Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst

This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online signup sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more. Mark your Favorites using your free TeachersFirst membership, so you can find them quickly!

For a full listing of reviewed "creation" tools by category, try the TeachersFirst Edge, today's hottest tools for creating teacher and student projects online. 

 

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Dotstorming - Gareth Marland

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create an online bulletin board (much like Padlet, reviewed here, or Lino, reviewed here) for brainstorming and...more
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Create an online bulletin board (much like Padlet, reviewed here, or Lino, reviewed here) for brainstorming and VOTING on any topic. The voting is what makes this tool different. Create an account. There is no waiting for email approval. Add a board, title, select how many votes the participants will have (up to 10), and start adding posts with text, images, and video. Add images and video via URL or upload from your computer. When participants join, they give their name. Participants can add posts. Names of participants using the board appear below the chat box. Participants name's appear when they make a comment in the chat. However, comments on posts don't have the participant name. Once the board is complete, the creator can finalize the board so no new ideas can be posted, but the voting feature is still open.

tag(s): bulletin boards (18), gamification (78), images (272)

In the Classroom

Share your board with a projector or interactive whiteboard. Put the URL link on your website for students to access. If you don't want to share the link that way, then use a tool such as Google URL Shortener, reviewed here, for students to type in (and reduce input mistakes). You may want to think about students using only their first name or their code to participate. Dotstorming does not show which posts belong to which student, so you may want to require that students identify their post and comment by putting their initials, their first name, or their code on their contributions to get credit. If you plan to allow 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.

Use Dotstorming to collect WebQuest links and information to share with students. Assign a student project. For example, have students create a board about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, 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 board around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. The voting is perfect for that idea! Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a board. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use Dotstorming to create a board with class news and updates.

Use Dotstorming as an "idea bin" where students can collect ideas, images, quotes, and more for a project. Require them to share a brainstorming Dotstorming board to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and rank by votes) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or a "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Dotstorming as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.

Use Dotstorming as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Have students submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on.

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LearnCube - Dan O'Reilly, Aura-Maria Serrano and Pat O'Reilly

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create a virtual language school with LearnCube. The free version allows for the creation of a virtual classroom of up to six students. Teach using conversation mode or a virtual ...more
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Create a virtual language school with LearnCube. The free version allows for the creation of a virtual classroom of up to six students. Teach using conversation mode or a virtual whiteboard. Personalize your learning space with your own logo and colors. Use the 1GB storage space to upload images, worksheets, or other teaching materials. The free plan also includes up to 10 hours of "live" teaching time each month. Please note that the landing page says this is a 14-day free trial, but under pricing there is a FREE option.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): french (92), german (67), spanish (109)

In the Classroom

Use LearnCube to offer personalized instruction to small groups of students or homebound students without access to school lessons. Because LearnCube's free plan only allows for classrooms of six students, be creative in using this site for your whole class. Divide students into six groups, each of whom becomes "a student" in your virtual room. If you teach multiple classes, create a common login for each different class to become a student, or use the Gmail workaround, explained here, to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

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AppInventor - Learn to Build Android Apps - David Wolber, Univ of San Francisco's Democratize Computing Lab

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create your own Android app using Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech video with this easy to follow tutorial. The Course In a Box includes several modules taking ...more
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Create your own Android app using Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech video with this easy to follow tutorial. The Course In a Box includes several modules taking you step by step through the app building process. Videos and practice exercises guide you through the app creation process while building up in complexity. Final lessons teach skills such as apps that communicate with the web and apps with user-generated data. Registration allows you to save your work. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos on this site 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 KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): coding (62), computers (99), STEM (164)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use with any computer coding course. AppInventor has many tips and guidance for the classroom. Materials target students from middle school and higher. Work together as a class or assign as a self-paced activity. Share with students interested in learning computer coding as an excellent resource. If your school has an after-school computer club, use these training modules to encourage interested students to practice on their own. Once students get the hang of beginning programming tips, encourage them to make apps for other courses such as videos explaining photosynthesis, book readings from authors, or different genres of music and art.

