Matt Miller (@JMattMiller), author of the Ditch that . . . series wrote in his book Don’t Ditch That Tech (Burgess, 2020), “Technology can super charge learning.” Technology provides active learning, student centered, differentiated opportunities for students to showcase learning and understanding. Before you integrate any technology, consider the goals for the unit, lesson, and individual students. Then think about how technology might integrate to support those goals and provide opportunities to transcend learning.
As we get closer to the start of another school year and many of us do not know what that will look like in the midst of COVID-19 – in person teaching, hybrid models, blended learning, or 100% remote learning. Here are twelve tech resources for teaching English (and other content areas) to super-charge learning whether we are in the classroom or working from a distance.
Actively Learn – My favorite reading platform by far because of its customizable aspects. Students are able to read digital, print and videos within the platform and answer reading comprehension questions. Standards aligned and tons of free content or you can upload and design your own. Many differentiated aspects to support ENLs. struggling readers and high fliers. Syncs with Google Classroom.
Newsela – Similar to Actively Learn but now is a paid platform with tons of nonfiction articles. Differentiates by changing the lexile scores of reading passages to make information accessible to everyone.
Insert Learning – This Chrome Extension allows you to insert instructional content to any page! Create your own differentiated assignments that are customized to individual students. It’s free!
Edpuzzle – Yes, this is a video platform that allows a teacher to insert a video and include comprehension questions throughout the video to check for understanding. We live in a visually saturated culture and students need to be able to “read close” visual texts.
TeleStory is an App that allows students to create and broadcast your own TV show! Record a music video, teleport to an alien planet, film a high-speed-chase, or perform on a reality TV show. This is a great way for students to get creative in how they showcase their ideas, learning, and knowledge.
Flipgrid is a free platform that Syncs with Google Classroom for students to amplify their voice by sharing and showcasing ideas, reflections, and information verbally.
Storybird is a creative writing platform for students and provides a writing curriculum for teachers. This paid platform supports Google Classroom and has more than 600 writing challenges and art from around the world to inspire and support students authors.
Buncee is a great tool to create, present, and share multimedia. Teachers can use it for lessons to share content and students can create their own engaging presentations or portfolios. Nearpod and Peardeck are similar to Buncee for sharing information for classroom presentations or a flipped lessons.
Showcase Learning & Assessment:
I have already mentioned Flipgrid and Buncee which students can utilize to document, communicate, and visualize their learning. Here are a few others that allow students to be creative and show learning and understanding.
Powtoons is a comic creation tool where students can create their own storyboard, comic book, or graphic novel.
Padlet collects responses from students in text or visual format. I have also utilized padlets for book reviews, sharing poetry and reading responses.
StoryMap.KnightLab.com is like Google Lit Trips where a map is utilized to tell a story. You can tell stories with photographs, works of art, historic maps, or a narrative.
I work in a Google School and I use Google Suite daily. GSuite offers lots of different tools that can help students showcase their learning from Google Jamboards for collaboration and brainstorms, longer writing on Google Docs, presentations in Google Slides or think outside of the box with Google Drawings to create infographics, graphic organizers or illustrations.