At EdSurge, we scour the internet for tools to help teachers find the best edtech products out there. Every week, our educator-specific INSTRUCT newsletter contains a section called “S’Cool Tools,” where we provide a small sampling of popular or up-and-coming edtech tools. Since January 2016, we’ve showcased over 100 edtech “S’Cool Tools.” Some resonated more than others; a few resonated a lot. So, we’re bringing you the top ten S’Cool Tools that you, our readers, have loved the most in the first half of 2016.
10. FREE!—DataUSA—We’re geeking out this week over DataUSA, a platform that allows students to search the vast troves of federal census data. The tool organizes and visualizes the data in an easily digestible and, frankly, beautiful ways. The subsections alone could fill S’Cool Tools for weeks. There are maps organized by median age and smoking prevalence; searchable subcategories by industries and occupations; and different courses of study ranked by popularity. If the data seems overwhelming, check out the stories compiled by the team behind the tool. Everything here is free to download and repurpose. We’ve spent hours looking up facts about places with the tool.
9. FREE!—The Educal—A crowdsourced map and calendar of education events (meetups, professional development, lectures, etc.) worldwide. Users can add, find, and promote learning opportunities and professional development. Users can also search for events by location, date, name, intended audience or topic. There are 161 events listed in the next eight months mostly in the USA, so there’s probably something out there for you!
8. FREE!—LITERATURE MAP—A search engine that tells you what authors you’ll enjoy based on similarities in style, tone and topic to your favorites. Geared for adult readers, the results appear in a fun, swirling word cloud. Your students liked Poe? Send them a Mark Twain essay or an Agatha Christie mystery. Hated the “Raven” writer? Try something farther afield like a Jane Austen novel.
7. FREE!—Guess the Correlation—The EdSurge team had great fun with this last week—and we think math and economics teachers may, too. This old-school tool has all the flair of a Nintendo game and the simplicity of a Geocities website, yet it’s a fun way for students to see whether they can accurately predict correlations between two variables in a scatter plot. The site also has a two-player option, and—fun fact—was created by a PhD student at the University of Cambridge.
6. FREE!—We Are Teachers—Lots of free, printable lessons, PD resources, decorations, lists and blog posts, along with info on grants and contests. Subjects range from financial literacy to social emotional learning. (And for more “marketplaces” of free and paid teacher materials, check out this collection of resources.)
4. FREE!—Photos for Class—A search engine for Creative-Commons-licensed photos for students to use in class or on their homework. Students can download and repurpose any photo they find, and the images come with appropriate attributions. The search also filters out inappropriate images.
3. FREE!—US News Map—A geotagged, searchable archive of American news stories from 1836 to 1925. Search for key terms and phrases to see a heatmap of how often those terms appeared in news stories throughout the states during your chosen time period. To delve deeper, students can click on the map and examine specific newspapers from the time period that mention the terms.
2. FREE!—Wizer.me—Create worksheets and access those made by other educators on any topic. Teachers can ask a number of different types of questions and embed multimedia materials into the worksheet. Students complete the worksheets online.
Privacy flag: Wizer collects personally identifiable information, which it may share with third parties, when users create an account. Not appropriate for students under 13. Teachers can create accounts and assign worksheets without disclosing students’ personal information.
And the most popular S’Cool Tool so far in 2016 is…
1. FREE!—Quick Rubric—Create and print assessment rubrics. Educators can customize point values, definitions of good performance, rows and columns, then print the rubrics for distribution. The site also offers tips for writing a strong rubric.
Privacy flag: Quick Rubric collects personal information from educators who create accounts. Students do not need to create accounts.
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