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turnitin - Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER) - turnitin

Grades
6 to 12
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Find an interactive rubric for evaluating the quality of Internet sources students use in academic writing and projects. Fill out a short registration form to have immediate free access...more
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Find an interactive rubric for evaluating the quality of Internet sources students use in academic writing and projects. Fill out a short registration form to have immediate free access to the rubric as a PDF. The criteria for the rubric includes Authoritative, Educational Value, Intent, Originality, and Quality. Below the rubric see an example of three popular sites evaluated with SEER and the scores given for each criterion. Download the rubric to your computer. Once filled in save it to your computer and print.

tag(s): evaluating sources (15), media literacy (64), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Share this rubric with middle and high school students with your projector or on an interactive whiteboard. Ask students to suggest a popular site for referencing in papers and projects. Use the rubric together and evaluate the site. Break students into small groups and have them evaluate several sites. Make these sites you have already evaluated, and then have the students evaluate them until you know most students agree on what makes a Highly Creditable site compared to a Creditable or Discreditable site. At the end of the activity give a quick assessment. This way students who do not feel sure about evaluating a site have the opportunity to let you know. Consider using Quiz Socket, reviewed here, for a quick assessment or Quizalize, reviewed here, for a more in-depth assessment.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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QuickRubric - Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Develop rubrics to assess what you expect students to learn with Quick Rubric. Registration is free and allows for saving the rubric. Click Create a Rubric and add a title, ...more
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Develop rubrics to assess what you expect students to learn with Quick Rubric. Registration is free and allows for saving the rubric. Click Create a Rubric and add a title, brief description, and the maximum and minimum scores. Describe your indicators, add descriptors, and even include standards. At any time during the formation of the rubric add columns and rows. Save and share via URL or printing. The ability to copy and modify a rubric from your account is a great time-saver.

tag(s): assessment (109), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Use this online tool to create original rubrics before introducing a new project. Be sure to review the rubric with your students on a projector or interactive whiteboard, to be certain that they understand your expectations. As you approach the project deadlines, consider reviewing the rubric again having students mark or highlight key terms in the rubric that will help them get a better evaluation. Have a question and answer period at this time. Rubrics can be created for any task or project. For example, prepare rubrics for silent reading time, science labs, skills tasks in physical education, and all presentations. Visit Rubrics to the Rescue to see examples of topics and wording.

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Intel Teach Elements - Online Professional Development Courses - Intel

Grades
K to 12
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Learn how to engage students through digital learning, integrate technology into any curriculum, and effectively use digital resources in the classroom with these free, online courses....more
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Learn how to engage students through digital learning, integrate technology into any curriculum, and effectively use digital resources in the classroom with these free, online courses. Multimedia contents include animated eLearning tutorials and interactive learning exercises. Begin any of the self-paced courses anytime and complete them at your own pace.

tag(s): professional development (162)

In the Classroom

Gain a better understanding of digital learning tools and techniques by taking Intel's professional development courses. Share with other faculty members as part of your school's professional development. Take a course together with fellow staff members and discuss content and how it works in your teaching situation.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Takeout Tool - Google

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
The Google Takeout Tool is a backup service to your Google account. It allows you to back up and create an offline archive of your information stored on Google. Select ...more
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The Google Takeout Tool is a backup service to your Google account. It allows you to back up and create an offline archive of your information stored on Google. Select what you want to archive then choose next. Choose the format to receive your archived data and delivery method. Receive data through email or directly into your Google Drive account.

tag(s): organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

The Google Takeout Tool is perfect for use when changing email accounts or using multiple accounts. Archive all desired files then upload to your new account when ready.

