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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Cue Flash - cueflash.com

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool is an Internet-based flashcard system. Create, edit, and re-mix flashcards for any topic or subject. The interface and flashcards are simple and the site is very easy to ...more
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This tool is an Internet-based flashcard system. Create, edit, and re-mix flashcards for any topic or subject. The interface and flashcards are simple and the site is very easy to use. Use the tag cloud or subject list to find existing flashcard sets.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flash cards (47), word study (79)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards for your classes -- or have them make their own. Try using them as an introduction to a concept, then again in the practice of the concept, and one more time as a final review. This would be great for teaching Latin prefixes and suffixes of words used in science terms or for standardized test preparation. Try having students create flashcards and share with each other to quiz themselves within their own groups. Clicking on Discussion Group in the upper right corner to start a discussion thread about a flashcard to extend learning. Teach students in higher grades how to create flash cards with multiple blanks to challenge their brain to remember more pieces of the puzzle. Show them how to carefully read through their classroom notes and underline the most important word or words in a sentence. Then have them leave out the most important words for their flashcards. Learning support teachers might want to have small groups create cards together to review together before tests. Have students create flashcard sets to "test" classmates on what they "teach" in oral reports.

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Answer Garden - Creative Heroes

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. ...more
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Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. Simply type in a short question then copy the link to your site. All responses show up in the answer box below the question in a word cloud type of format. AnswerGardens can be customized to allow unlimited responses and a password. Although anyone with the link can answer a question, polls can be edited by the owner if any unwanted content is added. So watch carefully!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): antonyms (26), polls and surveys (54), speech (94), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Create online polls of virtually anything! Build creative fluency. Ask students to type in an adjective, noun, or part of speech for language review. When learning about states, students can type in attributes associated with that particular states. Studying plants? Students can type in processes associated with plant growth. Studying fractions? On your interactive whiteboard add vocabulary terms associated with fractions to your AnswerGarden or assign students to add a term for homework. Embed your AnswerGarden question on your website or wiki, or share a direct link with the url by email. Finished polls can be exported to Wordle reviewed here or Tagxedo reviewed here to make beautiful word clouds for printing and displaying.

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Moreganize - Stay Organized - Tom Frey, Attila Frey and Dominik Skrobala

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses....more
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Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses. Other options include adding a map or files. Provide contact information. Add possible dates and times for the event. There is an option to include multiple times on each date offered. Send the completed information via url, on Facebook, or via the email link provided on the site. The link takes you to the appointment survey page where you enter your name and e-mail address (kept private from all other attendees). Select which dates and times work for others and which selections are preferred. After confirming choices, a page gives the opportunity to change/correct details. A link is sent via email so your responses can be revisited and changed at a later date.

tag(s): calendars (46), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Use this site to schedule staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. Student groups of busy high schoolers may want to use it to schedule work sessions. Create a potential list of dates and send a survey using Moreganize to gather data for the best time for all involved. This is a great tool for teams of teachers to use to stay on the same page!

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Logo Type Maker - LogoTypeMaker.com

Grades
K to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create and save text-based logos instantly with this easy to use application. Make the logo short, about 50 characters. Type in a class name, title, mythical creature, anything you...more
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Create and save text-based logos instantly with this easy to use application. Make the logo short, about 50 characters. Type in a class name, title, mythical creature, anything you wish, and generate several different logo possibilities. Click Generate logo again to see more choices. You can bookmark or download and save the ones you like. Save the logo "as is" or modify elements of the logo such as background, font type, or uploading your own image. Download the image as a png file to your computer. Only one free download allowed per day so you may want to plan accordingly.

tag(s): design (83), drawing (81), firstday (26), graphic design (35), images (274)

In the Classroom

Have students create custom logos to go along with book reports, classroom presentations, and more. They can create logos for themselves (using a screen name or slogan) to include on a class wiki or in other online projects. Create your own classroom logo for use on your class website, wiki or classroom stationary. Display the site on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how to use different fonts and colors within the program. Share this tool on your class web page so students can create logos any time. For a first week of school activity, if you have access to multiple computers, have students create individual logos of "taglines"about themselves, such as "Lego master" or "Expert dog trainer" and put them on a class wiki page for others to guess/match identities as a getting to know you activity. Others can offer their guesses using the discussion tab on the wiki page.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NetVibes - NetVibes.com

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create a personalized dashboard that pulls together feeds and tools into one place -- for any topic. Optional registration allows access to updated information at anytime. This tool...more
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Create a personalized dashboard that pulls together feeds and tools into one place -- for any topic. Optional registration allows access to updated information at anytime. This tool has power as s simple resource collector "on the fly" or as a customizable way to monitor many tools from one place. Creation of multiple dashboards requires an email address and password or Facebook sign-in. Use it the simple way by typing in any topic into the search bar; wait a few seconds while information is compiled then explore the results. Results are posted in widgets that can be moved around to personalize the dashboard as needed. A wizard will walk you through it if you wish. Tabs are also included that separate news items, videos, conversations, and more. View pages in reader format or with widgets by choosing from options at the top of the page. You can copy the url of a basic topic dashboard to access over and over. Signing in on a free account allows you to customize and save your dashboards and harness the real power to pull everything into one place.

