I am reflecting on my list of Top Ten Tools for Learning (and one tool that no longer makes my list) for the C4LPT Top Tools of 2011. It’s perfect since 10+1=11 and today is 11/11/11. I could no easier put them in a favorite order than a parent can decide a preference order for their children, so the tools are listed alphabetically.
- Class Tools -Class Tools is exactly what it sounds like. The website provides easily customizable class tools that can be embedded in class or school websites. Some examples of the offerings are timers, random name selectors, graphic organizers, and games.
- Edmodo – This was a new addition to my classroom this year (it replaced a traditional blog). Edmodo has been a game changer. The students are able to ask questions and communicate more openly. Many of the discussions continue outside of the classroom. They help each other succeed. All the online resources that are used are easily linked to and organized for future use.
- GoogleDocs – GoogleDocs has changed the writing process in my foreign language classroom. It is easy to leave timely and specific feedback on documents shared with me. Students also have the opportunity to work collaboratively.
- Moodle – My favorite component of Moodle is the quizzes. There are so many options when creating a quiz. The students love receiving immediate feedback and seeing their score. As a teacher, being able to analyze the results based on each question is a useful, reflection tool.
- Quizlet – Easy to find or create data sets for review. Quizlet takes the information pairs and creates practice quizzes, a matching game (Scatter), a spelling practice (Speller), and Space Race where they have to type in the correct answer. Speller does exactly what it sounds like – it says a word, and the students type what they hear. This is especially useful in a foreign language. For Spanish, the pronunciation is great, so the practice is highly beneficial.
- Study Stack – Another website to find or create data sets for review. Study Stack uses the pairs and creates a variety of games. Hungry Bug (like Snake) is a student favorite. Many of the games come with an embed code that can be added to a class website.
- SymbalooEDU -Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool. I love it for professional and educational reasons. Web mixes can be saved. So our department is able to share our resources. I have a page that I update for students so they can easily find what they need. Because the links are displayed as tiles with a symbol, everyone is able to find what they are looking for.
- Voicethread -Voicethread provides writing and speaking opportunities for students. A presentation or series of pictures is uploaded. Students have accounts and can respond in writing or through the microphone to different prompts involving the images. By publishing their work, the students have a chance to share what they have learned with people outside the class. They have pride in their accomplishments.
- Weebly – Weebly is a free, easy website creation tool. It produces a professional looking product. The best part, keeping the website updated is easy. My previous website attempts were thwarted by broken links, which is not the case with Weebly. Even better, Weebly automatically creates a mobile version of the website, which is useful since so many students and parents have mobile devices.
- YouTube – YouTube has millions of opportunities to enrich a lesson by finding authentic content. Sometimes you have to watch many terrible videos to find the gems, but in the end it is worthwhile. Students love the videos and will request that they are posted so they can be viewed outside of class.
The fallen favorite is Glogster EDU. I used Glogster before there was an EDU attached to the name and purpose and loved it. It provided opportunities to present content in a visually engaging and multimedia way. However, there have been a lot of changes in the last year, both performance and offerings. This week it took 4 days to save a Glog. Everyday for hours I would get the error message: “We are sorry but we weren’t able to save your Glog. Don’t worry though, please just try again in a few moments.” The few moments part was a lie. Everyday I had to re-do the changes and try saving again. It worked on the 4th day when I tried saving it at 9pm. If something works more reliably during non-school hours, it can not be justified as a educational tool worthy of purchase.