Cool Tools for Teaching

Here is a list of “Cool Tools” to use in the classroom!

Polleverywhere – This is an online audience response system service. Teachers can create polls and have students respond either immediately using a computer or mobile device, or leave the poll open for a longer period of time for responses. They feature educational pricing and a free option that allows up to 32 responses per poll. I have seen this used in computer labs, with classroom sets of iPod Touch devices and even cell phones.

Jing – This is an online service for screen capture and screencasting. The free version is quite robust and allows teachers (or students) to make videos of computer screen activitiy. That activity can even be narrated to create a tutorial or lesson (also called a screencast).

USTREAM – This online service can turn an ordinary computer with a web cam and Internet connection into a live broadcast studio. You can also capture the broadcast and store it for anytime playback. I’ve seen it used for streaming concerts, sports, classroom programs and more. (Be careful about use of names or other identifiers and be aware of copyright issues!) They feature a free (ad-supported) tier of service.

TeacherTube – This is a free education-related alternative to the popular YouTube service. It is generally “safer” and the advertising is less intrusive. It is often not blocked by school content filters (though it still is blocked by many).

Media-Convert – An online conversion tool for video, audio, images, documents, spreadsheets and much more. I’ve seen many teachers use this to convert that odd file that a student brings from home but that doesn’t open on the school computer. Very handy and works quite well. NOTE… It does not currently support the MS Office 2007/2008 file formats (.docx, xlsx, etc.)

Prezi – An online application for creating and showing presentations. What sets this apart from other presentation software is that it in non-linear. Thus, you can create a presentation in any order and jump from one area to another very easily. Allows for the use of the mindmapping concept. Presentations can be stored and viewed online.

Flickr – Share photos online. They can be shared publicly or privately to a select group of people (handy if sharing photos of students).

Also, take a look at this current discussion on Web 2.0 tools in the Verizon Thinkfinity 101 community for more ideas.

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