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Plickers - Nolan Amy

Grades
1 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers),...more
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All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers), to answer questions. You use your mobile device to read the QR Code cards that students hold up. Create an account and get started immediately. No need to wait for an email response. There is a demo to use, or see the Help page for detailed instructions for adding classes, students, questions (with or without images), and folders to organize your questions by unit, topic, lesson and more. You can save student responses to your online Plicker account.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (109), DAT device agnostic tool (173), game based learning (119), gamification (78), qr codes (22), questioning (34), quiz (88)

In the Classroom

Create greater student engagement and increased student interest in your classroom with Plickers. Students give their input anonymously. Print out Plickers' cards and hand out to students. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to explain how the Plickers cards work. Create questions, with or without images, and add multiple choice answers. Project your questions and possible answers. Have students hold up their card in the position that reflects their answer. Use your mobile device and Plickers mobile app to scan the cards. You will see a bar graph with student responses on your mobile device. These can be saved to your Plickers account. Use Plickers to answer exit questions or to see what students remember from the previous day. Use for formative assessment to identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. There are cards with larger fonts for young students or the visually impaired. ESL/ELL teachers could use this for vocabulary or sentence structure practice. Unless your school or district has access to a matte-finish for laminating or matte-plastic pockets, you may want to collect the cards at the end of class.

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Word Counter Tool - wordcountertool.com

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
The Word Counter Tool offers a word and character counter and a typing speed finder. Simply type or paste in your text to see your word and character count. To ...more
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The Word Counter Tool offers a word and character counter and a typing speed finder. Simply type or paste in your text to see your word and character count. To find your typing speed, press the start button and type for one minute.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (69), process writing (46), word choice (26), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Post a link to the Word Counter Tool on your webpage for parents and students to use at home to check the length of written assignments. Use this tool when teaching summarizing. Provide students with a lengthy summary then challenge students to reduce the word count.

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Is It Down Right Now? - isitdownrightnow.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) ...more
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Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) instantly "pings" a site so you can tell whether the site is down for everyone or just for you (perhaps due to a glitch with your Internet provider). The Internet is never a sure thing, but this tool tells you whether it's just YOU having trouble. Although it sounds geeky, it's easy. Copy/paste or type the URL you are trying to reach into the box at top right, and click "Check." The results tell you how long it takes for the site to respond and how long it has been down (if it is). What a handy tool for ANYONE using the web! What this tool will not tell you is if you are mistyping the URL, so always double check.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites and remind your student to use it before they call out, "The page isn't opening!" in the middle of class. Make it one of the required tools as part of "ask three before me." If you have a class web page, this is a handy way to find out if your web page service (or district-provided web page server) is having trouble "serving up" the class page. Tell savvy students who are unable to access web sites to use this tool and take a screen shot of the results if a site assigned for homework is "down" for prolonged periods. This is simple "proof" worthy of a get-out-of-homework-free card if they can show that the site was down for three hours on the night of the assignment!

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Dice Roll - S Riley Teacherled

Grades
K to 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and ...more
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Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and under furniture. Choose from one, two, or three virtual die at a time. Simply click Roll and start the guessing.

tag(s): game based learning (119), mental math (29), operations (123), probability (131)

In the Classroom

Have fun in your classroom with virtual dice on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this with young students just learning to count. Have students take a guess about what number will "win." Use as an incentive and allow a student to roll the dice to meet a class goal. Set a goal of a large number, and every time a small goal is achieved, roll the dice and keep adding. Keep track until the class achieves the sum given. Practice basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts. Have team competitions and choose winners by even/odd, the greatest/least sum, greatest/least product or quotient. Allow students to work in small groups to play the mathematical practice games. For larger digits, roll two die simultaneously and get the greater number. Do the same to get double or triple digit numbers. Encourage your students to practice at home and play against their parents. Any time you need a dice, go to your bookmarked site. In older grades study probability and chance. Use the data and create line plots or graphs in various forms. Be sure to incorporate mean, median, and mode.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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HomeRoom Mom - School Family Media

Grades
K to 8
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working...more
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working with students! Choose from the many categories to find ideas for decorations, crafts, holidays, and much more. Select Letters, Flyers, and Forms to find a yearly planning calendar, party sign-up sheets, and other handy forms for immediate use.

tag(s): classroom management (156), field trips (13), holidays (151), parents (60), preK (292)

In the Classroom

Share Homeroom Moms on your class website as an excellent resource for use by your homeroom mom (or dad), tutors, and other classroom helpers. Bookmark and save for use when planning class parties, finding holiday activities, and much more. Use this site to help YOU get organized!

