Top 5 Tech Tools!

On a public Padlet set-up by Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist), I have recently shared my “favourite things to do with technology” in the classroom. After posting some strategies and real-life examples, it led me to reflect on what I’ve learnt over the past 18 months.

Since moving to Perth, Australia in 2015, I’ve been lucky enough to work in an Apple Distinguished School which fully embraces learning technologies. iPads are commonplace and are used by students and staff each day. Having access to tech day-in-day-out and being able to experiment with it in the classroom has taught me a lot about what’s ‘gimmicky’ and what genuinely has an impact on learning.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share some useful tech tools I’ve personally found powerful over the past year. Most of the apps are free and easy to use in class – some require a little bit more time and effort. So, here goes…

1. Apple Clips

As an English teacher, I’ve found Apple Clips to be a powerful way for students to explore imagery in texts. As well as learning quotations, making links between images and language is key in unlocking and deconstructing meaning. Recently, my Year 10 group created short Clips videos on key quotations from Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’. Students were tasked with grouping quotations together and subsequenly creating quotation collages using the app Pic Stitch. Check out the results by tapping here!

This is only an image – to see the video, tap the link above

2. Quizizz

Quizizz is an effective formative assessment tool to check understanding and inform teacher planning. As students answer the multiple-choice quiz questions, a live leaderboard can be displayed to the class which shows the total amount of questions correct/incorrect. Data can be collected from each quiz showing the questions where students performed highy and where they require improvement. The memes make it extra fun!

Questions are randomised and appear in a different sequence for each student.

3. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is an effective note taking app which can serve as a live digital exercise book. It’s a lot more fiddly to set up than the other apps on this list as you’ll require a Microsoft 360 school account. Nevertheless, it’s an effective platform for teachers to push out lesson outlines/lesson sequences and resources as well as mark work and provide written/audio feedback. OneNote is a great tool if your school is going paperless.

Despite being able to type or write with an Apple Pencil, some students prefer to take photos of the written work in their physical exercise books. Either way, you can annotate and store screenshots.

4. Decide Now!

Decide Now is a spin-the-wheel name generator used to nominate students. Despite being a paid app (not expensive), it’s cool for no-hands-up class selection for class discussion, choosing roles/responsibilities. Students love it and it definitely keeps them on their toes!

Tap the middle to spin the wheel – there are many colour tempates to choose from.

5. Padlet

Padlet is an excellent way for students to collaborate and share information. Essentially, the app allows students to post text, images, video and links onto a shared digital pinboard. Over the past year, I’ve used this on numerous occasions when students are compiling information/research, responding to key questions/statements, sharing creative work; peer assessing/critquing WAGOLLs. A stand out feature of Padlet is the ability to print out information into a professional-looking document which students can use for revision.

Below is an example of the way Adobe Spark Post can be used with Padlet. Adobe Spark Post is an awesome app which creates stunning and professional looking graphics. Here’s an example of some Tanka poems created on Adobe Spark Post by Year 10 students then shared on a class Padlet.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 12.18.04 pm.png

If you’ve used any of these apps in different ways to enhance learning, let me know on Twitter @JamieClark85


#7 ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy Tiles’

Originally developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ represents the different behaviours students demonstrate that are important to learning. The theory was remodelled in the 90s and is used by many schools (including my own), to help students develop deeper thinking skills and explore various layers of understanding.

Personally, I use ‘Bloom’s’ when planning lessons as it helps focus questioning so that it provokes thought. In recent years the all too familiar pyramid diagram has started to age and look old-fashioned. With this in mind, I decided to create the tiles below usning the ‘Rhonna’ app once again.

As you can see, the tiles contain the six processes of ‘Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy’: ‘remembering’, ‘understanding’, ‘applying’, ‘analysing’, ‘evaluating’ and ‘creating’. Each tile contains a list of key words and questions designed to stretch and progress learning.

Please feel free to download below. Whether it is used for a visual wall display, or simply to inform your planning it is a useful resource to use when considering the questions you ask to your students.