Home iPads and Other Tablet Devices June App Ed Review Roundup: Giving Instructional Tools a Summer Tryout!

June App Ed Review Roundup: Giving Instructional Tools a Summer Tryout!

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Dreaming of efficiently digitizing parts of your instruction next school year?

Test driving new apps and websites while game-planning for how to use them in the classroom can be an effective way to pass time during those long, end-of-the-year teacher work days. This month, we will focus on teacher resource instructional tools in the form of both apps and websites that help teachers with different instructional workflows. Specifically, we’ve picked out four of our top tools teachers can use for engaging students with technology in multiple subject areas without losing sight of its foundation, the content. Interested in reading more? App Ed Review currently has reviewed 55 instructional tools for teachers. Remember, each of the apps and websites reviewed includes an original description that provides information about what teachers and students will experience when using the edtech, 3-5 ways that the piece of edtech can be used in the classroom, a comprehensive evaluation of the edtech using a research-validated rubric, and screenshots that help readers visualize the edtech. With that said, onto the reviews! 

  1. A hot new piece of technology, FlipGrid empowers teachers and students to post and respond to questions in audio/video format with a webcam. First, the teacher posts a question or topic in the form of a video or text. Then, the teacher decides on how she wants her students to respond, either by video or text. Next, the teacher shares the FlipGrid question with students via a web link. Students then either record themselves responding orally to the question, or jot down a text response, depending on the question’s settings. As responses pour in, the teacher can view the responses, track progress, and provide feedback. With high scores for student engagement, design, and ease of use, FlipGrid will sure to be a hit in your classroom. For more debate, discussion, and presentation ideas, click here.
  1. For a web tool teachers can use to assess student learning, look no further than Go Formative. With this tool, the teacher has a dashboard that allows her to add or edit assignments, adjust settings, and view their student information. Questions can be customized so they are multiple choice, short answer, or true/false, among other formats, and the question can include videos, images, and text. Once the questions are finalized, the teacher can share the questions with her class via a class code. Live results are shared with the teacher, and student performance data can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. When evaluated on our rubric, Go Formative scored high on the efficiency dimensions, which means it may result in teachers regaining some time they normally spend grading! Check out the full list of instructional possibilities here.
  1. The Extempore tool combines both an app and website to enhance how students learn a foreign language. With a powerful interface, teachers will need to first build a class on the website version of Extempore and then load questions and topics they wish their students to learn, as related to the foreign language. Next, teachers need to provide students with an access code to their class, and students will access the class via Extempore’s app. Once in the app version of the class, students will be presented the questions loaded by the teacher and they will answer them orally by pronouncing words in the foreign language directly into the app. The app will then evaluate not only if the correct word was spoken, but also if its pronunciation was accurate. There is a bit of a learning curve when using Extempore as either a teacher or student; however, the wide variety of content that can be loaded into it and that it evaluates students’ pronunciation of words is a definite plus! With high scores for students learning, Extempore is definitely worth the time it takes to get up and running. Learn more by clicking here!
  1. Between the grading and construction, creating a test can be a frustrating experience. In response, the Easy Test Maker website is designed to simplify that process for teachers. With a variety of question structures available (multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and more!), savvy teachers can load their questions directly into this website and in response it creates a test that students can take, and that is graded automatically (unless short-answer questions are included in the test.) Plus, this website will store tests online, which makes it easy for teachers to return to the tests and make any edits before administering them again. Though Easy Test Maker may not be used as frequently as some other instructional tools, the fact that its contents can be saved and accessed at any time make it a valuable resource for teachers. To learn more, click here!

That’s all for this month’s Roundup. If you would like more information about any of the app lessons mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at info@appedreview.com. And remember, a tool is cool but instructional tools are the coolest!

 

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Alex Fegely is a Social Studies teacher at The Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology, a STEM school in Myrtle Beach. In addition, Alex is an adjunct instructor at Coastal Carolina University. Previously, he has taught English and Digital Media. Alex believes that technology is an invaluable classroom tool for differentiating instruction and engaging learners.   Todd Cherner is an assistant professor of education at Coastal Carolina University. Previous to becoming a professor, Todd was a high school English and Journalism teacher at Leesburg High School, where he also coached bowling. Professionally, Todd believes technology's presence in education is going to continue to increase, and he wants to support teachers with quality resources for using technology effectively in the classroom.

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