S'Cool Tools of the Week: HSTRY, Soapbox, NetRef, iAnnotate

column | S'Cool Tools

S'Cool Tools of the Week: HSTRY, Soapbox, NetRef, iAnnotate

Aug 31, 2014

FILLIN' UP YOUR TOOLBOX: Ding ding! We've got our favorite edtech teacher and administrator tools for the week right here (as highlighted in our Instruct newsletter). And if you haven't heard, check out our nifty new S’Cool Tools tag on the EdSurge site for the latest and greatest edtech tools. (And yes! Please share your favorites!) Our fave tools for the week are:

Free! Beta online tool HSTRY isn’t just for history teachers. This website offers interactive timeline creation tools--think audio, video, and quizzes--that are relevant in any class. Use material from the HSTRY team, create your own timelines or use the site as a jump off point for student assignments, whether you want them to create a first-person account of Paul Revere’s midnight ride or how a plant goes through photosynthesis or Harry Potter’s adventures.

Free! Want to give confused students an opportunity to voice opinions and ask questions without feeling embarrassed? Try out Soapbox, a web-based clicker tool with several features designed to engage students and measure comprehension, including crowdsourcing Q&A and a “confusion barometer” (as well as more traditional tools like polls and quizzes).

Are your students using class time to do “research” on Instagram? Here’s a brand new tool, NetRef, that aims to keep students on task by blocking access to certain websites or apps. Teachers will receive alerts when students open up apps like Snapchat or Facebook. Looks like the group developing it has had some military-class experience in networking, so this could be interesting! Contact NetRef for pricing details.

Free! If you want to teach your students how to keep track of key facts while reading or leave digital feedback on assignments, put down the highlighter and try Branchfire’s iAnnotate. Available for iPads and Android devices, iAnnotate enables users to mark up files with a full pencil-case of tools, including a highlighter, stamps, underlining and pop-up comments. iAnnotate usually costs $9.99, but you can get it for free by sending a note to Branchfire!

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