As we reach the halfway point in the school year, it can be difficult to maintain motivation — not only for educators, but for students themselves! Student engagement has to be a top priority for everyone to ensure the success of the class, and edtech is a great way to maintain or boost motivation. But as an educator, it can be hard to know what tools to use. Try not to be overwhelmed by the countless new or flashy education technology options available. Instead, review the curated list from the experts at SchoolMart below, then create a select list of tools that work for you, your classroom, your students, and your teaching style.
For some, edtech is a mere necessity of our world, especially with the rise of online and hybrid schooling over the last two years. However, edtech can go beyond necessity to better target the needs of the classroom and offer a more interactive experience for everyone. Edtech tools can offer teachers an opportunity to design instruction, develop new methods for learning, track data, and make data-based decisions. In a rapidly advancing technological world, there are tools for almost any needs or goals you might have. It’s easy, it’s accessible, it’s multifaceted; it’s a necessary component for any successful classroom.
Choosing Your EdTech
The most important step is to ask, “What are my learning and teaching goals? How can I use edtech to reach these goals?” Once your goals are clear, finding the perfect edtech becomes that much easier. In the guide below, review example goals and edtech tools that might best fit your needs.
Goal: “I want to offer students quality feedback on their work, and give them a chance to act on it.”
- Floop – Cloud-based website where students can receive annotated feedback from teachers and peers
- Mote – Add voice comments and audio content to shared content, such as Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets
- Kaizena – Google Docs add-on that allows you to add voice comments, lessons, and skills
Goal: “My students need more opportunities to practice skills, which I can monitor and target feedback based on.”
- Gimkit – Classroom game-show quiz platform where students compete by answering on their electronic devices
- Kahoot – Classroom game-show quiz platform where students answer questions on their devices and teachers build presentations with embedded quizzes
- Prodigy – Interactive and engaging game adventure to build math skills for grades 1st through 8th
Goal: “I want to find a way to foster student creativity and increase their connections with one another.”
- Storybird – Students can bring their stories and writing to life with this platform by making picture books, comics, poems, or novels
- Anchor – A free podcasting tool that allows students to explore content areas and share their insight
- MindMeister – Offers students a platform to make mind maps to visualize ideas and collaborate with a team
Goal: “I’d like to increase student participation and enhance the quality of the participation.”
- PearDeck – Integrated with Google Slides, allows teachers to collaborate in creating content, add audio and gifs, and add engagement components to their lessons
- FlipGrid – Students and teachers record video responses, discussions, and presentations
- YellowDig – Social learning platform designed for higher education that uses social media conventions to create a private network for learning communities
Goal: “I need to find a way to make videos to explain tasks, make reminders, and present on slides.”
- Loom – Record quick videos of your screen and camera
- Screencast-O-Matic – Video creation and management platform that allows you to present and record lectures with a webcam and screen recorder
- Screencastify – Record, edit, and share videos with a free Chrome extension
Other Effective EdTech Tools
While some edtech is perfectly suited to a goal you might have, other edtech simply makes aspects of teaching more convenient and more fun! Here are some of our favorite free and easy-to-use tools that can be used in any learning spaces.
- Padlet – This online notice board allows students and teachers to post notes on a common page containing text, links, videos, images, and documents
- Classroomscreen – A multi-purpose classroom management tool that displays a calendar, timers, traffic lights, work symbols, QR codes, random name selectors, and more
- Canva for Education – A powerful design tool, Canva can be used to design presentations, posters, infographics, worksheets, and lesson plans
- Blooket – Create a quiz from scratch or upload it from Quizlet, then allow students to work on their own or in teams
- JamBoard – Digital whiteboard available in Google Drive designed specifically for collaboration
- Piktochart – Tell visual stories with infographics, reports, presentations, and prints
Using EdTech Effectively
For many students, the mere implementation of new technology enhances engagement, as they’re often eager to try new platforms. But to really make edtech impactful in the classroom, it’s more than using flashy new tools. It’s about using tools the right way. Review the strategies below for maximizing education technology usage and keeping your cool in the process.
- Choose tools that reflects your learning goal(s). Not all edtech will reach all students. Don’t be afraid to try out different platforms or methods of using them until you find the right fit.
- Use the tool to complement the material and enhance the experience for students, but avoid letting it drive the lesson.
- Don’t be afraid of making it a game! According to studies from the Brookings Institute, technology increases learner engagement, motivation, and effort when presented in game and “gamification” form.
- Take your time learning about the tools. It can be stressful to learn edtech for a variety of reasons. Try to focus on one tool and master it — you and your students will be better for it.
- Ask your students for help! Chances are, they might have ideas and be able to help. This also demonstrates to students that you’re always learning too.
Contact SchoolMart for More Tips to Enhance EdTech Usage
Edtech can be exciting, but it can be overwhelming too. For more information on education technology, how to use it, or how to incorporate it into your classroom, reach out to our team of edtech pros! Call 1-800-285-2662 or contact us here.