Here's a list of what you will find on this page:
- Tools to Transform Your Teaching: Nearpod, Seesaw, Assessment, Creation, Collaboration, Grouping tools, hyperdocs, multimedia text sets
- Copyright Friendly Media: A wealth of audio/video sources and editing tools, infographics, word cloud and QR code generators, quote making tools, screenshot tools
- Presentation Tips & Templates: Tons of slideshow templates for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint, mirror your mobile device so you can teach untethered ("Look, no wires, Ma!")
- Video Annotation and Reflection Tools: Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, Let's Recap and more.
- Screencasting Tools: A variety of tools you can use to record your screen
- Online News and Note-Taking Tools: Find lots of new and info appropriate for K-12 learners
- Free Software: Get free software for Windows, Mac, etc. Also get free email and email management tools
Find links to additional resources and the padlet where you can share YOUR free resources for colleagues!
1 - Tools to Transform Your Teaching
Nearpod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool that can be used to amazing effect in the classroom. The app’s concept is simple.
A teacher can create presentations that can contain Quiz’s, Polls, Videos, Images, Drawing-Boards, Web Content and so on. The children can access a teacher’s presentation through a code. It is up to the teacher to then move the class through the presentation and let them interact with the media as they go.
The app is ‘web based’ and is accessible on a ‘log in’ basis. This means that you can access your Nearpod account through any device that connects to the internet. Transform your existing PPTs, PDFs, and Google Slides into engaging Nearpod lessons by adding interactive activities. (Source)
- Exit Tweet: Ask students to briefly summarize what has been learned.
- Text Polling: Use tools like Google or Microsoft Forms, Kahoot, Quizizz to capture student responses to a question. You can also use Office Mix‘s built-in question feature!
- Classroom Response Tool: Use Socrative, Kahoot, Plickers, GoFormative.com, or Zipgrade.com to get insight into student learning in real time or a video with EdPuzzle.com.
- Additional “Rev Up Your Review” strategies: These are shared by Lisa Monthie (@lisamonthie) in the #tceachat Voxerchat:
- Low Tech strategies include 3-2-1 Summary, Careless Clueless via Lead4ward, Instagram, QR Codes MatchUp, Stars and Steps Chart, Twitter Ticket
- Tech strategies include using Flippity, Plickers, Quizizz, Wizer.me (see Lisa’s example), Ducksoup.us, and Google Translate.
- TurboNote are two tools that allow you to take notes off to the side of the video.
Multimedia Text Sets (MMTS) and Hyperdocs
"MMTSs are just docs with links meant to build schema through exploration," says Lisa Highfill
"...it’s a group of resources—print, audio, and visual—on a particular topic or theme presented in a variety of genres" (Source: Mary Ann Cappiello and Erika Thulin Dawes in Teaching with Text Sets).
"HyperDocs are transformative, interactive Google Docs that replace the standard worksheet method of delivering instruction" (The HyperDocs co-creators).
Hyperdocs can also serve as vehicles of inquiry-based learning.
2 - Copyright-Friendly Media
- Chromebook Basic Image Editor
- Google Draw (check out these resources!)
- Pixlr Editor
- SketchPad (Chrome add-on)
- Sumo Paint
- Doodle Buddy
- Google Photos
- Green Screen
- Microsoft Selfie
- Moldiv (see examples),
- Office Lens
- Perfect Captions
InfoGraphic Templates in Google Slides
Read the Blog Entries
- Infographic Creation Strategies for the Art-Challenged
- The Top 9 Infographic Template Types and template gallery
InfoGraphic Templates (Google Account needed)
Adapt these simple infographic templates in Google format for your own use.
3 - Presentation Templates & Tips
Mirror Your Device Screen for Presentations
“Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasion,s this coded information serves as a guide for action,” says Albert Bandura, social learning theorist. Screen sharing facilitates teacher modeling. Research, as pointed out in various studies, has shown that “modeling is an effective instructional strategy in that it allows students to observe the teacher’s thought processes” (source).
Modeling serves as a way to scaffold students’ own efforts. When they master their own approach to a technique or use of technology (e.g. green screen weather forecast or lesson), then they can engage in student-centered modeling.
