13 Free Web Tools Students and Teachers Should Know About

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Web tools continue to proliferate, giving teachers more to add to their arsenal, but it can be difficult to determine which resources are worth exploring. At this year’s International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, Adam Bellow, Founder of EduClipper, and Steve Dembo, Online Community Manager for Discovery Education presented some favorite apps. The two educators are the first to adopt ed-tech classroom strategies and have extensive experience in technological integration.

1. Padlet Formerly called Wallwicher, but it has recently had a facelift and a name change. It’s basically a virtual board with sticky notes that can be easily moved, shared, and integrated. There are multiple views including something more like a scrolling blog, and it’s easy to both personalize the experience and organize the notes. Privacy and moderation settings make it easy for students to become members of a board where a teacher can post resources and encourage them to do the same. “It’s a great way to quickly share resources with your kids and moderate what they post,” Bellow said.

2. Ipicy it’s like free Photoshop, but less complicated. It has intuitive editing control panels that allow simple things like filters, effects, cropping, and resizing. It’s also easy to undo anything that didn’t go as planned. But if the project requires more sophisticated processing, Ipiccy has layers that like Photoshop allow a user to achieve very professional end products. Best of all, it’s easy to upload projects to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks that a class could use to host completed work.

3. Thing link allows a user to add content to images. For example, a student could display a map of Washington, DC and add a video showing how a bill becomes law on the Capitol. And it is easy. The user simply clicks on a spot in the image and adds text, a website link, or an embed code for the video. It’s a quick and easy way to make a project more dynamic and interactive.

4. Easel.ly is a fairly simple way to create an infographic, a visual representation of information. The tool offers defined themes that can be dragged onto a blank canvas to give students a starting point. A good example is a map of the United States with bubbles highlighting statistics on specific areas. Then icons can be added, sized and modified to visually represent the information. It’s good for those who are unsure of their technical skills, but want to start incorporating digital tools into the classroom. It won’t do the job for you, and it forces students to represent what they know at the end of a research project, while still granting some creative license. “Instead of giving away a paper or a draft, it’s a great way for them to visually break down concepts,” Bellow said.

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About Haydee J. Kennedy

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