There are so many things in the world of EdTech, new shiny things, things with bells and whistles. So how do you know what works, what should you invest your time and money into? Well here are my favorite EdTech tools that I have been using in my job and in our classrooms.
My favorite tool that I have been using for the past year, that no one seems to know about is Mentimeter. Mentimeter is a tool that I have used during presentations to involve the audience. Mainly used as a polling tool, the way the data is collected and results are shown make Mentimeter stand above all other polling tools.
Mentimeter allows users to create different types of questions ranging from the basic multiple choice to scales to matrix types.
My favorite by far is the word cloud option. Users can enter three words to add to the word cloud and the fun part is the word cloud generates as words are being added to the word cloud. It gives a fantastic moving visual that keeps your audience’s attention.
Mentimeter is free to use up to three questions. If you need more then three questions, you can pay for the upgraded version or just create another presentation and you have another free three questions. Also, Mentimeter just released an update that also users to create a full presentation in Mentimeter and then embed questions into the presentation.
One of my favorite manipulative tools is a PreK-2 grade iPad tool called Tiggly. Tiggly consists of chunky letters, numbers and shape manipulatives that interact with apps on the iPad. The letters apps help beginning spellers spell simple words by adding in the vowel to create words. The apps are very engaging and visually stunning that keeps the students’ attention.
Tiggly also has Numbers, which is a simple math program that teaches basic math (addition and subtraction) as well as number lines and other basic math facts. Tiggly Shapes is another way to teach basic shapes (this I would recommend for preschool or lower functioning kindergarteners.
Tiggly’s new tool coming out in the next few weeks is called Digits and Symbols which includes all of the numbers 1-10 and mathematical symbols (+-x/). We have pre-ordered this but we have not yet received them. But we are very excited to add this tool to our kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.
My last favorite tool helps more with my Technology Director hat than in the classroom. The last tool is two different websites that monitor how sites on the Internet are working and if they are down. With our school district using over 50 paid EdTech digital content vendors and 100s of free ones, I constantly get emails and phone calls that this website is down or this is not working. The first question I always think about is, “is it our network or is it their website.” DownDetector and Is It Down monitors most of the sites across the web and gives real-time information for if their site is down or not.
Tools like these have helped a great deal in determining how to help a teacher fix the issue or just asking them to wait and be patient as it appears that the site is down.
So these are three of my favorite EdTech tools that I have used and can fully vouch for as good, effective EdTech tools. Please feel free to let me know what you favorite EdTech tools are down in the comments section.