Apps and Sites for the Twenty-First Century Classroom

AppsA lot of folks have been e-mailing me and asking what apps, sites, and programs I use in my class. I just finished making a list for my incoming students, so I thought I would post something similar for you fine folks.

Every unit I teach, my students have to take something they’re learning about and “produce” it for a wider audience. These sites help my students do that in fun ways.

Tagxedo – Make a visually stunning word cloud.

Animoto– Make a slideshow with pictures and music.

Pixlr– Powerful, online image editing software for free.

Lucid Chart– Make cool flowcharts and diagrams.

Prezi– A PowerPoint alternative.

Piktochart– A great site for making infographics.

Go Animate– Create cool, animated stories. It has some free features that my students use, but you do need to pay a couple bucks a month to really use it to its full potential. I designed my entire gamified storyline using Go Animate.

Scratch– Create games, animated stories, and interactive art with this easy computer programming site made by some folks at MiT.

Audacity– A free, powerful audio recorder and editor.

This next group of resources we use in my class to make our lives easier or my class better.

Schoology– The best online learning management system out there and an essential part of my class. I do almost everything through Schoology.

iTunes U, Coursera, Khan Academy– Free, quality online classes. I use these as my anchor activity. If a student gets done early, while they wait for everyone else to finish, they are to be on one of these sites working on a class they’ve chosen to enroll themselves in. When they pass a course and bring me the certificate, they unlock an achievement and earn ap (my class currency). Kids like these classes so much, many go home and do them for fun. Learning… for fun….who would have thought!?

Google– I use Google Apps for Education extensively in class. It has completely changed how my students and I exchange feedback and how we workshop our papers. I plan on going in depth into how my class workshops papers, so stay tuned.

CloudOn (app) – If you have an iDevice, this is a must have. It allows you to edit Microsoft Office programs on the iPad.

Dropbox– Popular cloud storage program. Instead of using a flash drive, kids use Dropbox (and/or Google Drive).

Scan (app/android)- I use QR codes in class. This is the best scanner to use with QR codes.

Dragon Dictation (app)- The best voice to text program out there. You talk, it types!

Evernote– Online note taking program/app. Too many features to list.

Turitin– Check for plagiarism and grade papers online. My school has a subscription. Awesome site.

DocAs Lite (app)- You need to spend the couple bucks for the full version, but DocAs is the best iPad app to use with Schoology if you are trying to go paperless. If you didn’t know, Schoology uses flash. The iPad does not support flash; therefore, you can’t grade via iPad directly in Schoology (more here). So, this is the main way I annotate student work. I post work on Schoology. They download, complete, and upload. I then open in DocAs, through Schoology, and convert their work to a .pdf. I can then annotate with my stylus or record voice feedback and re-upload it back to the student. It sounds like a lot, but all of the downloading and converting takes a few seconds. I’ve tried a lot of other apps and workflow solutions, but this is the best way. Schoology, let’s get that html5 grading going already!

Poll Everywhere– Poll Everywhere, when combined with PowerPoint, has allowed me to go to a cellphone based, interactive Do Now and closing activity that I project for the whole class to see and participate in. The kids love it, and I think it is really unique. I’m currently playing around with infuselearning, but can’t seem to find a way to get it to “project” like I can get Poll Everywhere to. I plan on doing a writeup on how I use Poll Everywhere, so stick around for that!

Newsela- I knew I forgot one. Newsela is a site that not only takes current events and aligns them with common core, but also allows you to increase or decrease the difficulty of the article. If that wasn’t enough, they have quick quizzes your students can take while they read! An awesome site where I get my current events from.

Byliner– Forgot another one! A one-stop-shop for articles and short stories written by the world’s best writers. With Common Core looking for 50% of our readings in English class to be non-fiction and/or informational, this site has helped me cut down on my search time a lot! It has recently started charging a subscription, but for a couple bucks, it’s worth the time I save. Between Byliner and Newsela, I’ve got my supplemental materials covered!

I’m sure I am forgetting some, and will post them as I remember, but hopefully you’ll check these out and it will inspire you or your students to try new things.

Share your favorite app, program, or website, in the comments!