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the power and uses of this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students to use as a resource for gathering research information. For example, create a dashboard on an environmental ("oil spill") or political topic. Gather current events from multiple sources into one place. Set up a dashboard on earthquakes or weather during science units so students can connect real world information with curriculum. Use this site for group projects, have team members work together to gather information, then share using a tool such as Crocodoc reviewed here. As a professional tool, create a dashboard for monitoring feeds from student activity on multiple web-based tools at a time (wikis, blogs, etc.). You can also create a dashboard on professional topics to keep yourself well informed.

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Pomodoro Timer - Ryhan Hassan

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will...more
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Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will increase productivity, this timer is set for 25 minutes. This allows for a 5 minute rest period before restarting the activity. Click start and the timer counts back from 25 minutes with a digital display and timeline bar.

tag(s): organizational skills (128), time (139)

In the Classroom

Display the timer on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to encourage students to maintain focus and put forth effort for 25 minutes with the understanding that a break will follow. Challenge older students to research the Pomodoro time management method and share other time-management techniques.

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Rich Chart Live - Blue Pacific Software

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Rich Chart Live is an online chart creator that instantly creates Flash charts (and other formats) that can be easily shared. Choose a template from the many options. Begin adding ...more
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Rich Chart Live is an online chart creator that instantly creates Flash charts (and other formats) that can be easily shared. Choose a template from the many options. Begin adding data, style choices, color options, and layout. An animation option is available to apply to the chart's axes and elements and can be customized with speed options. When finished, click Publish. Charts can be opened in a new page, saved to a PowerPoint, or embedded into a blog via copy and paste. You can also "drag and drop" the link to the char onto your desktop (and thus get its url). Opening the link in "free mode" asks for an email address first, but even abc@123.com works.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (152)

In the Classroom

Create colorful and interactive charts on the fly at anytime by using this website. Display the website on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Watch charts change by using different inputs and customization options. Challenge students to predict and draw what charts will look like before changes are applied. Use the site to compare and contrast different ways to present information and discuss styles that work best in different situations. Create a class wiki and embed different examples of charts with explanations of how the chart was created. Have student use the discussion on the wiki to explain what the chart tells them. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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KikuText - kikutext.com

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers ...more
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers nor do the teachers see the students' or parents' phone numbers. Create an account easily with basic contact information, then share the class code with parents. Parents text the code to be added and begin receiving updates and to respond to text messages. Communication through this site is safe and secure. This service is free; however, standard text messaging fees apply.

tag(s): classroom management (150), parents (59)

In the Classroom

Send out whole-class reminders to parents of upcoming tests, project due dates, school events, and more. Set up this site (and parents and students numbers) during the first week of school or at Back to School night. Use this site as an alternative to conference reminder slips (and save paper). Keep parents "in the loop" about students' behavior, achievement, and more with this tool. Imagine sending a text as you discover missing homework. Suddenly, accountability steps up a notch!

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Skloog - Skloog, LLC

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places...more
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Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places you visit repeatedly. The tiles make it visual and so easy to use! Can't find the logo? Submit a site by clicking on a button at the bottom of the home page. Access and add to your Skloog bookmarks from anywhere using any computer, your mobile phone, or email. Make Skloog one of the tools on your browser's tool bar in order to add to your favorites quickly and easily. Add or change the preset category tabs that show at the top. Search your favorites by tags, URL, or website name. An added feature is the Skloog tab in the upper right corner of the menu on your short cut page. Click to find some of Skloog's favorite sites.

tag(s): bookmarks (64), resources (112)

In the Classroom

This resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use on specific projects or as general course links. Use this site to share with other professionals, team members, or parents. Use the categories to save bookmarks for different units you have in your classroom. Make your Skloog page the homepage for your computer, too.

Consider having a category for student use for webquests, tools you want them to use, and creative commons images, music, etc. Also, create a category where students update with suggestions from class members. Use different colored alphabet tiles on a Skloog for younger, non-reader students. For example, give each subject its own distinctive color. They will also recognize logos well before they read!

