Friday, August 23, 2013

My 7 Favorite Tech Tools for My Class

So many of my Tweeps have been sharing some of their favorite tech tools that they use in their classroom so I figure I might as well too!  In no particular order here are my favorite tools to use with my students and a few I plan to use this year that I'm really excited about!


Ever since I found out about Remind101.com in July of 2012 I have been obsessed.  I'm a guy who always has my phone on me.  Always.  And I know how quick it is to read a text and share information via text!  What Remind101 allows you to do is send texts to parents and students without ever needing their phone number and they never need yours!  Best of all it's a one way communication, meaning parents can't text you back! Oh, and it's FREE!!!

I have absolutely loved being able to send text reminders to parents about field trips, tests, upcoming activities, all kinds of things!  And best of all parents have continually told me how much they appreciate the text updates.  Many statistics are out there now about how few parents actually read emails or letters that are sent home.  Those statistics GREATLY increase though when it comes to texting!

And it helps that Remind101 has one of the nicest teams of people out there that I've met!


Sophia.org has been an excellent resource in my classroom.  Since I am flipping my classroom it is nice to have a platform like Sophia, that is free, and very easy to use.  In addition to having over 34,000 videos on their site already made by other teachers, they have Bill Nye the Science Guy, and a FREE Flipped Class Certification Program and a iPad Certification Program endorsed by Capella University!

Even though I upload all my videos to several different places for my students, my students have clearly chosen Sophia.org as their favorite place to access videos.  And that's because I can create "Tutorials" in Sophia that in addition to embedding my video Sophia will allow me to embed a PowerPoint, PDF, Word Document, or even a Google Form!  I also get a quizzing feature and video analytics that will not only tell me who is watching my videos but also HOW LONG they're watching the videos!  Awesomness, right!?!

I absolutely love Sophia and like Remind101 they have an incredible team of people behind the name!

Edmodo.com is a tool that I have used for the past 3 or 4 years.  In short it's a social networking platform that allows me to connect with my students in a safe and protected environment.   I can share information, give tests/quizzes, share documents/websites, take polls, take assignments, and now can even link my Google Docs files to it!

I have really enjoyed Emodo for the ease at which it is to use.   And since I teach 5th graders, they have greatly enjoyed getting a "social media type" account since many of them aren't old enough to have Facebook/Twitter type accounts.

Edmodo is completely closed so no one can have access to your class unless you give them access.

The Edmodo support team is INCREDIBLE with their response to questions, and Edmodo also provides tons of pre-made letters and handouts so you never have to "re-create the wheel".

Movenote.com has been a more recent addition to my classroom.  My students LOVE using Movenote!  We use the add-on in our Google Drive (since we're a Google Apps for Education district).

In shot, what movenote allows the students to do is upload their Google Presentation and then record themselves (via a webcam or separately attached camera) talking through their presentation!  

I recently found out that movenote also has an app!  So I can't wait to start using that.  Movenote took no training with my students, they picked it up RIGHT away!  Very easy way to record students presenting a presentation for you to have access to or to add to their digital portfolios!


I love the idea behind Classroom Champions.  Created by Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Mesler and his sister Leigh what Classroom Champions does is connects your students and classes with Olympic and Paralympic Athletes.  There are tons of pre-recoded videos on their website for you to use for FREE!  Things like goal setting, making friends, and so much more!

The idea of being able to bring perspectives from Olympians is incredible and super inspiring to use in the classroom!

Socrative is not only web-based, but also an App!  This free resource allows me turn any of my student's devices into Student Response systems (or "clickers")!  I can gain instant feedback, do quizzes, or even just brainstorming!  I love the ease at which it is to use socrative and love that any of my students can use it with their own device! 


There's been a lot of backlash lately about different behavior management tools.  And I agree with some and disagree with others.  But regardless of the thoughts, Class Dojo really is an excellent resource for teachers to use in their classroom for behavior management.

You create a class, add your students, and each one of them gets a little "monster" that they can later go in and personalize.  The "positive/negative" points are changeable so can make them fit your needs exactly.

What I also really enjoy about Class Dojo is the data you get.  You get charts and graphs after every class with breakdowns of the points given out that day.  Parents can also log on at any time to check how their child is doing!

But for me, best of all is the App!  I can update something on the app and it immediately updates the website!  I carry my device everywhere with my giving out positive or negative Class Dojo points no matter where we are!

What I'm looking forward to using!


Now there are also a few tools I learned about this summer, and two I am really looking forward to using are below!  I do have to say that I heard about BOTH of these tools from Drew Minock (@TechMinock) and Brad Waid (@TechBradWaid).  Those two guys are INCREDIBLE resources.  In addition to their amazingly information website (www.twoguysandsomeipads.com), they are also starting a brand new weekly podcast with the EdReach network called "Two Guys".  You can find more information about that by visiting edreach.us/twoguys! Their FIRST podcast is this TUESDAY at 8:00pm CST.


Three Ring is one of the tools I most excited about using this school year!  Drew shared with me how often he uses it with his class and I can't wait to use it as well!  Three Ring pretty much allows you to create digital portfolios for all your students.

You can put your students into the website and the via the website, or the app, you can upload images, audio files, video files, whatever! And then "tag" the student that goes with that file and it puts those files in that particular student's account.  Students get a log in where they can also add their own materials, and parents get a log in so they can see what is being added by the teacher.

It is so easy to just snap a pic and then tag it to a student!  I can't wait to keep a digital portfolio for all my students!

Aurasma is the site and app you can use to create your own Augmented Reality experience.  Rather than me try to explain it here I suggest you just check out the Two Guys website for information as well as AWESOME instructional videos!  But the potential this holds for engage and exciting students is hard to even fathom!  I can't wait to Augment my class!

To see any other tools I enjoy or that we use feel free to check out my website at www.toddnesloney.com or The 3 Tech Ninjas site www.the3techninjas.org for TONS of great resources!