Every online tech-savvy teacher knows about the excellence of Edmodo, the content Kings at Khan Academy, and the fantastic durability of Dropbox. But amongst these rightly hailed diamonds of online content there are thousands of other brilliant resources at your fingertips that you may never even have heard of. Some tools never make it to public prominence because of flaws in their design or execution – in the fast-paced world of education technology, a resource must be efficient, exciting and innovative to achieve widespread usage. But there are some absolute gems that, for whatever reason, aren’t always quite as talked about as others. And it’s a shame to miss out on a tool that could streamline your schedule or increase your class productivity, so here’s a few of the most excellent but little-known edtech resources around…
Kubbu is one of those tools that has clearly been created with the time-pressed teacher in mind from the very beginning of the design process. It fulfils the crucial double criteria of both excitement and efficiency. To spice up your classroom and lesson plans, the tool allows teachers to create their own quizzes with a difference – they don’t just take the form of the traditional question and answer format, but can also be reincarnated as games, puzzles and crosswords. Different types of quiz have been specially formulated for the needs of different teachers and subject types – from a ‘matching’ puzzle ideally suited to language learners to a ‘divide’ style, where students must separate items into different categories. Quizzes can be made available to students online, using an easy group account, so the resource can be accessed from home as well, or printed versions are available for in-class use.
Best of all, the resource is simple and well-organised, saving time by automatically working out student results and storing them in your personalised database, where you can instantly compare and sort grades, track student progress or asses a particular group’s performance.
It might be less well known than some of its successful competitors, but Stormboard is a fantastically simple device for those looking for an online, collaborative whiteboard. Students and teachers can simultaneously work on the same document or brainstorm from remote locations and the tool offers the inspired option to hold quick votes, making teamwork and decision-making processes quick and hassle-free. Free for up to 5 users and relatively cheap for bigger numbers, this tool is ideal for use with small tutorial groups.
This brilliant resource from Read Write Think prompts and encourages students to explore different writing styles in a dynamic, interactive online environment. Set up with cool graphics to look like something between a printing press and a bank vault, the programme allows students to choose from different iconic writing formats (newspaper, poster, brochure etc.) Then they are guided through the process of creating their piece of work, from adding appropriate text to inserting images, which are automatically scaled to fit. At the end, they can save their work to come back to later, print it, or share it with others (or their teacher) using an email option.
What are your favourite little-known education gems? Share your edtech tools with us and others in the comments box below!