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Sunday, October 25, 2020

8 Digital Tools for Teachers Who Want to Engage Students

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Technology hasn’t always been a part of the classroom. Traditionally, it’s been seen as a hindrance, a distraction rather than a helpful tool. That might have been right at some point, before technology evolved to become a practical supplement to hands-on learning.

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Now, there are hundreds of tools and initiatives out there that utilize technology to evolve the way students think and learn.

Digital tools can streamline the learning process and is a terrific way to engage tech-savvy students in new and creative ways. The classroom is evolving, and teachers have to adapt their learning modules to the new possibilities that technology provides.

Below are some of the best tools that teachers can employ in their classrooms right now. But before getting to that, a small word of warning.

The internet may be a brilliant means of educational discovery, but it can also be extremely dangerous for children in particular. Always keep students’ safety in mind when they’re engaging with online tools in the classroom.

Digital safety doesn’t end with parental controls and website restrictions, however. There are plenty of ways for outsiders to take advantage of a vulnerable device in the hands of a minor.

So always make sure to use the latest cybersecurity tools and tricks, including strong passwords and anti-virus programs.

Teachers who are particularly worried about their students’ safety may want to download a VPN. This will protect smartphones and computers from any outsiders who want to get in.

1. Prezi

If PowerPoint is the boring, suit-and-tie-wearing uncle of presentation, then Prezi is the cool young cousin with the skateboard. This tool offers a much easier way to create eye-catching presentations for both students and teachers.

Prezi uses a fun, alternative way of presenting something and the different effects and features can help keep students’ attention.

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2. Trello

This app was technically created with workplace collaboration in mind, but it’s still a great tool for high school and college students.

Trello is an excellent multitasking platform where teachers can hand out assignments, and where students can create “to-do’s” and then tick them off. It’s also good for group projects where students need a common platform to share their ideas and progress on.

3. Socrative

A group of entrepreneurs and engineers who are passionate about education came together to create Socrative.

This nifty digital platform helps teachers make learning fun through personalized quizzes and games. These can be run with the students in class while they actively participate through their mobile devices or laptops.

4. Explain Everything

This is another application that wasn’t technically created with students in mind but still applies well to the classroom setup. Explain Everything is like a big online whiteboard that can be shared with students’ devices.

Teachers can add PDFs, screenshots, and videos to their whiteboard and edit them with notes, recordings, and sketches. All of this can be done during class or prepared ahead and shared with students afterward.

5. Cold Turkey

This might not be students’ favorite app, but it’s a blessing for any teacher who’s struggling to get their students under control. Just as the name implies, this app can help make students more productive by making them quit distractions cold turkey.

Not only will it block any popular slacking-off websites and all websites set out by the teacher, but it can also block software.

6. Edmodo

Edmodo was created to bring teachers, students, and parents together. It allows teachers to personalize every student’s experience by providing digital educational materials and sharing assignments and feedback.

It also allows teachers to track student’s performance digitally and provide direct feedback to students and their parents.

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7. Thinglink

This nifty platform lets teachers create interactive images that can be combined with sounds, music, text, links, and 360-degree media. It’s perfect for teachers who want to expand their students’ horizons through interactive learning and virtual field trips.

8. ClassDojo

Kids love gamified experiences, and ClassDojo offers teachers an amazing way to gamify good behavior.

Students can create their own avatars and earn points for anything from teamwork to punctuality. Teachers can also give instant feedback through the app, anytime during the class.

Conclusion

Technology isn’t going anywhere, and young people are already using their phones and computers – technology is what they identify with. Instead of fighting against this natural evolution, embrace technology in the classroom through innovative educational apps.

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