Here are three categories of tools the authors suggest teachers consider:
Tools for collaborative learning (to learn from and with each other):
Google Docs: Students work on the same document and comment on each other’s work.
Padlet: Students add images, video, text, links, etc. simultaneously to this digital corkboard.
Voicethread: Create presentations with a team and add narration to the multimedia.
Coggle: Make mind maps online with the teacher and peers.
Glogster: Create digital posters that can include text, video, audio, photos, and video.
iMovie: This video-editing iPad app allows students to create movies or book trailers.
Storybird: A story-writing site that gives students access to professional illustrations.
Educreations: Students can draw and narrate on a topic of their choice. (image below)
Read&Write: Use this set of tools for speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and word prediction.
Newsela: A database of current news articles written at a range of reading levels.
Readability: This app removes the web ads and images for an easier reading experience.
Nearpod: A platform that allows teachers to input content for students to interact with.
The authors close the article with a few questions to consider:
- How can I naturalize the use of digital tools?
- Is this tool necessary and beneficial?
- How does this tool help to develop fluency and analytical skills?
- How does this tool position my students as producers of knowledge?
They also end their piece by noting that “apps cannot do all the work. Good teaching is always key.” If you do try out one of these tools out within your classroom instruction, let us know about the experience in the comments.
Author: Matt Renwick
Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District, also in Wisconsin (http://mineralpointschools.org/). He also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com). View all posts by Matt Renwick