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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

20 Hi-Tech Tools for Classroom Teachers

Today's blog represents a change from my usual blogging habit. Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to Business School is Guest Poster. Karen also writes about accredited online colleges for OnlineCollege.org. I am especially happy with her selection since she introduces me to several sites I hadn't found before.



There are lots of different ways to integrate technology in the classroom. You can start an online community, encourage students to blog, create your own slide shows, and use websites as part of your lesson plan. Here are 20 hi-tech tools that will help you do all of these things and more:

  1. Bloglines - Bloglines is a free online service that makes it easy to track student blogs. You can place all of the blogs you follow on one web page and access them with your PC or mobile device.
  2. Mikogo - This free screen sharing tool can be used in classrooms with multiple computers.
  3. Mikogo can display whatever is on one computer screen on up to ten other screens.
  4. Edomodo - Edomodo is a free private communication platform for students and teachers who want to share links, files, notes, and more. Edomodo can also be used to securely send assignments, test alerts, and other important information.
  5. Campfire - Designed specifically for group messaging, Campfire makes it easy to stay in touch with students and parents. This web-based tool charges a modest fee for their service, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
  6. Engrade - Engrade is an online classroom community for teachers who want to manage their classroom online. It can be used to send homework, assign grades, communicate with parents and students, and much more.
  7. SchoolTool - This free suite of administrative tools is used by schools all over the world. It includes a gradebook, attendance calendar, customizable applications, and other features that would be useful to school teachers and support staff.
  8. Bookgoo - Teachers who are tired of marking homework and tests with a pen can upload documents and mark them on a PC with Bookgoo. Documents can be highlighted, annotated, and shared with others online.
  9. ClassMarker - ClassMarker is a free online quiz maker for teachers. Quizzes can be taken online, at home, or in the classroom. When the quiz is finished, ClassMarker grades it automatically.
  10. Empressr - Empressr is a free multimedia tool that can be used to create presentations for the classroom. Empressr supports photos, video, music, audio, and text.
  11. SlideShare - Students and teachers can create online slideshows with this free tool. SlideShare works with Word documents and PowerPoint.
  12. TeacherLed IWB - TeacherLed offers a huge collection of classroom resources that can be used with an interactive whiteboard (IWB). Resources include activities for math, English, and geography.
  13. Twrivia - Teachers who want to begin using Twitter in the high school classroom will love Twrivia. This free Twitter app offers a new trivia challenge each day.
  14. Group Tweet - Group Tweet can be used to send private messages via Twitter--a great way to communicate with a select group of students, parents, or teachers.
  15. Virtual Museum - The Smithsonian Museum offers this free guided tour to students who want to take a virtual field trip to the museum. Students can explore various exhibits using a map and navigational tools.
  16. Newseum - Newseum is an interactive museum of news in Washington D.C. As a service to students and visitors, Newseum displays the front page of daily newspapers on their website--perfect for classrooms who are trying to learn about current events or news in various states/cities.
  17. GeoEdu - GeoEdu is free software that includes an atlas and a built in game for students who want to learn more about geography. The atlas includes information on all of the countries in the world and the game features more than 100,000 questions about the atlas.
  18. Footnote - Footnote combines social networking with historical documents to create a fun and unique learning experience. The site hosts millions of records and documents and provides a place for older students to share content and opinions on historical events.
  19. Academic Skill Builders - This site is a great place to find standards-aligned educational games for students to play at home or in the classroom. All of the games are designed to teach basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and thinking skills.
  20. Artopia - Artopia is a free, web-based arts community for middle school students. The site provides lesson plans for teachers, activities for students, and a place to upload student art for display.
  21. SparkTop - This non-profit website is dedicated to providing ad-free educational content for kids. The site focuses on online games and activities for students who learn differently because of a learning disability (LD) or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).

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