With the variety of options available today, education technology is increasingly becoming the solution to everyday classroom issues that teachers have struggled with for years. However, the wide range of EdTech solutions available can make it difficult to choose what will work best for your students—and experimentation with different products isn’t always possible with your school’s budget.
To help you make the best decision for your classroom, we’ve compiled a list of six tried-and-true tech solutions that other educators recommend to solve your everyday classroom problems:
- Edpuzzle (Free for basic; premium features require membership)
The Problem: You want to share a YouTube video with your students, but you want it to stop in specific places to allow for discussion or avoid irrelevant information.
The Solution: Customize your video viewing experience!
Edpuzzle is a simple online solution that offers you full control over your classroom video sharing experience. With this tool, you can take existing videos from the web and make them fully interactive with your lessons. Edpuzzle allows you to add auto-pauses, questions, and even a recording of your voice to any video you want to show your students. Additionally, Edpuzzle makes it possible to track engagement with your videos out of the classroom, providing you with statistics about which students have watched, how many views per section, and students’ understanding of the content.
- TimelineJS (Free)
The Problem: You’re teaching your students about a chain of events, but all of the videos and timelines you find online are missing either the important events or the right details for your lesson plan.
The Solution: Create your own interactive timeline!
Created by Knight Lab––the digital media research and development team at Northwestern University––TimelineJS was originally created as a journalism tool to promote interactive storytelling. This free online tool makes it easy to create and share an interactive timeline, making it the perfect solution to all of your timeline needs in the classroom. Simply input your dates, facts, and media or links into the downloadable Google sheets document, and embed your timeline in a PowerPoint, blog, or website to share with your students.
- Flipd (Free for basic; premium features require membership)
The Problem: You’ve brought personal devices into your classroom to boost student engagement and collaboration, but students are getting distracted by attempting to multi-task on their devices during instruction time, which greatly reduces their engagement with and retention of the lesson material.
The Solution: Use a productivity monitoring app to help students stay focused.
Flipd is a productivity app that offers two options for removing the distractions of a personal device: work in timed intervals, similar to the Pomodoro Technique, or shut down all functionality other than texts, calls, and mail for a set amount of time. This app is unique to other productivity apps because it allows educators to set up full-classroom productivity time blocks among all personal devices in the room, which can help boost more engaged discussion and collaboration in the classroom. Plus, Flipd essentially gamifies productivity—encouraging students to beat their personal records and giving them visual data––so students have motivation to use the app during their personal work time out of the classroom.
- Project Gutenberg and Open Library (Free online libraries)
The Problem: You’ve had the same books in your class library for the past five years, and your students have grown tired of their limited selection. You want to make literature more accessible to your students, but you don’t have room in your classroom budget to expand your collection.
The Solution: Utilize your Internet access to find free books online.
Finding the right online library can be a difficult task—especially since you can’t read every book each library has available. Luckily, these two online libraries are tried-and-true resources for your classroom, offering thousands of eBooks that are suitable for students. Project Gutenberg offers over 57,000 eBooks and focuses mainly on historical literature, including many older works for which copyright has expired. Open Library is a more expansive record of books, which provides access to over 1.7 million scanned versions of books, as well as links to external sources that have even more books to offer.
- Algodoo (Free on a computer; $4.99 for iPad)
The Problem: You’re teaching your students physics and want them to be able to experiment with the concepts they’re learning, but you don’t have the supplies or budget to enable them to do so during their lab time.
The Solution: Opt for an online physics simulation instead!
Algodoo is a full-featured 2D simulation software of a virtual physics environment. The software allows endless possibilities for experimenting with fluids, springs, hinges, motors, gravity, friction, refraction, and more. For a deeper analysis, Algodoo offers the option to show graphs or visualize forces, velocities, and momentum. It’s even optimized to work with interactive whiteboard systems like the MimioSpace collaborative system, so you can use it to bring whole-class collaboration to the front of your physics classroom.
- MimioFrame and MimioTeach™ (Special educator pricing available)
The Problem: It’s 2018 and your school still doesn't have the budget for interactive technology at the front of the classroom. You’ve got some room in your budget, but you’re afraid of the commitment of a full interactive panel installation, and you want to keep your whiteboard space as it is.
The Solution: Install an interactive whiteboard solution that uses your existing whiteboard as the surface.
Depending on the functionality you’re looking for in an interactive whiteboard, Boxlight has the right low-commitment solution for your classroom. The MimioFrame touch board kit is great for educators who want an affordable, semi-permanent touch board solution for their classroom without losing whiteboard space. This kit attaches to the perimeter of your whiteboard, acting as a frame to the existing space and allowing you to continue to use the whiteboard. For schools that aren’t ready for a permanent solution, the MimioTeach system is a portable interactive whiteboard setup. This system can be attached to any whiteboard and can be shared between classrooms thanks to its portability.
These EdTech solutions barely begin to cover every classroom challenge that technology can be useful in solving. What are some of your tried-and-true tech solutions for the classroom? Share them with us in the comments below!
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