Emerging Tools – The Tools

First Up – Exact Path

It is created in partnership with NWEA, who makes MAP Growth, and is an adaptive tool that pinpoints strengths and progression of skills. This tool gives students a self-paced curriculum to use for thirty minutes a day. When reading about artificial intelligent or individualized curriculums, you will often see a lot of backlash that it takes away the social aspect of school away. With Exact Path, it is meant to be used for short time chunks to help a student in an area they need most.

Padlet

This is a tool that I am using often these days. Usually the homeschool students get together once a week on a regular basis, sometimes just every other week; but due to COVID we haven’t been able to meet this year. With activity bags full of contraption building and crafts, students from across our program have been sharing their creations on Padlet, it has allowed us to continue our community, though we are far apart. Professionally I have used Padlet in inservice workshops many times. We would make sticky notes with thoughts or questions and then upload it to the padlet, so that they could all be addressed at once. I have seen the benefit of this tool in a variety of ways. Though I do see how this could be one extra thing for a teacher to learn, teach, and utilize when they are using a different platform that has a similar aspect such as Google Classroom or Class Dojo.

Mystery Skype

This is a very cool tool I have used once, and in the time of COVID would be very interesting to use! Mystery Skype is coordinating with another teacher from a different part of the country or world so that you could skype each other. Students will take turns asking questions to try to figure out where the other class is located. When I was student teaching, the classroom students loved it! They could have probably figured it out first if only they had noticed the other students’ class covered in Green Bay Packers flags and posters, though I guess that could be anywhere. I think this would be a fun social event for students, and it only takes about thirty minutes out of the day. Though teachers would have to take extra time to prep students beforehand to teach them how to ask questions.

Augmented Reality

This is a very cool, up and coming medium for students. I don’t think that augmented reality will become a staple in the classroom, but who knows. After watching this video, I became more intrigued by the way you can incorporate AR in the classroom. I found two apps could be useful for a classroom setting. One called, Catchy Words, this would be good for younger students to find letters and make words. On the other realm, maybe for health care trainings or high education classes, Visible Body would be helpful in teaching anatomy. The downside about AR is that I think younger students would be bored after a bit with the new tool. I don’t know if the value it serves for that audience makes it a staple in the classroom. Though I do see how it could benefit those learning about things that we can’t see such as space or anatomy.

Classcraft

This was a tool that I had never heard of before. Classcraft is a classroom management tool that gamifies behavior. If a student does well, they gain experience points that can unlock features such as turning an assignment a day late or eating lunch in the classroom. If a student makes poor choices they can lose health points and if they lose all of their health, they will have to face classroom consequences. It reminds me of class dojo. I could see a lot of students loving this type of gamified management system and want to be rewarded for good behavior.

VR

There is a lot of interesting virtual reality tools for the classroom these days. The most popular being virtual field trips. In an app called ImmerseMe, students can learn the language of the country they travel to virtually. Students can explore famous landmarks and learn as they “travel”. Much like AR, I wonder if students would get bored of VR as well? Does VR make more meaning for students than a YouTube video or film?

Kahoot!

I’m sure this is not as new as the previously listed technologies, but Kahoot is relatively new to me. When I was in the classroom teaching fourth graders, the students loved the quizzes and loved that they could pick their own names and see who answered the fastest. I even enjoy it as a college student and my parents sometimes have kahoot quizzes at their work meetings to win a prize. I see the value in this type of quick and easy quiz making for both students and teachers. This type of quizzing may not be effective for all students.

Book Creator

This is the last emerging tool I will highlight in this post. I love the idea of students creating books online. I have used this tool a couple of times and it is really unique to helping students. Students are writing their words, drawing or finding pictures that go along, and they can incorporate their own voice that will read along with the reader. This would be a great tool to get started with teaching students digital storytelling. I think students will have fun with this tool. It will be important for teachers to help students to plan out on paper before creating the book and then teaching students how to use the available tools. As chapter one of our third required reading said, “As noted earlier, sharing this information with students before the start of a class, even before they register for a class, is ideal, as it empowers students to be able to register for classes that meet their own learning styles and overall preferences.” It is very important to prepare students for the tools that they will need to be using in class before having to use the tools. I also liked that the chapter gave a lot of examples on how to explain technologies / tools to students.

Prodigy

This is a game that I have learned about recently have been very excited to share with families and co-workers. Students create a character and go on quests to find the missing keys of the kingdom. In order to retrieve the keys, the player most go on an epic quest that includes many battles with creatures in the world. The way students “battle” is by answering math questions correctly, and the more you get correct the more powerful the attack will be. This has been a motivating tool for a student of mine, and I think that other students who are struggling in practicing math on a regular basis will love this resource as well. If you have fifteen minutes, I highly recommend signing up to play for a moment to check it out.

I look forward to learning more about the emerging tools you all have picked. I am also excited to look for homeschool specific tools, I didn’t include many of those in this list. Living in the time of COVID, it is so interesting to see everyone come together with different technologies such as Zoom and incorporate different educational technology for distance learning. It will be interesting to see what sticks in a few years from now.

Which tool was the most interesting to you?

5 thoughts on “Emerging Tools – The Tools”

  1. Morgan, how did you go about seeking these out? How did you find out about Classcraft?

    I agree that AR sometimes seems superficial and used in the classroom when it really isn’t warranted. It certainly is emerging though – slowly.

    Sean

  2. I heard of classcraft a few years ago and my first instinct was that it was class dojo for high school.

    I started playing with 3d bear this week (as a student) as par t of my media creation activity and it was fascinating. It seems very simple, and almost like busy work in someways, but the more I thought I about it you could integrate it into almost a scavenger hunt. Find an object and add the AR letter it begins with next to it, maybe?

  3. Morgan, what a great list – there are several here that I would like to try. It made me wonder if there was a non-sponsored website that focused on the evaluation of these tools and what worked best for each age group and subject – sounds like it would be a fun (or perhaps exhausting) research project!

    1. I often used Common Sense Media (specially the education link) to look at reviews of different types of educational technology. Teachers review the tool by pedagogy, engagement, and support. What I really like is that it includes a privacy rating. For example, IXL has a 69% when it comes to privacy because of the type of advertisements that are on the website and data rights. It also includes the grades that the tool would suit best. Though like you said, it would be an interesting project idea and you could survey peers and co-workers to get a more localized answer.

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