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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Stencyl - Stencyl, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stencyl allows you to design and build your own and Flash games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create ...more
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Stencyl allows you to design and build your own and Flash games without any knowledge of programming. Download the program and use their Photo Shop "like" toolset to create the game of your dreams. Visit Stencylpedia to get started by viewing videos, demos, and sample projects. Stencyl also has a library for backgrounds and actors, or you can import graphics from your Mac or P.C. The click and drag capability empowers those with a creative game idea to see it come to reality without knowing any code. Share your game with Stencyl, or on your own site or blog. Stencyl also has tools for creating iOS (iPhone, iTouch, iPad) games, but they are not free (rats!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (121), gamification (78), quizzes (101)

In the Classroom

Create games for student review and/or practice, or use to assess knowledge before and after a unit. View example games for an idea of what you can create using this tool. One of the best learning tools for kids is to have them create their OWN games. Use your own teacher account so you do not need student emails at school. Ideally, students can create games for either learning or review for their fellow classmates. Assign a small group of students to create a game and then act as "host" to present their research information on a topic and keep the "audience" engaged. Learning support teachers might want to work together with a small group of students to create review games on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The process of creating the game provides another layer of review/practice before students play the game for more repetition.

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Edublog - Edublogs.org

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids ...more
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids some of the "public interaction" that can offer inappropriate content. Upgrade to more advanced features, to include more options. The additional information on blogging makes this site very valuable even if you already have a blogging platform. Find a plethora of advice, tutorials, pdfs, and lesson plans for blogging. This site is a great reference site for all who are beginning to use blogs, or even look for more varied and effective ways to log with students, or even other classes. Compare this tool to other free blogging tools mentioned in TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (86), DAT device agnostic tool (173)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite for all of your blogging needs. Find very informative instructions on blogging, and follow the student blogging challenge lesson plans. ) 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. Peruse through the various subjects and discover how other teachers use blogging in their classrooms. Using the given PDFs on blogging start up, parent guidelines, incorporating into subject areas, and adapt to make them suitable for you. Look at a variety of examples to help devise your own unique style to meet your students' needs.

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Mugeda - mugeda.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and...more
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and publish HTML5 animation. Basic tutorials guide you to create content with easy to follow instructions. Animation applications include; games, ads, cartoons, tutorials, or persuasive commercials. Use tablets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Note that HTML5 works on iPads and iTouches, where most Flash-based sites do not.

tag(s): animation (66), comics and cartoons (65), DAT device agnostic tool (173)

In the Classroom

Bring along Mugeda in your bag of tricks to capture and intrigue all of your students. Use Mugeda to illustrate class content, support debate, persuade, and entertain. The possibilities are endless! Add the creations to your website to share with your community. Use on school news programs to add student content without cost, and make information available for all levels of student abilities. Create commercials for your content or to convey information. In history classes go back in time to envision popular opinion that made history happen. Use during campaigns to promote your side of the debate. Science fairs will never be the same. Highlight projects to create anticipation. Send messages to students using the embedded tool. This programming tool has applications in all subject areas. Gifted students, ELL/ESL students, and remedial students will be captivated by this high interest way of expressing themselves.

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Trello - Fog Creek Software

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, ...more
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Trello organizes your projects into boards. It tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Updates are shown in real time, so refreshing the site isn't necessary. The two main items used on boards are cards and lists. Cards are tasks; create a card for each task and drag it to the list. Attachments such as videos, due dates, user notes, and more can be attached to cards. Then pull each card into a list and place in any order necessary to complete the tasks. You can be identified with an @symbol and receive instant notifications.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), graphic organizers (43), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Use this site in the classroom for organizing any long term project such as a research report or collaborative projects. Create a board for each group with a timeline and assign parts for each project. Gradually release the responsibility from one project to the next, asking students to create their own task lists so they learn time management. Teachers of learning support and gifted will love this tool as a way to teach organizational skills. Share it with parents to support their organizationally challenged students. Yearbook or school newspaper advisors may want to consider this site for organizing and assigning tasks. Share this site with your school's PTA as a resource for organizing and planning school events.

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ThingLink - Thinglink.com

Grades
2 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home...more
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ThingLink is an interactive image tool offering a unique way to link "things" within images. Teachers and students should register using the EDU area. Although the example on the home page uses Facebook to share a ThingLink, you do not have to use Facebook at all. Start with an image from upload, online url, or Flickr. Select specific items within your image (called "things") and link them to resources or other websites. By clicking an area within the image, viewers can access the "thing" (website) that you have linked. Add multiple links to separate items from areas within a single image. Choose or upload an image and click on the ThingLink icon on your image to begin editing. Click on specific spots to add information to the link. If you plan to create many Thinglinks from your own images, it may be easier to use a class or personal Flickr account to pull images from instead of using the maximum number of images to upload. Preload your images to that Flickr account before starting your ThingLinks. Free Android and iOS apps are available. Teacher tools include making student groups and more.

tag(s): bookmarks (66), DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (121), gamification (78), images (271)

