Shana Tova: Six EdTech Tools for a Sweet New Year
A new year brings many new possibilities! Start the year off by experimenting with these up-and-coming EdTech tools.
Teachers can create their own customized, interactive lessons using easy drag and drop tools. As students work through lessons they receive instant feedback. The teacher dashboard will allow you to track student progress as well as view students’ speed and accuracy for each lesson. The whole lesson interface is simple and colorful so it would likely work best in elementary and middle school classrooms. There is also a marketplace where you can buy and sell lessons created by other teachers.
If your school has a BrainPop account, you don’t want to miss this new coding module. Students can choose a topic and then practice coding to create stop motion animations, memes, augmented reality doodles, and newscasts. The integration of the topics and coding projects means students won’t just be coding to code; they’ll get to show their learning about a subject while also demonstrating their coding skills.
Using educational hip-hop music, Flocabulary videos teach a variety of subjects from the elementary level to the high school level. Each video comes with supporting interactive activities to engage students further in learning as well as handouts, lesson plans, and a guide for teachers. The short length of the videos and activities makes Flocabulary a great choice for rotation groups or centers.
This platform helps students practice listening comprehension. The Listenwise library has over 1,000 real world stories to support English, Social Studies, Science, ESL, and also has many stories related to current events. There are even a number of stories that can be used in Judaic Studies - just search “Jewish” in the top right to find them! After listening to a story, students test their understanding with different forms of assessments including quizzes. Students can slow down the story speed or look at a transcript if they encounter difficulty in a particular section. Teachers can differentiate by giving different assignments to different students. Teachers can also check in on listening comprehension in the teacher dashboard and then personalize learning based on the data there. A bonus feature is that Listenwise integrates with Google Classroom.
These educational games teach elementary level students about the natural world. The Balance game challenges students to “balance” human needs with environmental concerns. Savage Garden and Garlic Spray are simple games kids can play online, which teach about carnivorous plants and garden pests respectively. Springbay Studio is most well-knowN, however, for its two beautiful iPad games. In iBiome-Wetland, students explore the wetland habitat and species that live there and learn the complexities of food webs as they attempt to build their own successful bio domes. The recently released iBiome-Ocean game is similar and lets students explore and build ocean habitats and challenges them to solve environmental problems.
The small robots Dash and Dot teach students how to code through play. With free apps, students can code on a tablet or smartphone to make the robots sing, dance, and move around. The apps include simple block-based programming, making it ideal for young learners just starting to experiment with coding. The programs also scaffold so students can master the basics and then complete puzzles and challenges at a higher level. Wonder Workshop offers free professional development videos online for teachers to learn how to introduce and use the robots in class. Teachers can also purchase a curriculum pack to go with the robots.
Visit DigitalJLearning.org for more ideas on integrating technology into the classroom.
Yonah Kirschner, former Project Manager, Digital Content and Communications at The Jewish Education Project.