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Classmill - Tariq Rauf

Grades
6 to 12
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Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online....more
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Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online. When creating a class choose from privacy options such as invite only for attendees. Add content within modules for each class using tabs to upload or embed information. Once your content is complete, use the "Ready" toggle switch to make it accessible to users. Use the "Invite" button to invite users using their email address.

tag(s): classroom management (156)

In the Classroom

Create your course and offer it to your students for greater interaction and learning through community building. Find great ideas from other existing courses. Teachers of gifted can use courses to challenge students in their areas of interest. You can also have gifted students create or collaborate on a student-made "course." Explore the topics yourself for some new, engaging topics to round out your own expertise. Allow students to enroll in a course that would fit into their career goals as an exploratory opportunity in that field.

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GraphFree - Donovan Harshbarger

Grades
8 to 12
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GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get ...more
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GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get started. The Quick Start feature provides basic information on using the graphing features. Short videos explain other options for drawing and labeling graphs. When finished, follow instructions for saving graphs to your computer or into popular office software programs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calculators (42), charts and graphs (192)

In the Classroom

Use GraphFree in place of expensive graphing calculators that many students may not have. Be sure to provide the link on your teacher page or blog for easy access. This is a wonderful tool for use in the 1:1 classrooms.

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Random.org - Dr. Mads Haahr

Grades
K to 12
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the ...more
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Do you need to choose items in a truly random way? If so, this site is for you! Random.org offers many different categories for receiving randomized information. Choose from the links for random lists, coin flippers, dates, passwords, dice rolls, and much more. Follow directions on each page to set the form and receive results. There is also an app for both Android and iOs devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), gamification (78), probability (131), resources (109)

In the Classroom

Use Random.org to generate any kind of list you need such as groups for field trips, random dates for history research, and random places on a map. Use the name generator to select a student to do an activity or to answer a question. Allow students to use the name generator to choose the classmate who comes next. Use the generator tools as part of your probability unit to chart how often names or coins appear with random selections.

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Award Certificate Templates - Award Certificate Templates

Grades
1 to 12
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates (in PDF, JPEG, or MS Word format) for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or ...more
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates (in PDF, JPEG, or MS Word format) for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and be ready in seconds. Print or download to save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

Make your students' day by recognizing their hard work and efforts! Use this tool to recognize students in seconds in a fun, free way. Ideas for student use include having students choose characters from a book and create a certificate for them. Next have students elaborate and describe the reasons why this certificate is awarded using a quick and easy blog post. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. If you want to take the blog writing a step further, Telegra.ph allows you to choose the camera icon to upload images from your computer or select the brackets to paste a YouTube, Vimeo, or Twitter link. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and have students write, challenge your students to create a blog using EasyBlog, reviewed here. During Thanksgiving, let students become more aware of all the people that help them and nurture them. Use with younger buddies to give them the idea of thankfulness and appreciation. During a study of communities, have students choose a community worker and send a certificate of thanks. For older students help them set the sites high, and create the certificate they want to receive in the future. What goals do they need to set to achieve this?
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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OK2Ask'®: Online Tools to save you time and your sanity - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of the "ready to go" resources available at TeachersFirst....more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of the "ready to go" resources available at TeachersFirst. Explore the timesaving (and easy to use) online tools. Find inspiration and timesaving tools in this fast-paced session! This session for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Explore the various online tools available at TeachersFirst; Find more ways to save time using TeachersFirst for planning lessons; Have free exploration time to find materials relevant to his/her classroom needs; (Follow-up) Plan and implement a student-centered, curriculum-related use of the resource(s) of choice as part of an upcoming teaching unit. Or plan how to use an online tool to save time in his/her classroom. Applicable NETS-T standards (2008)*: 1b, 2a and b, 3d. ISTE's standards page.

