostic tool (167), graphic organizers (43), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

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. Realize that you can only make 3 maps for free, but you can always delete old ones to make room. Play with the tools and toolbars to create a mind map; use toolbars to collaborate, publish, or print diagrams. Creating the organizers is of easy to medium difficulty depending upon how elaborate you desire your organizer to be (don't miss the notes feature!). A handy revision "history" helps you see what changes were made when. See the blog for helpful video tutorials and tips. Note: to use the "real time" collaboration feature, collaborators need individual email accounts to gain access.

Note that maps that are "published" can be seen by the public (read only, so they cannot be altered). If a map is shared via a URL, only those that were "invited" to view the map will be able to see it. However, this does require each viewer to sign up (free) to MindMeister to be able to view this map. You can specify members who may collaborate and make alterations to a map that is not "published." You can also invite other members to view (but not change) unpublished maps.

The class can create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or, you can assign students in cooperative groups to create a mind map as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plotline, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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Befunky - Tekin Tatar, Tolga Birdal, and Mehmet Ozkanoglu

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Turn photographs into oil paintings, stencils, line drawings and much more with Befunky. You can doctor photos with bad lighting, fuzzy image, or poor exposure. The humorous elements...more
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Turn photographs into oil paintings, stencils, line drawings and much more with Befunky. You can doctor photos with bad lighting, fuzzy image, or poor exposure. The humorous elements on the "goodies" screen will allow you to add glasses, facial hair, picture frames, doodles, or speech bubbles. The text feature contains 11 different kinds of fonts. Befunky can directly post photos onto social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Flicker, Bebo, PhotoBucket, and Picasa. Befunky will automatically store all original and manipulated photos into a private personal library. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Photo effects come with a free account and pop up ads. Other subscriptions and site capabilities cost money. There are drawbacks: "Befunky.com" is in the bottom right corner of the final product, they continually ask about upgrades, and the photo file is the size of a thumbnail.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), design (82), impressionism (5)

In the Classroom

Create more compelling graphics for presentations, multi-media projects, reports, yearbooks, newsletters, or class websites. When publishing student writing, liven up the "About the Author" page with a more artistic photograph of the author. Instead of using a dull student mug shot for the class job board or for class routine charts, replace it with photo illustrations. Share class rules through interesting "characters" speaking on the bulletin board! The speech bubble option may help students learn to write in the first person narrative, or reveal the unspoken thoughts of a character from a book or point in time. Use BeFunky characters in a center for creative writing or as visual writing prompts for the entire class. Use the images for creating political posters for fictitious candidates and their platforms. Photograph a reenactment of scenes from a fairy tale or folktale. Transform these photos into illustrations for a wordless interactive online book using a tool such as on Bookemon reviewed here. Students participating in a social network for class such as a blog or wiki, will enjoy using Befunky to create entertaining profile pictures. 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. Many schools prohibit use of "social networking" sites. Check your school policies and/or obtain parent permission before allowing students to use social features. Spell out specific permissions and consequences. Of course you will also want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online gallery.

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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is available on the web, but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! The free account offer 60 MB of new uploads per MONTH, and syncing across 2 devices. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), images (277), organizational skills (129)

In the Classroom

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. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This ...more
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This tool is great for PC-based schools without access to other free video or multimedia creation software. Create 30 second videos including music choices from over 300 soundtracks. A typical thirty second video requires twelve images making this a reasonable choice for projects with middle and high school level students. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the landing or pricing page and find the column titled "Animoto For" and slide to "Education" you will see that teachers can apply for the full Animoto for free for use in their classroom. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): animation (65), DAT device agnostic tool (167), images (277), movies (70), photography (162), slides (65), video (273)

In the Classroom

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. Users need the basic understanding of how to upload pictures, videos, and other media, especially a user adding personalized content. Use stock images and media available through the site if you prefer. To create a show, simply click on the create button and follow the onscreen instructions. If adding personal images and video, the program allows searching through files. Add music from the site bank or from personal music sources (copyright-free, of course). Finalize the video with the last click and view your video. Share easily from the codes or export tools provided. Use Animoto to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Padlet - Padlet

Grades
2 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) is a free application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. Easily create an account and build a ...more
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Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) is a free application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. Easily create an account and build a new board. You can add images, links, videos, and more. You can return to add more later. Installing Padlet Mini in your browser allows you to add the page you are browsing to your Padlet and gives you a shortcut to view your Padlets. Settings allow you to make your wall completely open for public contributions, completely private, or moderated by you (you approve all contributions before they show). This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): bulletin boards (17), DAT device agnostic tool (167), gamification (74), images (277)

In the Classroom

Use a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. 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. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."

Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.

Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.

Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.

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Starfall - Starfall Education

Grades
K to 3
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension...more
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension strategies. Seasonal activities can also be found on the main page. The four "levels" of reading at Starfall include "ABCs," "Learn to Read," "It's Fun to Read," and "I'm Reading." There is also a premium option, this review is only for the free interactives. The app (available on iOs, Google Play and Kindle Fire) offers more free intereactives than the web version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), phonics (72)

In the Classroom

This website could be used for an entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You could also set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Remember The Milk - Remember the Milk.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will ...more
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Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will remind you: email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo) are all supported. Set up a free account in minutes. Secondary students will embrace this tool to remind them of tests or assignments or sporting events. List making has made it to a whole new level.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), organizational skills (129), time (141)

In the Classroom

Read the Blog at this site to learn many cool ways to interact with your personal computer an devices using RTM. Learning support teachers and teachers of disorganized gifted students may want to "model" using such an online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Make a demo account for a "mythical" student and organize him/her together so students can see how it works. You will have to check school policies and access to some of the messaging tools, however, since some may be prohibited in your school. Learning support and gifted teachers will welcome this online tool as an engaging way for students to become better-organized. Give students a tech tool, and they just might try it!

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Wordle - Jonathan Feinberg

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a wordle of the text. If you make a Wordle, you can choose your own colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. Students can view creations others have made or make their own with or without saving them to the database of clouds. You can also print creations, open them in a window without borders, or link to them from a home page (html code is provided for the link). This site requires Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. However, this site is now a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), speech (92), vocabulary (325), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

You need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! 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.

The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.

Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.

Comments

So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare). Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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