The Top Ten S'Cool Tools for Q1, 2015

The Top Ten S'Cool Tools for Q1, 2015

Mary Jo Madda

We can’t believe it’s already May. And we just remembered--after the first quarter of the year, we take the time to reflect on popular edtech tools we’ve seen over the past three months.

Every week, EdSurge sends out an educator-specific INSTRUCT newsletter ( sign up here) containing a section called “S’Cool Tools,” where we showcase 3-5 edtech tools that have tickled our fancy.

Out of 75+ S’Cool Tools, ten products from Q1 have risen to the top based on the number of clicks they’ve received from our INSTRUCT readers. Check them out below! (And educators, if you've got some cool tools you haven't seen yet in the newsletter or on our site, let us know!)

10. DUST - Free! Adults across the world are falling unconscious due to a mysterious dust cloud, and it’s up to teenagers to figure out why—and what they can do to stop it. That’s the idea behind DUST, an alternate reality game sponsored by the National Science Foundation and developed (in part) by teens themselves. (Curious about using ARGs in your classroom? Check out advice from teacher Chris Aviles.)

9. Quipper - Free! Take an LMS, mix in a classroom response tool like Socrative, and you’ve got Quipper. Available on browsers, iPhone, iPad, and Android, London-based Quipper offers a way to deliver short lessons and ask multiple choice questions of your students. After answers are submitted, the platform provides analytics based on class responses and messages for communicating with students individually.

8. Canva - Free! If the graphics on your class handouts are looking a little tired, try out Canva. The site allows users to create graphics with pictures, charts, illustrations, text and more with a drag-and-drop tool. These would be great to spice up student presentations, too! (Users must be 13 or older.)

7. Write the World - Free! If you’re stumped about how to inspire your high school students to write, check out Write the World. The site offers prompts for writing from nonfiction opinion to flash fiction to poetry. Aspiring authors in your classroom can earn badges, join a topic-specific group, and become part of a writing community. Note: Write the World is only appropriate for students age 13 and older.

6. Class Compete - Free! If your students get anxious about testing, drop the multiple choice and try Class Compete. Students solve academic problems in the non-threatening context of a game, giving them confidence and test-taking abilities just in time for you-know-what season in March.

5. Photos For Class - Free! It can be difficult to find appropriate, attributed images that you can use in the classroom. Photos For Class lets you search through tons of options, all G-rated according to Flickr’s standards and licensed for school use through Creative Commons. Downloads are automatically cited with the author. Note for you, elementary and middle school teachers: Students under 13 can only use Photos For Class when supervised by an adult.

4. PearDeck - Freemium! If you want to create engaging presentations for your students beyond PowerPoint slides, PearDeck might be the tool for you. You can create interactive slides that ask your students to draw, complete multiple choice, identify an aspect of the slide through Draggables, and more.

3. Comparison Charts - Free! This is handy: Richard Byrne over at Free Tech for Teachers has put together ten charts comparing popular edtech tools, including e-textbooks creators to teacher blogging sites. Check out his suggestions and let us know what tools you prefer!

2. LitCharts - Free! Tracking the references to piety and fate in Virgil’s Aeneid can be tricky, whether or not your students know Latin. Brought to you by the founding editor of Sparknotes, LitCharts hopes to make more than 200 great works of literature, from Anna Karenina to 1984, more accessible through its interactive data visualizations which visually track themes, symbols and plots in a story. For now, you can use the content with signing-in.

And, at the top of our list, in our coveted #1 spot...

1. Math Games - Free! Here's one for the gamer in all of you:, by TeachMe, is an online suite of internet math games, available for teachers, students, and parents to use inside and outside the classroom. Covering math concepts in Pre-K to 9th grade and searchable by Common Core State Standards, The site also has progress reports and dashboards for parents and teachers to track individual student performance. 

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