For my first Tech Tool Thursday, I’m sharing with you three tools that I share the most often with teachers in my district. They are Educreations (tablet app), goo.gl URL Shortener, and Lucid Chart. Continue reading for screenshots, how-to’s, and implementation ideas! By the way, these are all FREE! If you need a reminder of how to add Chrome apps and extensions, be sure to revisit my initial Tech Tool Thursday post.
Educreations is a simple whiteboard app that allows you to insert images, write or type text, and record your voice. I love Educreations because you’re no limited to only one page, and as you record your voice and move to the next page, the app automatically pauses the recording. You have the option to bring in pictures from your Camera Roll, to snap a picture within the app, import from your Dropbox account, or you can search the web from directly within the app. Since each video generates a link and embed code, you can include them on your class website. I have had teachers use this app to deliver spelling tests and flip lessons. A fourth grade teacher gave her students a vocabulary list for an upcoming social studies unit. The students used Educreations to find images online that showed the vocabulary words and bring them into the presentation. The students then recorded themselves justifying why they chose the images they did. This activity served as the first lesson of the unit, and it gave all the students the little bit of background knowledge they needed to be successful in the unit. Another great feature of Educreations is the “Featured” tab. This gives the user access to tons of free lessons/videos that have been created. Here is a link to a video I created on triangulation: http://goo.gl/9VOXoZ.
This is probably the Chrome Extension that I use the most. I am constantly sharing websites with my teachers, and some of them can be very lengthy. From any website, I can click on the goo.gl shortener icon beside my Omni bar, and it generates a shortened link that looks like the link above for my triangulation video. I can also choose to have the extension copy the link directly to my clipboard for easy sharing, or even better, it will generate a QR code! But that’s not the best part. If you’re signed into your Google account, each link you shorten gets saved for later reference, and you can see how many times your link has been clicked on. Too cool! Here’s a screenshot of what the goo.gl site looks like for my account.
Our district stresses the usage of Thinking Maps and other mind maps as a way to organize student thought, and as a way of making connections to thinking skills. I have tried a lot of mind mapping apps and websites, and a lot of them area great. The problem comes when you’re only allowed to create five maps before you have to begin paying for the site/app. LucidChart is different because, not only is it FREE, but it also connects to your Google Drive! If you are a K-12 teacher or professor, you can request the free upgrade and get all of the advanced features too. You can create a new mind map directly from your Drive…YAY!! Although the software can get very complicated if you want it to, the basic functions are drag and drop and very intuitive. Also, just like other Google Docs, you can add collaborators, and there is a chat feature so that multiple people can work on a document at the same time. I have had teachers using LucidChart for planning collaborative projects, whole class KWL activities, and small group Thinking Map activities. Teachers and students are only limited by their creativity!
Please let me know what you think about these tech tools by leaving a comment below. Already use one of them? Let us know how!