The Top Ten S'Cool Tools for Q3, 2014

By
Mary Jo Madda

It’s been a busy summer and start to fall--not just because of the bevvy of edtech events across the country, but also as a result of the vast array of cool tools being used in classrooms.

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 60+ S’Cool Tools showcased in INSTRUCT during Q3 (July, August, and September), ten products have risen to the top based on the number of clicks they’ve received from our INSTRUCT readers. Check them out below!

Got a tool that you feel we've missed? We want to know--tell us!


10. Core Score - Free! Industry heavy-hitters Kaplan and Microsoft recently released a tool to get your students ready for Common Core Math. Core Score (designed for Windows) offers 5-question math practice sets covering curriculum in grades 3-8, alongside detailed answer keys for students and separate tools enabling teachers to review student and class performance.

9. Class Tech Tips - Free! Looking for more S’Cool Tools? On her blog “Class Tech Tips”, education consultant and former teacher Monica Burns offers daily posts on her experiences and recommendations for resources, ranging from Flickr to Scholastic News to tips on QR codes.

8. Grovo - Free! Thanks to the big bad Internet, the 21st century teacher has access to a whole new world of tools and communities. But how can you take advantage of what’s out there? Grovo aims to help you can develop skills and figure out how to take advantage of what the internet has to offer. With 60-second videos on on popular tools such as Google drive and how to do "online research" using the likes of TweetDeck, Grovo can help you (and your students) optimize the internet for your needs.

7. Edulastic - Free! Want to track your students' progress towards Common Core standards? Edulastic lets you tailor assessments to your classroom, creating your own questions or drawing from thousands of standards-aligned options created by other teachers. Reports help you identify struggling students so you can offer them personalized extra help with in-class assignments crafted from Edulastic’s questions.

6. Soapbox - 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).

5. Newspaper Map - Free! If you’re looking to show your students how globalized our world has become, check out Newspaper Map, which uses Google Translate to show publications from all over the world in your chosen language. Compare how Greenland’s “Sermitsiaq” and Djibouti’s “La Nation” offer different coverage of the same issues, or read up on local Mongolian controversies in “Unen.” Seriously cool (or qué chévere, as they say in El Salvador).

4. Teachers With Apps - Free! Looking for more teacher-recommended tools for school? Check out "Teachers With Apps." Curated by special education teacher Jayne Clare and early childhood educator Anne Rachel, the site offers hundreds of apps, addressing areas from estimation to gardening. All are field-tested by students and teachers; many are free!

3. Brain Rush - Free! Looking to gamify your classroom? Brain Rush has lots of options for a wide variety of classes, on topics from Greek Gods and Goddesses to World War II to the Water Cycle. Its games are reactive and adaptive to help students stay challenged and engaged, and prompt students to review concepts after play.

2. Classflow - Free! If you’re looking to communicate with your students in a BYOD classroom, Classflow may be for you. The software enables you to create and upload lesson plans, share them with students across devices and evaluate their responses. Think of the time you’ll save uploading and downloading those pesky attachments!

And our most popular tool, winning by a torrential downpour of clicks...

1. HSTRY- 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.

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