In the Classroom

Looking for some time-saving and easy to use tools? View this webinar archive to find tools to create seating charts, free printable paper, online timers, polls and quizzes, and much more. Take a look at the resource page full of excellent resources to explore! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Free Online Stopwatch - Ummay

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Free Online Stopwatch offers an assortment of popular clock tools - all ad free, simple, and easy to share! Choose from the Stopwatch, Alarm Clock, Current Time, Timer, or Date ...more
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Free Online Stopwatch offers an assortment of popular clock tools - all ad free, simple, and easy to share! Choose from the Stopwatch, Alarm Clock, Current Time, Timer, or Date Countdown. Also, find emoticons for social media and email at the bottom of the page. Click on any of the social media links at the top to easily share your countdown.

tag(s): classroom management (156), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. At the beginning of the school year, display on your interactive whiteboard or projector to time or count down any classroom activity. This will get the students in the habit of checking how much time they have left. Project the Stopwatch or Timer while students take a test, solve a drag and drop, practice speeches, rotate between learning centers, or join cooperative learning groups. When rotating between centers or taking turns in a cooperative learning group, schedule the time sequence to keep everyone on track. Use the Date Countdown to share days until any important event via social media. Share this tool on your class website for students to use at home (to practice taking timed math practice tests, practice for a speech, and more).

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Otus - Pete Helfers, Chris Hull, and Andrew Bluhm

Grades
K to 12
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Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments,...more
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Otus is a simple, powerful online classroom management and learning tool. The teacher version offers a dashboard with whiteboard capabilities and split screens. Create assignments, polls, bookshelves, reading material, and quizzes with immediate feedback when complete. Work in real-time to take attendance, assess students, and get poll results. Do all of this from your computer or mobile device. Students join with a class code. Otus is optimized to work on any device with a modern web browser and an Internet connection.There are eleven tutorials accessible from the home page. These are YouTube videos. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (109), blogs (86), classroom management (156), microblogging (40)

In the Classroom

Once you set up your account and classes, this could be your classroom online! Teach anything here that you can teach in a physical classroom with a lot less hassle and prep time! Choose to have the parent portal active or not. Save all resources by using the bookshelf, so you can use them again in the future. You have a central bookshelf, and you can share anything from there to your classes (each class has its own bookshelf), other members of Otus, and more. Use the calendar for scheduling assignments, tests, field trips and anything else for your classes. On the class home page there are two different type posts: they are the Side Bar and Main Bar, both of which can be renamed to make them pertinent to your class. Title the posts and add media if appropriate. Students can comment on posts.

Sharing via the bookshelf is one reason Otus is such a powerful tool. Be sure to watch the video tutorial about it. The Assessment section is another powerful tool that can include short answer, multiple choice, and true/false questions. Add a photo (such as a graph, map, cell, etc.). The ability to randomize questions and answers, assign Common Core standards, create tags to make it easier to find in the future, and grade online all make the assessment section very teacher friendly.

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MediaFire - MediaFire

Grades
6 to 12
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer...more
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Get organized with Media Fire. Store and sync files, folders, and media (photos, music, video). Access them from any computer or mobile device. Download the program to your computer for times when there is no Internet access. MediaFire Desktop keeps your online and locally stored files safe and in sync. View and edit all files and folders privately or share them to collaborate. Find a comprehensive Getting Started PDF manual on the left side menu. Signing up is as easy as typing in your email. MediaFire claims to be "the only online storage solution to offer unlimited downloads, download resuming, zero wait times and more, all for free."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173)

In the Classroom

Use MediaFire to transfer files and images between devices quickly in your BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Student groups working on projects in class can gather and share data easily from anywhere. Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. What a great way for students to turn their work into you when completed on their devices! During curriculum development and other professional development activities, members of a department (or even school-wide) can share resources and documents easily with each other.

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