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Encalc - Encalc

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Use Encalc for a great scientific and graphing calculator. This calculator includes units and the ability to perform dimensional analysis. Use for algebra and calculus. Define and find...more
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Use Encalc for a great scientific and graphing calculator. This calculator includes units and the ability to perform dimensional analysis. Use for algebra and calculus. Define and find the values of variables and physical constants from the tool's database. Integration, differentiation, parentheses, and scientific formulas are also supported. The graphing calculator function of the site is only available in browsers other than Internet Explorer.

tag(s): calculators (41)

In the Classroom

Click on the embed tab of the site and copy the code to embed this tool directly into your class website. Be sure to also link this tool to your website or blog for easy access. Use the calculator on an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to show how they solved problems.

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Spider Scribe - spiderscribe.net

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
   
SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps...more
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SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps online with others. SpiderScribe has an easy to use interface. Drag the various stencils (elements) to the screen to begin. Watch the demo video to understand the basics of this free tool. You will be started in less than a minute!

tag(s): brainstorming (25), graphic organizers (42), mind map (24)

In the Classroom

Have your class create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Easily add images to maps for young students, ELL learners, or non-readers to understand relationships and learn vocabulary. Or you can assign students to "map" out a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or food pyramids in family and consumer science. 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, plot line, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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Cite U Like - citeulike.org

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use CiteULike to organize and share scholarly information for and from research. The first step is to register (email required). Simply click on Post URL to save it. Add the ...more
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Use CiteULike to organize and share scholarly information for and from research. The first step is to register (email required). Simply click on Post URL to save it. Add the app to your web browser for easy use. How easy? Click on the button, and the paper/reference will be added to your personal library. The tool extracts the citation details automatically. No more forgetting to cite materials! Access your library from any computer.
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tag(s): citations (36)

In the Classroom

Use this great resource to record and organize research found on the Internet. Consider creating a class account to collect materials found throughout the school year. Be sure to talk to students about organizing information and sources. Students can maintain their own archive and show their collection at the end of the year. This tool will also be very handy for graduate projects teachers may be doing.

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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 (47), classroom management (150), DAT device agnostic tool (170), game based learning (114), gamification (75)

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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Password Bird - Kevin Sheurs and Andres Galante

Grades
K to 12
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At a loss for a new password? Use this simple online tool to make easy-to-remember passwords that offer decent security and are safe. Answer a few quick questions such as ...more
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At a loss for a new password? Use this simple online tool to make easy-to-remember passwords that offer decent security and are safe. Answer a few quick questions such as your name, a special word, and date that has significance to you. Click "Create Password" and PasswordBird creates a one of a kind password for you. Note: These passwords may not be unbreakable but do offer a level of security better than using the same passwords over and over or using exact words and numbers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to generate passwords for tools being used in class by you or your students. Be sure to keep a record of the passwords generated for students for access when they forget (we do too!) Create passwords for class logins used by a number of students. Share this link on your class web page for students (and parents) to use, too!
 

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Minus - Minus

Grades
7 to 12
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Share documents, music, photos, and even videos with this free and easy to use sharing service. Use the easy drag and drop interface to choose the files for upload. Share ...more
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Share documents, music, photos, and even videos with this free and easy to use sharing service. Use the easy drag and drop interface to choose the files for upload. Share easily with links or codes. Apps are available for most mobile operating systems with more to come. No sign up is necessary, though it is recommended if you want to save your galleries. The free portion of this site offers up to 50 GB of space (2 GB per file).
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tag(s): images (274), slides (64), video (276)

In the Classroom

Minus can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Access any file using Minus. This is a great alternative for traditional group work, rather than having to travel to other group members' homes. Share the files quickly and easily.

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The Readability Test Tool - David Simpson

Grades
1 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter...more
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Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter the web address (URL) and get the readability of the site on several scales. You can also check your own webpages by using the "referer" section. You will get a score for the most used readability indicators: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, Coleman Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index (ARI). The tool also includes explanations of each scale. These tell much more than a simple "grade level."

tag(s): independent reading (129), readability (7), writing (369)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to offer differentiated resources for the different reading levels in your class. At the beginning of the year, as you learn your students' capabilities, use this tool to find reading at the appropriate level to eliminate frustration. This is perfect for finding the "just right" level for your highly advanced/gifted students and those needing extra remediation. If you do discover that a website you want to use is over your students' independent reading level, you can still use it, just open Lingro, reviewed here, first; then enter the URL you want them to read. Lingro is a study aid and open content dictionary that makes all of the words (on a particular website) clickable for definitions and translation. Of course, if the sentence length or complexity is at a much higher reading level, simple word definitions will not make it "readable" for struggling readers.