Tools for Mirroring Your Device
You probably already know about these apps for mirroring your iOS/Chromebook device to a computer connected to a digital projector:
One FREE alternative for Windows users to mirror their iOS device is LonelyScreen. Like the other solutions, it offers these features:
- Cast AirPlay to PC/MAC.
- Share on the big screen.
- Capture and save.
4 - Video Annotation & Reflection Tools
- Flipgrid.com - Flipgrid is a free, fun, and easy way to have a video chat. It is a great way to get student feedback while incorporating student voice. There is an iOS and Android app.
- VideoNot.es - Have students use this Google Drive App in conjunction with their Google account in order to take notes while they watch a video that you assign. Their notes are synced with the video - click on a line in the notes and have it jump to that portion of the video.
- Vialogues - Vialogues allows you to create conversations that revolve around a video.
- EdPuzzle - EdPuzzle allows you to use only what you need from any video, insert audio notes or record over a video with your voice, and add questions at any point in the video and track your students' understanding.
- Educannon (Playposit) - A great way to annotate already existing Youtube videos for students to watch at home.
Free Video Creation Tools and Digital Whiteboards
5 - Screencasting Tools
1. Develop an outline or map of where you want to go
2. Develop your presentation
3. Pick your recording tool
4. Screencast using shortcut keys
5. Publish/share your video
"Screencasting tools are a popular option for use in schools. At their most basic they allow you to record a video of what is on your computer screen, along with your voice, and depending on the program perhaps your webcam as well. Some may go further to provide you with annotation tools to write on or highlight portions of the screen while recording. " -Eric Curts, Seven Super Screencasting Ideas for Schools
This listing includes browser friendly tools, as well as those you can use on your computer
- Apowersoft Free Online Recorder (Free for limited use)
- CaptureCast (Free unlimited) in Chrome browser- RECOMMENDED
- Ezvid for Windows (Free unlimited) - Tutorial - RECOMMENDED
- Nimbus Screencast (Free unlimited) in Chrome browser
- Screencast-o-matic (Free 15 min recording or $18 for pro version annually)
- Screencastify (Free with watermark and 10 min limit or $20 unlimited sans watermark) in Chrome browser
- TinyTake for Windows (Free unlimited)
- SnagIt ($29.95) for Mac or Windows
- Camtasia Studio ($179.90) if you need higher end video capture and editing on Mac or Windows.
6 - Online News & Note-Taking Tools
- Dogo News – Dogo (which means young or small in Swahili) News provides serves as a leading source of news and information for current events, news and non-fictional content for Common Core ELA, Science and Social Studies. You may also want to visit companion Dogo sites focusing on books, movies, as well as one for teachers.
- Newsela – Current event articles covering many subjects, each written at five different Lexile levels so all students can read the same material at an appropriate level.
- Newseum – The goal of this source is to promote, explain and defend free expression. Special attention is given to the five freedoms of the First Amendment, including religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.
- Science News for Students – This site publishes stories about recent research and current events across the full breadth of STEM fields. We offer several types of articles, blog posts and weekly features. Each article is associated with additional content that can aid the classroom. Stories are grouped into topics, such as “space,” “life & evolution” or “math & technology.”
- Tween Tribune – Over 200,000 registered teachers are using free Smithsonian teacher tools in their classrooms. The site provides access to Daily AP news articles and self-scoring quizzes (both Lexile leveled for K-12), critical thinking questions, student commenting, Spanish AP articles, weekly lesson plans, weekly videos, and weekend “Monday Morning Ready” newsletter as prep for the week ahead.
Looking for great note-taking tools? Want to create power checklists for yourself and your students (or empower them to create their own!)?
Both of the following come with free Android/iOS apps, as well as are accessible on whatever computing device you may have (e.g. Chromebook, Mac/Windows laptop)
Great for Notes, Unformatted Writing and Checklists
- Google Keep
- Wunderlist (more features available for pay version)
- Bear Writer (more features available for pay version)
Great for Notes, Document Repositories, Checklists and More
Keep in mind that if you are a Google Suites user, Google Keep will probably be your go-to. If you are Windows/Office 365, then definitely use OneNote. Or, if you are on a Mac, give SimpleNote a try if the Apple Notes app isn't your favorite.
