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15 Incredible Tech Tools For Teachers To Use In 2016

15 Incredible Tech Tools For Teachers To Use In 2016

When education is combined with technology, wonderful things can happen. Students are happier, more curious, and they receive the educational support that they need. Teachers are empowered to create engaging lesson plans, assess student’s needs, and effectively create a positive learning environment. Each year, new technologies are released, or they begin to gain attention. Here are 15 of the best tech tools for teachers for 2016.

Emaze

emaze - amazing presentations

    Teachers can use Emaze to create beautiful presentations that synthesize the elements that students have been learning into cohesive units. Students can use this tool to create presentations to demonstrate their knowledge on a variety of topics. Teachers can also track the progress that students are making on their presentations. Because Emaze works on a variety of devices and allows for sharing, it is a great collaborative tool both in and out of the classroom.

    Plickers

    plickers -collect real-time formative assessment data

      Many of the edtech offerings that are available only work if the students have access to a device as well as the teacher. Sadly, for many classrooms that is not feasible due to budget, or policy forbids it. With plickers, instead of using devices, students have cardboard plickers that the teacher can scan. These can be used to do impromptu polls, to check which students understand the material, and for a variety of other purposes.

      ZipGrade

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      zipgrade - turns your phone or tablet into an optical grading machine

        Anybody who is a teacher, or who lives with one, knows how much time they spend grading papers. With ZipGrade, teachers can create and print out assignments, then they can grade them instantly by scanning them with the camera on their smart phone. All they  have to do is align the squares on the grading sheet with the squares on the app.

        WriteAbout

        Digital Writing for Classrooms

          One of the best methods of getting reluctant writers to enjoy writing and to write more often is to give them the opportunity to write about the things that interest them. In the same vein, it is also the best way to get students who might be excited about writing outside of the classroom interested in writing in the classroom. WriteAbout is a platform where students can write, give and receive feedback to one another, and publish their work. Teachers can mentor students through this process and offer suggestions and feedback.

          Kaizena

          Kaizena - Fast, personal feedback on student work

            This is an add-on for Google Docs that allows teachers to leave feedback on students work on Google Docs or through the Kaizena website. Rather than taking the time to type out feedback, teachers have the option of using voice feedback. Even better, students don’t have to wait for teachers to check their work. Instead, they can request advice and feedback as they need it.

            Custom Writing Service

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            ProCustomWriting - Professional Writers and Custom Approach

              Educators can use custom writing services for a variety of purposes. First, these services offer up great content on subjects such as improving writing skills, great tools and apps for students, study tips, and more. Teachers can also contact these services for help writing tests, quizzes, and exams.

              StoryBoard That

              Storyboardthat - Powerful Visual Communication, Made Easy

                Teachers use this utility to help students create storyboards on topics related to English and History. This encourages students to take a creative and visual approach to demonstrating their knowledge by creating characters and story lines to build stories and to reenact  historical events. Once students have created their storyboards with the help of their teacher, it can be saved as a slide presentation, PDF doc, or cels within the storyboard app.

                Aurasma

                Aurasma - Start Creating Augmented Reality Today

                  Augmented reality is becoming more and more popular as a tool that teachers can use to embed exciting and enriching elements into everyday assignments and classroom experiences. Imagine students in a classroom studying about the origins of the planet earth, scanning a trigger image and watching a clip from a lecture by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Think about a student who is frustrated as they try to complete a homework assignment, but can scan a trigger image that leads them to a math games website that gives them a bit of a mental break while also driving home important concepts. Aurasma is the tool that allows teachers to create those trigger images and to connect students who scan them with enriching educational experiences.

                  PlagScan

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                  Plagscan - Wipe out Duplicate Content

                    It is a sad but true fact that academic dishonesty is rampant. In addition to this, many younger students lack education when it comes to discerning what is or is not original work. Teachers can use a tool like PlagScan to determine whether or not a student’s written work contains elements that are not their own. Then, they can decide whether or not they are dealing with a case of intentional cheating or simply an educational issue. Here are some detailed reviews on this and other plagiarism checkers.

                    Paper.li

                    paper.li - Collect great content to share And engage with your audience wherever they are

                      Everyday, teachers are working to teach students about a wide variety of topics. If they are trying to do so using the standard lecture model, chances are many of their students are bored to death. Paper.li was designed around the idea that students want to consume information in the same ways that everybody else does. In other words, not through lectures or boring texts, but through relevant content that is delivered in engaging ways such as newsletters.

                      Edmodo

                      Edmodo - safest and easiest way for educators to connect and collaborate with students, parents, and each other.

                        Edmodo is a sort of online social media platform for the classroom. Teachers can create accounts and then invite both students and their parents to connect with them. This platform can be used as a place to engage in discussions, to send out announcements, and to create a collaborative environment involving parents, students, and educators. This is a great tool for those who want a social media type environment without all of the concerns associated with those platforms.

                        Google Cardboard

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                        Google Cardboard - Experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and affordable way

                          Many teachers have dreamed about getting kids excited and engaged by using virtual reality in the classroom. Unfortunately, even after the technology became mainstream, the cost of putting this technology in the classroom was simply too high. Now, Google has come up with inexpensive virtual reality goggles made from cardboard that has the potential to bring VR into all classes, not just the well-funded ones.

                          Versal

                          Versal - In the classroom or the office, creating powerful, interactive online learning experiences has never been easier

                            This is a free tool for teachers and educators that can be used to create courses for students. These courses might contain videos, interactive timelines, 3D models, and a variety of other content. Teachers can even upload their own existing content or import content from elsewhere on the internet.

                            Periscope

                            Periscope - Explore the world through someone else's eyes

                              Periscope has become a big hit with content marketers and bloggers, but the tool also has great eductional potential. Periscope is an app, created for twitter users that allows them to live stream video broadcasts via their smartphones. Audience members can join in, interact with the periscope user, or watch a video recording of the event after it is over. Teachers can use the app to allow students to create broadcasts and presentations, to connect students with subject matter experts, or to allow students to follow broadcasters who are filming relevant content.

                              Formative

                              Formative - Intervene in the moments that matter most

                                Formative is a platform that teachers may use to give out live, real-time formative assessments and receive results immediately. The teacher simply creates an assignment using the platform, and then has the students complete the assignment from the web enabled devices they have using their student accounts. The teacher can view students answers and provide real-time feedback. Even better, students aren’t limited to multiple choice answers. They can show their work, draw pictures, or find other ways to give their answers.

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                                Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                                Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                                All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                                Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                                How bad really is multitasking?

                                It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                                Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                                This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                                We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                                So what to do about it?

                                Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                                Now, forget about how to multitask!

                                Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                                1. Get enough rest

                                When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                                This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                                When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                                2. Plan your day

                                When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                                When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                                Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                                3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                                I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                                I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                                Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                                4. When at your desk, do work

                                We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                                Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                                5. Learn to say no

                                Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                                Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                                By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                                6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                                For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                                Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                                7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                                Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                                You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                                The bottom line

                                Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                                Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                                Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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