Nice for Every Device: 15 Tech-Agnostic Tools

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While entrepreneurs were at the GSV-ASU conference, thousands of Catholic educators flocked to Orlando for the annual National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference--and they came with a variety of devices in hand, from Chromebooks to iPads to tablets.

Such a device-rich sight is a common one for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schools, but the existence of multiple devices isn’t just limited to those BYOD campuses. In those instances, it helps to know what products are device-agnostic, meaning they can be utilized or accessed across a number of different devices.

Luckily, two Florida teachers, Lisa Jones of Annunciation Catholic Academy and Anita Brady of Ascension Catholic School, brought a slew of device-agnostic tools to share for math class, English language arts and more. What products made their list? Here are some of the ones that caught my eye, as well as direct description from Jones and Brady. (NOTE: In order to be considered tech-agnostic, I only include tools that are available on three or more devices, that are web browser-based, or a combination of the two.)

For Student Response Systems

Tool Price Available Where? Usage/Perks
Socrative




Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS App
  • Android App
  • Chrome App
  • Kindle
“Through the use of real time questioning, instant result aggregation and visualization, teachers can gauge the whole class’ current level of understanding.”
Nearpod Silver edition is free; gold edition is $10/month billed annually
  • Web browsers
  • iOS App
  • Android App
  • Windows App
  • Chrome App
  • Kindle
“With Nearpod, teachers can create and download interactive multimedia presentations, share content and assessments in real time, monitor classroom activity, and easily control students' devices.”
Answer Garden Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS App
“AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool... Results can be exported as a Wordle or Tagxedo.”

For Student Collaboration Activities

Tool Price Available Where? Usage/Perks
Backchannel Chat Free for one time use. $15/year to save and reuse chats.
  • Web browsers
  • iOS Apps
  • Android App
  • Chrome App
“Backchannel Chat is a real time chat tool that has been designed for educational use. It has powerful moderation and control features that give great control to teachers.”
Popplet Free (“lite” version, but still usable)
  • Web browsers
  • iOS Apps
“Used as a mind-map, Popplet helps students think and learn visually. Students can capture facts, thoughts, and images and learn to create relationships between them.”
Vyew Free
  • Web browsers
“Vyew allows you to meet and share content in realtime or anytime. Upload images, files, documents and videos into a room. Users can access and contribute at anytime.”

For English Language Arts/Social Studies

Tool Price Available Where? Usage/Perks
TweenTribune Free
  • Web browsers
“News articles – same articles can be selected in different Lexile levels. Search by grade level (K-12), subject, Lexile level. Create a free classroom account, assign articles with questions and writing prompts to students.”
Read Write Think Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS Apps
  • Android App
“RWT is fully Interactive in browsers. It has apps to use offline and gives teachers access to lesson plans, professional development, and videos.”
History Pin Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS Apps
  • Android App
“History Pin is an innovative way to explore and share historical photos from across the globe and through time.”
Digital Public Library of America Free
  • Web browsers
“The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.”

For Math/Science

Tool Price Available Where? Usage/Perks
Prodigy Free
  • Web browsers
“Interactive and engaging math game. Teachers set up student accounts. Option to set curriculum with Common Core, Florida or Texas standards.”
How Stuff Works Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS Apps
  • Android App
  • Windows App   
“HowStuffWorks explains thousands of topics, from engines to lock-picking to ESP, with video and illustrations so you can learn how everything works.”
PhET Visual Simulations Free
  • Web browsers
  • iOS App
  • Android App
  • Chrome App
“PhET provides fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena. For elementary through higher ed students.”
Weird But True Free
  • iOS App
  • Android App
  • Windows App  
“Get more than 300 Weird But True kid-friendly facts with the interactive app from National Geographic Kids.”

Curious to see the rest of their presentation, and what other tools Jones and Brady mentioned? Check out their full presentation--”IPads? Windows? Android? Tools that Work on Almost Anything”-- here.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included Infuse Learning under "For Student Response Systems." Infuse Learning shut down as of April 3.

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