10 Best Free Ed-Tech Tools for Fun and Effective Teaching
Some twenty years ago, a teacher using a PowerPoint presentation in the classroom would have been considered a revolutionary. Today, it’s hard to imagine that one can give a lesson without implementing at least one ed-tech solution. And why would they?
Educational tech tools have the power to improve teaching quality, enhance students’ academic performance, and bring students’ involvement in the lesson to a completely new level. When used with a clear pedagogical purpose, they make learning and education accessible for all students – regardless of their skills, learning abilities, and interests.
Variety and flexibility is the key, though. The idea is to use the right tool at the right moment and for the right learning context. To make that happen, teachers would need to have an array of those. This means that the more free apps there are on the market, the easier teachers would find those exact tools that would suit their educational scenarios.
That said, here is the list of our favorite 10 apps teachers can use to make the learning process more effective and fun:
Originally developed for corporate businesses, Zoom has reasonably taken the spotlight of the most favorite video-conferencing tool for teacher-student interaction, especially during the last covid-clouded year. As one of many video communication platforms, it provides a perfect space for hosting online lessons and workshops and offers a decent variety of no less useful functions such as screen sharing, whiteboards, annotations, and breakout rooms. Whether you are connected online or offline, this tool helps students and teachers to be always within close reach – sharing their knowledge, experiences, and ideas.
Socrative is an extremely useful tool for teachers and educators that allows collecting student feedback at the end of the lesson or training. Long before the ed-tech era, teachers were using paper questionnaires and quizzes to estimate group comprehension after the class. Traditionally, they contained one or two questions where students had to solve the problem or explain what they had learned. This would give teachers an idea about their student-reaching efficiency and help to adjust their strategies and materials. Socrative is a convenient digital substitute to paper questionnaires that also hosts a number of other gameplay features, such as quizzes for teamwork activities.
Adding Google Docs to the list of top digital tools for education is an idea far from original and fresh. However, the tool is so great that it deserves to be mentioned over and over again. Once used for educational purposes, you won’t ever come back to traditional desktop text editors. It allows creating and editing documents, sharing files with the rest of the group, leaving feedback on student performance, asking questions, whatnot – and all of it online in real time. It’s one of the best tools to remove tedious work from the educational process and focus on actually learning.
Canva is an amazing visual content creation tool for teachers and learners, which is completely free. Students can experiment with a huge library of templates, stickers, posters, pictures, text samples, graphic figures, and other functions to create graphic learning materials and brush up their presentations. Teachers may also find it helpful when making up their handouts.
Applying QR codes in the classroom is by far the easiest way to gamify a learning process. Students simply have to scan the codes which then will redirect them to the appropriate learning resources. To bring this idea into life, all you need to have is QRCode Monkey to generate the codes, while students should install a free QR reader on their devices. There are many ways how QR codes can be embedded into your educational scenarios; for instance, your students might appreciate a QR code treasure hunting.
Although a timer tool may seem a fish too small to be on the list of the best ed-tech apps, it can do wonders when it comes to helping your students work at their full potential. Students may feel frustrated when they have to deal with large and difficult assignments. However, if you break the job into smaller, manageable pieces, it is not so intimidating anymore.
Online Stopwatch is a super-cool app with lots of colorful and fun timers that can help structure classroom work and turn it into a game or a competition. Even adult learners find it helpful:
“I was seriously thinking of hiring a professional to write my nursing paper for me as I am too absent-minded. But then I tried this timer and a Pomodoro technique. I’ve never been so productive and focused before.”
As a teacher, you are forever doomed to balance between writing reports, preparing lesson plans, holding meetings, and assessing student papers. Trello is an excellent project management tool that helps you structure and organize your work to always stay on top of your priorities. And if you enjoy teamwork with other teachers, try out their shared boards.
Edmodo is a digital classroom tool that helps students and teachers stay in touch and make the most of their collaboration. Here, you can exchange messages with your learners, contact their parents, upload learning materials, and all that in a perfectly structured and clear manner.[adsense]
MindMeister is a mobile-friendly free mind-mapping application that can be used to visualize your thoughts and ideas. It helps students to cooperate with their peers and teachers by creating and sharing their concepts and opinions in real-time. It might be a good idea for teachers to also share their mind-maps; for instance, as a part of quiz assignments.
Finally, if you a looking for a great education video-resource, try out Ted-Ed in your classroom. As much as the original TED channel, its educational arm is focused on the ideas worth sharing. Teachers and students from all over the world share their insights, knowledge, and ideas, and it’s a great way to dilute your lesson with fascinating video content available on a variety of subjects.