Tech Resources that Teachers are Actually Using in a Pandemic World
In 2020 the pandemic pushed education into an experiment that might not have ever happened without the looming threat of COVID-19. 100% online education. The majority of teachers worked around the clock, unable to escape the jobs they typically brought home anyway, to ensure that students had access to the content. For some, this “experiment” was an exciting new territory to discover and test out alternative ways of implementing curriculum. For others, it was another weight jacket of expectations and burden placed upon their chests. It was sink or swim. It was try and fail and then try again another way.
Now, as schools have returned to in-person lessons and/or blended learning, there is an opportunity for a beneficial change to the future of learning: technology.
Incorporating tech into the classroom can be overwhelming and daunting. It is difficult for teachers to train themselves to navigate the tech world amidst grading, planning, meetings, implementing new content, and so on. For this reason, it is important that tech resources are not only engaging for the students, but realistic and pliable for educators as well.
Below is my list of the top user-friendly, FREE, and captivating resources that can effectively fit within the modern classroom setting:
With Mentimeter, students submit reactions or reflections, interact with quizzes, post anonymous questions, poll their opinions, etc. This is a great resource to get participation from 100% of students, especially the ones who aren’t prone to hand raising.
I have used mentimeter to create a class wordmap:
To assess for student understanding:
To start the class off with a warm up:
Overall, the platform is easy to use and students enjoy seeing their writing reflected on the front screen. With the free account, teachers can post two different questions/polls/maps per presentation. Mentimeter is an easy resource for teachers to familiarize themselves with and try out in the classroom!
Screencastify is a video creation software that can be used by both teachers and students alike. This resource can be used with a flipped classroom, for online learners, and as a resource for student creativity. With the free version you can create, edit, and post five minute videos. During the pandemic, I used Screencastify to connect 1:1 with my students and to implement short yet sweet lesson bites. I’ve had students use Screencastify to record “show and tell” activities from home, to submit a reading of a poem for our poetry jam, and to teach a mini lesson on particular topics.
Genial.ly is a platform that can be used to create interactive presentations and lessons. I’ve used this resource for escape rooms, daily routine warm ups, and as a multimodal tool for visual and hands-on learners. Students love the interactive element and the opportunities to create their own presentations. For teachers, there are already hundreds of premade lessons that can be used for last minute plans or as time fillers when you find yourself with a daunting 15 minutes left in class.
Most educators already know, use, and love Kahoot. For this reason, it remains one of the top effective ways to incorporate tech into the classroom in an engaging and academic manner. Kahoot can be used to review, assess, and even as an entertaining game break. With the free account you can create, find, and share multiple quizzes, although the premium version does include updated interactive elements that are highly engaging. Kahoot continues to elicit the excited cheers of even my most disengaged learners.
These are the top four resources that I’ve found user-friendly and realistic in my classroom setting. Teachers, what tech resources are you using right now?