Playing with New Tools

Let's explore platforms that can help students during remote learning and in-person learning during a pandemic that has created many changes in the way we teach.

Welcome to my network. Let's explore, share and learn together.

Hello, my name is Brittney Mishler. I am a first grade teacher at Roosevelt in Southside Peoria, IL. This is my seventh year in the classroom. The pandemic has brought many new challenges that have been both positive and negative. One positive includes the exploration of platforms to reach students and help them learn to the best of their ability online. I cannot wait to share and explore platforms with you as we prosper through these next three months together.

My Technology Timeline

My greatest memories with technology occurred during my teaching experience. I have been introduced to many platforms that I use daily with my students. It is these platforms that bring excitement and engagement to my classroom. I wish that I would have been introduced to platforms like these when I was in school. Sadly, I do not remember a lot about technology from my school experience. My most important experience with technology in grade school was learning how to type without looking. We used keyboard covers and practiced typing on a program every day (I can't remember the name of the program). In high school, I remember getting an apple computer my senior year.

Teaching in 2013-2014

I began my career as a teacher (third grade) at Roosevelt in South-side Peoria, IL. I remember having very limited resources my first year of teaching. My room was one of the biggest rooms in the school. I had one bin of books, a whiteboard, smart-board, student desks, a teacher table and two desktop computers for my 21 students. My room looked empty but my heart was full. As far as technology, I had two of the oldest computers that ran slow and needed to be updated.


I moved from third grade to kindergarten. I absolutely loved teaching kindergarten. My little five year old students were not tech savvy. I had to teach them how to use their mouse with smiley face stickers. During my kindergarten teaching years, I remember my students playing the alphabet bubble game where they had to practice using their mouse by popping alphabet letters. They used the smiley face stickers on their mouse to click. It really helped my students learn how to correctly use their mouse. We used our classroom Smart-board daily to engage in whole class activities where the students were encouraged to interact with the smart-board. Students could touch the smart-board to interact and engage themselves in their learning.

2016 - 2021

I transitioned with my kiddos from kindergarten to first grade. I also started back at school for a master's in teaching & learning (which was the master's program I completed before starting my master's in special education). I am so beyond glad I went back to school. I learned about technology platforms to use with students to increase student engagement and motivation. Programs learned include Kahoot, FlipGrid, SeeSaw and PearDeck, I use all four with my students on a weekly basis. Kahoot is our favorite learning platform. They love the challenge, especially getting a green screen (correct answer) instead of a red screen (incorrect answer). We use this platform for both reading and math. FlipGrid and PearDeck are two platforms we used a lot while doing e-learning last year and this year. They loved creating videos of themselves and responding to others through video. PearDeck gave me opportunities to assess my students over weekly lessons at the end of each week while doing e-learning. Responses were automatically saved. We use SeeSaw daily to complete weekly homework assignments.

2020 Covid Experience

In 2020, we got one-to-one laptops for students. It was also the year we experienced covid. Student one-to-one laptops were distributed for at-home learning use. We used a program called MicroSoft Teams for e-learning. Students came on at 8:30am and stayed on until 2:00pm. A day consisted of class, gym, lunch and art or music. We returned from e-learning on January 11th. Students did not return their laptops when we returned back to in-person learning. Each classroom now has two desktop computers for classroom use. We use the Smart-board as our main resource and library as our computer area (one to one computers for students to engage on Waterford or IXL). I continue to use Kahoot, FlipGrid, SeeSaw and PearDeck in person during centers.


I cannot wait to learn more about technology resources and platforms I can use with students to increase their engagement and motivation within their learning. From my school experience to my students there has been a lot of change when it comes to technology. Students today know a lot more about technology than we did when we were in school. It is important that we, as teachers, do our part and integrate as much technology as we can into our classroom.

Different types of platforms teachers can use with their students:

Pear Deck is an interactive presentation tool used to actively engage students in individual and social learning. Teachers create presentations using their Google Drive account. Students log into the presentation with unique access codes and interact with questions while teachers monitor student and whole-class progress.

A smart-board is a large, touch-controlled screen that works with a projector to provide users with a larger version of their computer screen.

Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform with document sharing, online meetings, and tech tools that teachers can use to communicate with students.

Seesaw is a platform for student engagement. Teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students show what they know using photos, videos, drawings, text and PDFs. It’s simple to get student work in one place and share with families

Waterford is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum designed to teach children to read,

IXL is a platform where students can learn necessary reading and math skills needed to succeed in their academics.

Teachers or students can create a discussion topic and share it with their learning community. Learners can record and share short videos with their class.

Kahoot is a game-based learning platform (multiple choice quizzes).

Kahoot! can be used to review students' knowledge, for formative assessment or as a break from traditional classroom activities.

Students explore a variety of powerful and intuitive tools (like draw+record, collage, video, and more!) to show what they know in the way that works best for them.

Edpuzzle is a platform where teachers can easily create interactive video lessons for their students. Within the videos, teachers can embed questions to check student understanding and to break the video up into sections.

Watch the following videos to learn about more platforms you can use with your students:

Snap & Read

Snap&Read is a reading tool that reads both accessible and inaccessible text aloud, levels vocabulary, and translates, delivering usage data to teachers for assessing students' reading needs individually.

Boom Cards

Boom cards are interactive, self-checking digital task cards that students complete on the Boom Learning platform.


Boost student participation with collaborative activities and formative assessments like virtual reality, polls, collaborate boards, and game-based quizzes. Get student insights in real-time and in post-session reports.

Video Tutorial About the Platform SeeSaw using screencast-o-matic:

This is a video for parents to watch and learn about the platform SeeSaw and also helps guide parents in helping their student complete assignments at home.

7 Strategies Chart

These are seven ways teachers can engage students in synchronous online discussions.