Why not have students put in the URL for their blog or wiki (or simply paste in a writing sample) to see the level at which they are writing? This is one way to encourage writing as a craft and challenge students to include more varied vocabulary and sentence structure in their writing.

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Small QR - smallqr.com

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Interested in making a QR code, but think it is too difficult? Use this site for a quick and easy way to make a QR code of web links. Simply ...more
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Interested in making a QR code, but think it is too difficult? Use this site for a quick and easy way to make a QR code of web links. Simply enter the url. (Be sure that SmallQR is selected under Advanced options.) Save your QR code as a png image file and be sure to read the tips: a.make sure that the image is not printed too small and b. test the QRcode out before using it elsewhere.

tag(s): qr codes (22)

In the Classroom

Create a QR code for your class site or blog and include it on handouts for Back to School night. Create a QR code scavenger hunt for students, making a webquest more engaging. Add QR codes to documents for students to check their answers to questions. Expand knowledge of a topic by adding a QR code to a site that expands upon what is in the textbook. Create a data chart accessible via a QR code. Students access the data and manipulate the information. Have students create a book trailer or review and affix a QR code to the outside of the book. Students may be more apt to read a book that has been reviewed by another student. Make a display completely interactive with a QR code that describes the assignment, the process, the research, student's reactions and more! Add extra help information to any assignment that asks students to solve problems. Create an online help tutorial accessible via a QR code, and place the code beside a similar problem. Link directly to a Google Map. Place QR code contact information for you and your school on contact cards to give to parents. Attach QR codes to physical objects around the room to provide information about the object. Place the links in a newsletter using QR codes instead of a series of words that need to be typed.
 

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Ge.tt - Mathis and Tobias, Ge.tt Founders

Grades
6 to 12
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Ge.tt is an easy to use tool for file sharing via the web. One user can still be uploading while his friends are downloading from his files. This eliminates the ...more
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Ge.tt is an easy to use tool for file sharing via the web. One user can still be uploading while his friends are downloading from his files. This eliminates the need for flash drives if you have access to the Internet. You can work from remote locations to create collaborative projects for home, work, or school. This is a free service with free sign up and 2GB of free storage space.

In the Classroom

When assigning group projects to be worked on outside of class, have students share work via Ge.tt. This eliminates the need to actually be in the same place at the same time, which can be difficult for students to arrange due to their schedules and their parents' schedules. Use this to have students share files with you. Students can send you any file up to 2GB with a few simple clicks. Use this as an extra file back-up when transporting files for a grad presentation or other important event.

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Class Pager - Brain Racer, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Use ClassPager to text message students and parents in complete privacy. Register your class name and obtain the class code and a phone number for your students and parents to ...more
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Use ClassPager to text message students and parents in complete privacy. Register your class name and obtain the class code and a phone number for your students and parents to use. Once they use the number, they are automatically enrolled in your class. As a teacher, you only see their name and not their phone number. Additionally, they will not see your phone number either, and the website uses https. Send messages via your computer as well. Any messages sent from ClassPager will go to everyone who is enrolled in your class. Only if they reply can you start an individual conversation with them. Be aware that some texting plans may charge for texts to be sent or received using this resource. It is suggested to communicate with parents before they or their child sign up with this tool. If this tool is used to remind students, parents can then choose whether to participate.

tag(s): polls and surveys (54)

In the Classroom

Use for an easy way to poll students in class to check for understanding. This would be great in a school that allows students to bring their own device and would save money on the purchasing of clickers. Use to answer exit questions or to see what students remember from the previous day. Identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. Send text reminders of homework or encouragement to complete assignments.

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Only 2 Clicks - Only2Clicks.com

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Only2Clicks allows you to create your own page with organized, tabbed bookmarks. Similar to a Google homepage, Only2Clicks has the advantage of being simple. There are only four skin...more
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Only2Clicks allows you to create your own page with organized, tabbed bookmarks. Similar to a Google homepage, Only2Clicks has the advantage of being simple. There are only four skin or theme choices to avoid distractions. Bookmarks can be shared with other computers and even your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Yes, they have an app for that! Import bookmarks from your computer to use anywhere. While other sites such as Delicious.com or Diigo.com have a lot more options, the strength of this site is its simplicity. Users will not be distracted by extra buttons or tabs.

tag(s): bookmarks (64)

In the Classroom

Use this for students to make/access bookmark collections for projects at home or at school. Have them mark your school website on their front page so they can easily access it, as well. Share teacher-made collections of links for a specific project/unit.

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