7 - Free Software
If you missed it, there are tons of free, open source software you can use.
Here is a short list:
- Ninite.com: Install and update all your programs at once. Scroll down to see all the available apps. Get my favorite Ninite picks (this will actually get you a copy of my favorites).
- Open Source Windows
- Compression Software (e.g. zip): 7-zip or PeaZIP
- File Copying/Moving or Management: TeraCopy and FreeCommander
- Text Editors: Notepad++, ConText
- Free Adobe Alternatives
- Scribus: Create great-looking, print-ready posters, newsletters, and magazines.
- GIMP: Refine your photos or create your own artwork from scratch, with support for Photoshop plugins.
- LightZone: A digital darkroom for converting, editing, and managing photos in batches or individually.
- Inkscape: A versatile, open source vector editor that’s ideal for hobbyist illustrators and web designers.
- Unsplash: Professional-quality stock photos in the public domain – totally free to download and use.
- AESCrypt - Encrypt your files easily with this free, open source software. Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, so you're not locked into one platform.
- Audacity - audio-only podcasts (Free - Windows/Mac/Linux)
- Handbrake - video file converter
- Keka - file compression software
- LibreOffice - Free office suite with word processor, etc.
- NameChanger - allows for batch renaming of files. A time-saver if you've ever had to do that.
- HideFolders - Use this to protect documents and folders by hiding them and safeguarding them with a password. Of course, I prefer the more secure TrueCrypt, mentioned below.
- Image Tricks - simple things you can do with an image file.
- MPEG StreamClip - Open/convert most movie formats
- Seashore - free image editor
- TextWrangler - Powerful, free text editor
- The UnArchiver - uncompresses just about anything. Here are two great compression titles you can use to create archives.
- VeraCrypt - lets you create encrypted drives so that you can store your private information in them. Very easy to use...put your confidential information in the encrypted containers this program can create.
- VirtualBox - run Windows software, GNU/Linux software on your Mac
- VLC Media Player - This media player will let you play MP3, OGG, MOV, AVI, and, in short, most video and audio formats available on the Web.
- Outlook blends a simple interface for email and calendars and provides support for Microsoft OneDrive.
- Inbox offers simple responses, email organization and more but lacks a unified inbox. It's a Google alternative to the stock Gmail app.
- Spark‘s interface takes email management to the next level above tools like Google’s Inbox and Outlook, automatically sorting your inbox into various categories.
- Astro features a Mac OS and iOS app. It enjoys an artificial intelligence (AI) that can help you manage your email (with Slack and Alexa support, scheduled emails, snooze emails).
Wish you could move your Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Email around with click-n-drag or point-n-click? Check out these two awesome solutions:
8 - Cards and More
Walmart Gift Cards Every Six Weeks
Check with your local Walmart to see if you can participate in a program that gives a $25 Walmart gift card to teachers each six weeks. If yes, you will have to sign up for it and show your teacher ID. Then, you can go to the service desk each six weeks to pick up your gift card.
9 - Self-Paced, Personalized Learning
Ready to get your technical skills up to speed with self-paced, personalized learning opportunities? The more you explore and seek to share with others, the more you will grow.
- Microsoft’s Educator Community: This online community provides access to free, online professional learning courses. These courses often grant you points in the Community and/or digital badges you can display. Some offer certificates that you can print and put in your portfolio. They cover the basics of Office 365 tools like OneNote, Word Online, PowerPoint Online, and more. You can get started using your free Microsoft account, Twitter, or Facebook account.
- G Suites Learning Center: This website provides access to various facets of Google Suites for Education. Definitely explore it to develop your learning.
- YouTube: Many millennials and Gen Z’ers are growing up learning how to do something on their own. They accomplish this by watching videos on YouTube. You can search online to find a wide variety of topics and learn, then apply what you watch. One of my favorites on new tech is Steve Dotto.
Wait, TCEA Offers Online Professional Learning!
TCEA offers online professional learning for the low-cost of $49 a year. These learning opportunities include Lunch-and-Learn webinars, Get Your Google On webinars, Microsoft Academies, webinar bundles, face to face conferences/conventions, and more. Be sure to check out our blog to see the latest and great idea sharing. Also, be sure to register online via TCEA Events.