The Top S'Cool Tools for Q2, 2014

Mary Jo Madda Mary Jo Madda

If you’re looking for effective and popular school tools to test out this summer, look no further.

Every week, EdSurge delivers its educator-specific INSTRUCT newsletter (sign-up here) with a section on “S’Cool Tools,” calling attention to 3-5 edtech tools we’ve found, tested, and given our surging seal of approval. And out of 50+ S’Cool Tools showcased in INSTRUCT during Q2 (April, May, and June), ten products have risen to the top based on the number of clicks they’ve received from our INSTRUCT readers. Check them out below!

One last note--got a tool that you feel we've missed? Let us know.

10. Wiggio - Free! Wiggio's online collaboration tool is used by everyone, from college students to Tolkien fan party event planners. But why the popularity? Wiggio allows users to host virtual meetings, poll groups in real time, create to-do lists, and more. Got a summer assignment for your students? You might just find that Wiggio is a great way to check in with them throughout June, July, and August.

9. Kahoot! - Free! No longer will Checks for Understanding be the same old “fist-to-five” or “thumbs up, thumbs down.” Kahoot! is a game-based assessment platform; educators can create their own “Kahoots” (quizzes, CFUs, surveys, etc.). Students can respond using personal devices (tablets or smartphones) and rack up points for right answers. Tired of generating your own questions? The Kahoot! community has over 170,000 publicly-posted Kahoots.

8. FreshGrade - Free! It's not enough for biz and arts individuals to have digital portfolios--students need them, too. So, get them started with FreshGrade. Teachers can set up portfolios, students can add to them, and parents get observe and gather feedback on student progress. An added bonus: the QuickCapture feature allows for easy documentation of evidence of work.

7. Argubot Academy - Free! Test students’ argumentation and reasoned thinking skills with this Common Core-aligned language arts game for ages 9-12. Games designer GlassLab also recently announced that the already free Argubot Academy will now include a free teacher tools component as well. Translation: teachers will have access to a dashboard where teachers can track student progress on Common Core as they play the game. Game on, players!

6. Quick Key App - Free! If you’re tired of grading all those end-of-the-year exams, give your pens and wrists a break with the Quick Key App. Recently written up in TechCrunch, the Quick Key App provides teachers with a quick scanner in the palm of their hand, allowing for fast grading of formative assessment and data analytics reports. And teachers are loving in--TechCrunch reports that Istanbul teacher Younis Aydin recently used the app to grade 400 exams in less than an hour. It ain’t called “quick” for nothing!

5. MagicalPad HD$0.99: Mind-mapping iOS app MagicalPad HD, originally $9.99, is being offered at a significant discount for a limited amount of time. Students can track their tasks, chart the events of a novel, and more. Get this visual mapping tool now--the discount offer won’t go on forever!

4. SlideRule - Free! Grow your teacher skill set with SlideRule! Not just another set of videos, SlideRule is an "online learning hub" that provides teachers with curated, sequenced "learning paths" (i.e. granular material, down to a specific lesson or problem set in an online course) that leaves users with a skill set at the end. While not all courses are for the faint of heart (a web development course takes a cool 86 hours), the variety of content is undeniable. Brush up on PowerPoint, learn how to use a classroom iPad, and explore tips for college admission. (One caveat: SlideRule is free, but many of the courses aren’t.)

3. Vocabulary.com App - $2.99: Games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush are incredibly popular, so why not put their design to good (educational) use? In comes the Vocabulary.com app, an adaptive game that helps students improve their vocabulary with competitive design elements. We’re talking levels, progress bars, achievement bonuses and more. Addictive? Adaptive? Eh, in this case, both are good traits. And guess what? The app is now available on both iOS and Android devices!

2. Mozilla/Peer2Peer Web Literacy Course - Free! Online. Free. Professional development. Three great concepts that all apply to this next cool offering: Mozilla and Peer2Peer University have teamed up to offer all educators a summer crash-course in teaching web literacy and digital skills to kids. The course is made up of four online mini-courses (running from July to September, so you’ve still got time to sign up!). Topics include teaching about open education resources and the basics of the web ecosystem.

And our highest-clicked tool, winning by a landslide of clicks...

1. Printable Paper - Free! If your desk supplies are as disorganized as ours are, Printable Paper might just save morale. Print out 1,300+ different (and useful!) paper templates, including budgets and graphing paper. Try out their printable history timelines, storyboards, and seating charts for your classroom. We might start using the Battleship Game paper to leave office notes--after all, blank printer paper is so last week.



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