In the Classroom

Use digital images of lab experiments or class activities for sharing on a class wiki or blog with clickable enhancements offering additional information. Have students add links or even a blog reaction or explanation to their project or experiment image. Use the site for making a photography or art portfolio blog. Have students annotate images to explain their work or various techniques they used. World language or ESL/ELL teachers can enhance images with links to sound files or other explanations for better understanding. Use in world language to label items in an image with the correct words in that language. Young students could write simple sentences to practice language skills while explaining about a favorite picture or activity. Use in Science to explain the experiment or in a Consumer Science class to explain cooking or other techniques. Consider creating a class account for student groups to use together. Teachers can create a ThingLink of an image with questions and links that students must investigate to respond as a self-directed learning activity. An image of a tree could have questions and links about types of leaves, photosynthesis, and the seasons, for example. Gifted students could create a collection of annotated images that link to sound files to add "personalities" to science objects (think of the talking trees in the Wizard of Oz) or create an annotated image of a almost anything they research to go beyond regular curriculum they have already mastered: Annotate an image of a food product to link to information about its sources and potential harms. Annotate an image of a campaign poster and "debunk" its claims with links to video clips that show the politician in action, etc. Annotate an advertisement with links its propaganda techniques. Teens with a sophisticated sense of humor will especially enjoy linking to ironic examples that debunk or offer a satire of the original!

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. The wording on their site indicates that ClassDojo "will always stay free for teachers."

Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child.

tag(s): behavior (46), classroom management (155), DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (121), gamification (78)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Pinterest - Pinterest.com

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Browse the site without registration. Type Edu in the search ...more
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Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Browse the site without registration. Type Edu in the search bar, and find an Education area with menu tabs like Science, Elementary, English, Higher, STEM, and more. Images have a short caption; clicking on a picture gives the option to Repin or Like. To create/add to your pinboards, register for free. If you have an account, you can Repin the picture to a pinboard you have titled and created within your account. Click on the image again to visit the original site of the image. Often this is just what you are looking for to learn specific details. You can also search Pinterest for specific items such as Guided Reading, File Folder Activities, or other classroom needs. Pinterest members can "follow" other users and see their new items as they add them to their pinboards. Use Pinterest on any device or computer, and there is a related Facebook app.

tag(s): architecture (84), cooking (32), creativity (121), DAT device agnostic tool (173), fashion (10), guided reading (46), nutrition (154), organizational skills (128), professional development (162), social media (22), social networking (113)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding printables and other items for classroom use. Create your own pinboards for organizing classroom resources found on the web. Create pinboards for students to view and/or add to as a whole class activity, such as "things that use energy," food groups, or groups of items for primary level vocabulary/practice (clothing items, farm animals, clock faces for telling time, etc.). Maybe even create "which one does not belong?" pinboards for PreK and early grades to view and change on an interactive whiteboard and repeat at home. In higher grades, make pinboards for different subjects or units where you collect videos, images, classroom blogs and websites, etc. Share your pinboards with students and parents by putting the link on your class website. Challenge your older students to create their own pinboards as a research project. Use Pinterest to show their hobbies/passions, wise quotes, recipes that fit a specific theme, art/lyrics, or a travel Itinerary. Follow other teachers using Pinterest to see items that they are adding and using in their classrooms. Add TeachersFirst to your pinboards! Note: Take a screenshot of something you find to upload to Pinterest!

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Sharon, OH, Grades: 4 - 12

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Socrative - Socrative.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative is in beta at this time and is free. Their ...more
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Socrative is a smart student response system -- the answer to not having expensive "educational clickers" in your classroom. Socrative is in beta at this time and is free. Their apps work on tablets, smartphones, iPod Touch, laptops, and others. There is an introductory video demonstrating teacher and student logins and how your class will interact in real-time. You can create your own multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. You may also choose to use one of their ready-made activities as exit tickets, thoughtful questions, or games. See your students' responses in an Excel file or view online as a Google spreadsheet. Multiple choice questions are automatically corrected.

tag(s): chat (54), DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (121), gamification (78), polls and surveys (54), questioning (34), social networking (113)

In the Classroom

If you've ever wanted greater student engagement, increased student interest, and heightened discussion and interactivity in your classroom, Socrative is the answer. Students can give their input and express their views anonymously, if you wish.

In any curriculum area, ask open-ended questions and display student responses with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Students could then use a tool like Votesy, reviewed here to vote on the options.

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (173), fitness (49), nutrition (154), obesity (18), social networking (113)

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 (66), DAT device agnostic tool (173), webquests (20)

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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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 (173), digital storytelling (153), 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 (173), forum (8), 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 (173), writing (366)

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 (109), blogs (86), classroom management (155), DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (121), gamification (78), microblogging (40)

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 (173), podcasts (58)

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 (173), homework (42), journals (21), writing (366)

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 (173), organizational skills (128)

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 (18), creative fluency (8), creativity (121), DAT device agnostic tool (173), gamification (78), note taking (39)

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 then find the "Tour" (a blue tile) to learn more...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 then find the "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.
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tag(s): bookmarks (66), DAT device agnostic tool (173), gamification (78)

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 Symbaloo EDU 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. If you are just starting with Symbaloo, this is a simple way to differentiate, however, Symbaloo now has a Lesson Plans tool (also called Learning Paths), reviewed here, to help you differentiate for individual or groups of 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
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (26), DAT device agnostic tool (173), graphic organizers (43), mind map (24)

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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