Reflective Teacher 30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 13: Ed Tech

This post is part of TeachThought’s 30 Day Reflective Teacher Blogging Challenge.

Day 13: Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

I’m not sure of the exact definition of “edtech tools” — but here’s my list of techy-things I love. My classroom is not as fancy and high-tech as many of yours I’m reading about, but I do my  best with what I have!

Hardware I can’t live without:

  • My Activboard & speakers.
  • Student cellphones ( & other internet-connected devices) – for BYOD days, but also just to take a quick picture of the board or instructions, to look something up on Word Reference, to put a reminder in their calendar when we schedule a time for them to come make up a test, or to study vocab on Quizlet.

Websites:

  • Quizlet – I’ve mentioned it before, but quizlet is my #1 tech tool! When I start a new unit, I check my Quizlet list from last year to see what phrases I taught. I love it for a quick vocab review at the beginning or end of class, as a station, and as a resource for students to use at home. It’s great for make up work (Just study your stamps – the vocab is on quizlet), impressing parents (it talks! it prints flashcards! there’s an app!), and communicating with students exactly what I expect them to know.
  • Edmodo – I tried implementing Edmodo last year (didn’t end up using it much), and I’ve tried again this year, and again, it’s just not taking off. I see the potential it has, but so far, I’m not taking full advantage of it.
  • Random question selector: I don’t use this all the time, but it’s great for a review game – I find it works great for practicing questions. Type in the questions you want to work on (instead of names), then in class hit “shuffle” and you’ll get a random question! It makes an activity that can get repetitious feel fresh – you can watch the questions scrolling through, it makes a cool sound, and you never know what you’ll get!

Spanish-specific – love these two sites for authentic audio!

Productivity tools:

  • Dropbox has become vital to my practice this year! My dropbox is linked to my desktop computer, my work laptop, my personal laptop, and my phone. Additionally, I have a folder that is shared with my department, as well as a newbie teaching buddy. Dropbox makes it easy to:
    • Create a document at home and access it at work, without having to email or use a flashdrive.
    • Share documents with my department. The shared folder feature is AWESOME! You get a notification every time a document is added to the shared folder – super easy to collaborate and share the burden of planning good activities, without having to email everything (the shared folder is much more organized than my inbox!). Furthermore, only the documents in the folder are shared – it’s easy share, but you can also keep personal files private.
    • Moving photos from my phone to my computer – dropbox can automatically sync your phone’s pictures – it makes blogging so much faster when I don’t have to stop and email pictures from my phone to my computer – they’re already in my dropbox.
    • Sharing screenshots – dropbox also allows you to choose to save all screenshots automatically. So I can take a screenshot of my Activboard, then tweet or blog it later from home.

If you’re interested in using dropbox, here’s a referral link – sign up through this link and you give me extra storage. 🙂

  • Delicious – for bookmarking resources across different computers. I prefer it to Pinterest because I find it less overwhelming, and also because it allows you to save sites that don’t have a “pinable” image. Here is my delicious page – I spent several hours during post-planning one year saving and tagging all the audio lingua novice-level recordings (available at the time), so if you need a something for a specific topic, click the tag and see what I’ve got saved!
  • Evernote – I used to use Evernote for lesson plans, but I’m back to paper this year – I just find it easier to put my ideas down on paper! My main use for Evernote right now is for organizing my conference notes – I’ve started taking my laptop to conferences and typing my notes into Evernote. After the conference, I review my notes, make spelling/grammar corrections, and add any pictures I took during the presentation. I have terrible handwriting, so typing my notes gives me something neat that I can share with colleagues, and also makes it easy for me to search and find my notes on a specific idea when I remember an idea that I got at a conference, but need a refresher on how to implement it in class.
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About Andrea

I am a teacher, dancer, and Spanish-speaker. This is my place to organize & share my thoughts on teaching, foreign language & language learning.
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