Discover a set of incredible free digital tools that may even include items you have used on paper in the past… but can now bring digitally into the 21st century! This is an amazing web resource that every classroom teach should be aware of. Thanks for joining me at Tech & Learning for an informative journey encompassing some engaging tools for 21st century learners. Please remember you can also follow me on twitter (mjgormans) and discover even more at my 21centuryedtech Blog! While there take a moment to subscribe to my blog and please pass it on to others. We can all learn, grow, share, and travel through the amazing world of 21st century education together! Want to share this post... just click the retweet button at the top. I look forward to meeting many of you at the Tech Forum in Chicago on May 6, 2011 Now, let’s discover some awesome tools! – Mike
What amazed me most about Classtools.net was not the valuable tools provided, but the ability for teachers to easily customize these tools and use them in any subject area. If that is not enough, how about the ability to embed your newly made instructional resource on your own classroom website, wiki, or blog? Any educator will also like the fact that students have no need to log in or sign up for an account… and neither do teachers! Need tutorials… they are provided! Do samples help you understand better… you will find plenty! Is budget a problem… then free should be affordable!
Classtools.net is the work of educator, Russel Tarr, Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, France. Upon entering the site, educators will see the listing of tools. Clicking on a tool allows teachers to individualize that specific tool for their own classroom needs. Teachers then have the option of copying a generated link to place on their own web site or of copying a generated code to embed as a tool (widget) on their classroom site. Also, on the front page, are some video links that will provide further information. Two videos that provide excellent information are the 1 Minute Overview and How to Create Games.
The Listing Of Over 20 Digital Tools For Your Classroom
The tools that you can even customize are included below. Along with this tool listing you will find descriptions of each tool, an overview of and samples of specific tools (if provided), and any related video (if provided).
- Arcade Game Generator – Allows teachers to create concept builders, practice exercises, and reviews. Best of all, one set up feeds into five different game possibilities at the same time The teacher can choose which game, or allow students a choice. Make sure you check out all the examples and pre-made games in (overview and samples). Also watch theHow to Create Games .
- Random Name Picker – Can be used as an activity management tool or skip the names. How about a vocab builder for content, foreign language, or ESL. Choose between a teleprompter of fruit machine! Be sure to check out all the ideas under (overview and samples)
- Countdown Timer – Set any time, includes sound files of music to include in timer, or upload your own music.
- Twister – So cool… kids can create a mock twitter account for a historical figure and get a really neat graphic homepage. They must know dates and be able to summarize a thought in 144 words! Check out the samples at the bottom of this specific tools page. I am still looking for the comment feature. Let me know if you find it.
- Keyword Checker - This tool checks student essays to see if they have used the most important key terms for a topic. Just PASTE a list of keywords/phrases into the box on the left; PASTE the essay in the box to the right; then click “check”. Students are given feedback that can be used to provide focus for further redrafting if necessary.
- Plagiarizr – Pretty cool… just paste a writing sample (appears to need at least 500 words). It does the work and will show multiple pages where text may have come from.
- Dustbin Game – Students drag and drop correct content to the correct bin! The faster and more accurately they can do it… the higher the score!
- Telescopic Topic - Students or teachers first create an indented, bullet-point list of essential information, or paste it from a word processor. They then click the “preview” button and get a spring-loaded summary! (See video)
- Post It – Allows an image to be loaded and then students can ad labels to the image and save or print. Could be used in a multitude of subjects from science labels, to maps, and even the diagramming of a sentence. (overview and samples)
- Diamond 9 – Allows students to put nine key factors in five different rows and place them with some type of significance. Area also allows for student explanation. A wonderful and colorful graphic organizer. (overview and samples)
- Fishbone (Ishikawa) – Another graphic organizer that allows for a key question, four factors, and numerous details. Takes the idea of a wellknown graphic organizer and brings it into the digital age. (overview and samples)
- Venn Diagram – Brings the Venn Diagram into the digital age. Complete with color, up to three content areas, and areas to describe reasoning!
- Animated Book - This tool allows you or your students to turn any piece of prose into a virtual book! It is so easy. Just use the ‘Add Text’ function to paste in your text. Next, turn the pages by clicking on them. The author suggest that, “It’s a simple and effective way of breaking up a long piece of prose to make it easier to analyse and discuss as a class.” This seems to be the weakest of the tools and I could not embed. Possibly really for display and group instruction only.
- Timeline – Set the date for beginning and ending. Give it a title and start entering the dates. A picture can even be added to complete the background. (overview and samples)
- Lights Out - An awesome template allowing teachers to load an image, then “turn the lights off” so that students can view just small sections of the image at a time. This provides a great way of getting students to look more closely while understanding how to look for details in an image. (overview and samples)
- Target – Get your students to break down a key question. Three factors are placed in the center of the diagram. In the next layer, each factor can then be broken into two examples. Inthe last layer, each of these examples can be substantiated with detail. Great way of getting students to plan an essay (overview and samples)
- Hamburger - If you are hungry to get students to do some simple essay planning this may be the right recipe. Students make basic notes covering introduction, three main sections, and a conclusion. (overview and samples)
- Living Graph – In a “Living Graph” students select the most important events within a topic and then rate against criteria such as success and failure, strength and weakness, etc. (overview and samples)
- Learning Cycle – This organizer supports ideas developed in the practice of accelerated learning, an approach to learning which builds on a range of learning styles. A valuable template to help teachers plan lessons which address the issue of multiple intelligences. (overview and samples)
- Jigsaw Diagram - A Jigsaw template is designed to allow students to make connections between dependent factors. Each piece of the jigsaw can have text written into them. When students drag pieces next to each to each other, they will ”snap” into place. (overview and samples)
- Priority Chart – This allows students to brainstorm factors which help to answer a key question. Items can be dragged and dropped into an order of priority, color coded, and even have text entered by students to support reasoning. (overview and samples)
- Source Analyser - This tool helps students assess “How Useful” a source is by encouraging them to consider various factors. This includes how much content information is in a source and the reliability of information provided. (overview and samples)
A must visit is a search page that allows teachers to search by subject area or template/tool for some outstanding sample ideas! While the free version will satisfy most teachers, you may wish to note that educators can sign up for apremium membership. This allows the exclusion of Google Ads on resources you create and view, provides educators their own personal work area, and provides a full screen/ad free mode for optimal use on a whiteboard. The biggest need with out the premium service is to have students learn to screen print their final work. If interested, the cost comes to about $27.00 (US) a year for the premium edition. While not free… it is still quite a bargain.
I also suggest as in all my workings with web 2.0 tools not secured, to refrain from having student enter a full name or any other items that give away identity or information one wishes not to post. As you can see Classtools.net truly is an amazing site that every teacher could use and benefit from. It fits the category of transformative as it combines past successful practice with a digital twist that will appeal to today’s students.
Thanks for joining me on another journey dedicated to transforming education in the 21st century!Please remember you can also follow me on twitter (mjgormans) and discover even more at my 21centuryedtech Blog! While there take a moment to subscribe to my blog and please pass it on to others. We can all learn, grow, share, and travel through the amazing world of 21st century education together! Want to share this post... just click the retweet button at the top. I look forward to meeting many of you at the Tech Forum in Chicago on May 6, 2011. Now take a moment... learn a tool... and continue your journey on the road to 21st century educational transformation. Have a great week! – Mike