My fave FREE tech tools for teachers
Updated: Jun 16, 2019
Let me say this before I begin... I love using tech in the classroom. I have worked at a three different schools in the past few years and at each one, I have cultivated a reputation for being the tech nerd of my department or of the entire school! Over the years, I have found many wonderful ways to embed tech in my classes using laptops, phones, and iPads. Below are my favourite tools and some great ways to use them.
Quizlet - an interesting and engaging way to revise key vocabulary for a unit. I use Quizlet mostly to teach students tier three (subject specific vocabulary) but I have also used it with tier two (academic vocabulary) before which you can read about here. The beautiful thing about Quizlet is that you can differentiate tasks based on individual needs. For example, the spell function is great for students who need to practise their spellings of key words. I once managed to teach a year 7 boy (who really, really struggles with spelling) to spell Mediterranean through Quizlet by setting him Quizlet homework. There are also some other great gamified functions like Match and Gravity that students really enjoy - they especially love competing with each other! You can find my Quizlet lists here or search 'misscartledge' in the search bar.
Perhaps the best part of Quizlet is Quizlet Live - a Kahoot style quiz where students work in teams to revise key words. They love it because they need to communicate and discuss the term and its definition so things tend to get a little bit rowdy. You can also project a leaderboard on the projector screen so the students get quite competitive with this quiz which is fantastic. If you want to see a more comprehensive explanation on how to use Quizlet, click here for some slides I created for a PD I ran on using tech tools in my classroom.
Socrative - Socrative is an online tool that allows teachers to create tests for students. There are three question types: multiple choice, true or false, and short answer (the first two are self-marking). Socrative can be used to:
Create self-marking multiple choice/true or false testsCreate practice tests prior to summative testsHelp weaker students study at homeIdentify and correct any gaps in knowledge before and/or after tests
There are three types of navigation - teacher paced (which can be used to asses student knowledge and discuss each question and answer as you go), open navigation (where students can move backwards and forwards through the questions and they get a final score at the end), and instant feedback (where students find out if they got it right straight after they submit their answer). I have used all three of these functions and they are all wonderful for different reasons. I have an entire slideshow dedicated to explaining exactly how they all work so click here if you'd like to have a look!
Noredink - Hello engaging grammar worksheets! My students love Noredink because they can select their interests and have grammar questions tailored to TV shows they watch or celebrities they care about. I am using Noredink as one of the major components of my Grammar House Cup competition. On this website, you can set diagnostic or summative tests, assign revision work or ask students to learn new content. To set your students up, they will need to create an account and remember their login details which can be tedious - especially if you teach students who ALWAYS forget their details - but it's always worth it! I also use Noredink to set weekly homework tasks and I can see how much progress they make and how often they do independent study.
Padlet - This handy little tool works wonders for collaboration. Essentially, it is an electronic bulletin board where students can upload ideas, quotes, images, links, and videos that everyone with the link can access. It works great for things like collaborative essays and quote/idea sharing, but I have also had success using it to facilitate a matching game where the students had to arrange words that fit under certain headings (eg matching word classes to their headings). The example below shows how Padlet to introduce my year 11 students to the play An Inspector Calls. They were each given a passage to read and then they had to find images that matched the descriptions to visualise the characters and settting.
Kahoot Jumble - I know, I know... Kahoot is one of the most popular tech tools that is used across classrooms so you this is probably not new to you! But... have you used the jumble feature? It is (generally) a widely under-utilised tool. I use Kahoot Jumble mostly to revise quotations with my students before exams. They need to remember quite a lot of quotes so we use this tool roughly once a week or fortnight and they take four words of a quote and put them in the right order. They really struggle with some of them but after they revise the quotes a few times, they learn the order really quickly and remember it for a long time afterwards!
What do you think? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!