Technology and education are quite interconnected these days and almost every one of us, teachers, has at least one favourite tool that can make our job of interconnecting with students easier and a bit more fun.
There are many ICT tools that teachers can use, from social learning to lesson planning. When searching for new ICT tools I came across the following three. These are Kahoot, Newsela and Emaze. Each is a very different tool used for different purposes and I find them very helpful in my classes.
Kahoot is a game-based educational platform which engages students and involves them in learning. The tool offers quizzes, discussions or surveys.
Games are displayed on a shared screen – for example a smart TV, a laptop or an interactive whiteboard. Players join in using their own device – whether that is a smartphone, iPad, laptop, or desktop doesn’t matter, as long as they have a browser and good internet connection. Players do not need a kahoot account to play so they just open the kahoot webpage and they write in the game pin of the particular activity they are about to do. I find this very useful because it is time effective and students don’t have to remember any log in passwords.
You can create your own kahoots or you can use the public ones available. To use the tool you, the teacher, need to register (for free) and you can start using it immediately.
I find it very user-friendly and easy to follow. If you have troubles there are tutorials about how to use the tool. There is no surprise that there are over 10 million public kahoots of wide range of topics from Mathematics to foreign languages. Teachers generally find it a very useful activity for revision or as a start activity at the beginning of the lesson.
The only disadvantage is the need to have a good internet connection. I’ve encountered a few problems when my students lost their internet connection and it became a bit frustrating.
Newsela – if you want to make your reading comprehension classes more interesting, use Newsela. It builds reading comprehension through levelled articles and provides real-time assessments.
There are very interesting articles that motivate students to find information about the world around them. The topics include almost anything you could think of, for example arts&crafts, science&math, geography, world history, sport, news etc.
What I like is the possibility for each student to choose the level of the article they want to read. There are 5 levels of each text, (the highest level uses the longest and most difficult grammar structure compared to the easiest level). To check for your students’ understanding use quizzes and customizable writing prompts.
The only disadvantage is that you need to register and pay for a Pro Version. But if you do, you can add your students, create your class and therefore monitor their improvement over time.
Last but not least …….
It is an online presentation tool that enables its users to create digital presentations. You can create presentations in virtual 3D worlds or simply in slides like PowerPoint, and it’s very easy to use. As it is an on-line presentation tool using cutting-edge HTML5 technology, you can use it on all devices: PC, tablets or smartphones.
If you are tired of simple power point presentations choose Emaze where you can pick from already made templates or create your own ones. I guarantee you to draw the attention of your students who are always looking forward to seeing something new.
The minus point is that this ICT tools is a paid one. You can get a 14-day trial to check the tool out but then if you decide it is worth it, you have to choose from two options, a Pro Version or a business version. Pro Version costs 9$/a month but teachers can get a discount.
Text: Lenka Kotrbackova
Photo: The Kingsway School (CC BY 2.0)