If there is one thing that has come to light since the pandemic first began, it’s the need to engage learners in new ways. Some schools have students learning both in person and at home, while others are all virtual. Regardless of where you find yourself and your own classroom, the need to find creative ways to engage students while still fostering collaboration and problem solving is a true challenge.
Through my collaboration with teachers on specific lessons, assignments, and projects, I’ve been privy to the diverse needs in the classroom and the overwhelming amount of tools available. Fortunately, many of the tools and software companies granted free access at the start of the pandemic which was great for us as we navigated those early days and finding what worked best for each teacher, class, and student. Some are now back to premium access, but may offer a substantial free trial for you to check out! Check out my favorites below!
Alex’s Top 5:
|||Description of Product||Free vs. Premium Offerings|
|Nearpod||Turn your lessons into interactive content! I love that it works seamlessly with Google Slides and it has SO many options for making a traditional lesson or slide show into fun, interactive segments||Both! Plans are available for individual teachers, schools, and districts. The free version is pretty robust as well and can definitely provide a good alternative if your budget is an issue.|
|Go Formative||An online assessment tool with a very robust question bank (short answer, audio / video content, matching, graphing through Desmos and more)! I love that it integrates with Google Classroom seamlessly for assignments and tests.||Both! Plans are available for one teacher, a small team, or a school/district! You’ll get more data options and the full question bank with upgrading to premium. The free version allows for unlimited formatives and is a great option on a tight budget.|
|Classkick||An online classroom interaction tool that shows real-time progress and allows for live feedback and interaction. You can create assignments in it or upload your own PDF / Documents for students to work in.||Both! Plans are available for individual teachers as well as a school and district. You’ll have more capacity for assignment creations (free is 20 max) with premium access. Google Classroom also integrates with premium.|
|Google Jamboard||A digital interactive whiteboard that is part of the Google suite! Unlike Google Drawings, it allows for more than one “frame” or “slide” and has great collaborative features (sticky notes, pen, and image uploads)||Free as long as your school is part of Google Workspace.|
|Flipgrid||An online platform for quick video responses and sharing. Think of it like a digital VIDEO whiteboard. I love that Flipgrid integrates seamlessly with Google and you can customize privacy controls and the type of feedback students are allowed to give.||Flipgrid is FREE thanks to Microsoft!|
Have you tried any of these tools? Which is your favorite?