10 Best Tools for Teachers and Students to Use in 2014

10 Best Tools for Teachers and Students to Use in 2014

All teachers have a goal to establish clear, friendly, but authoritative communication with students and their parents. Parent meetings are not the most relaxed environment for the teachers to share their expectations and plans, which is why many educators have started using online tools to make this process easier.

As a teacher, I have been using many web-based tools to bring some fun into the classes and make the communication with my students and their parents more effective. I’ve chosen some of the most useful tools to present in this list, which will hopefully be implemented in the teaching techniques of an increased number of educators during the upcoming year.

1. TutorsClass

tutor class

    TutorsClass is an online solution for distance tutoring. You can use it to create your own tutoring profile and invite students who want to learn lessons in the comfort of their home. This web-based tool will enable you to create your own virtual classroom that will completely substitute offline classes for your students. You can schedule lessons and get secure PayPal payments from your students.


    2. Smore


      This website gives you a free opportunity to create colorful flyers. I have found a creative way to use this tool – I made a flyer with my contact information and told my students to print it and place it in a visible place (such as their fridge, for example). This way their parents can easily find a way to contact me whenever necessary.

      3. Audioboo

      Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 5.19.20 pm

        If you have a website, this tool will be a nice addition to your arsenal by allowing you to record messages and share them for free. This is the best way to get your message to people because parents and students don’t exactly like reading through long texts of weekly or monthly updates.


        4. Screenr


          Creating online screen recordings becomes much easier with the use of this online tool. When you need to describe how a certain website functions, you can record an audio message with Screenr as you’re touring the site and elaborating on its features. Sometimes your students are required to use certain websites on a regular basis, and this is the best way to make sure everyone understands how they function.

          5. Remind101


            All parents that opt in to the group you establish will get your short text messages sent via Remind101. This has quickly become the most valuable tool of communication with my students’ parents. It’s free, takes minutes to set up, and allows me to send the needed information in the easiest manner.


            6. Fotobabble


              Creating a fotobabble is the best way to explain simple procedures and policies needed for your classroom. All you need is to choose or scan an image or document and upload it to this service. Fotobabble enables you to record an audio message that will help you explain those procedures and policies.

              7. Google Forms


              Gathering all information you need from students and parents becomes easy with this online tool. Google forms can be used for giving quizzes to your students, sending surveys to parents, planning events, or collecting any other type of information easily. You can connect a form to a Google spreadsheet and automatically see the inserted updates.


              8. Polldaddy


                Creating a poll and embedding it on your site takes only minutes with this online tool. My experience with polls tells me that they create an increased amount of interest and attract return visits to the website. You can use Polldaddy to survey the attitude of parents towards the policies in your classroom.

                9. Socrative


                  Socrative is well known in the world of education, and there is a valid reason for its popularity. I found that my classroom became much easier to handle as soon as I started using this free online tool. Socrative enables you to use different educational games and exercises to engage the students, who can access the activities with their tablets, laptops, or smartphones.

                  10. Padlet


                    I have used Padlet to create a welcome board where my students can introduce themselves. This is a cool way to familiarize young students with an educational technology tool because it’s easy to use and makes them interested in classroom activities.

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                    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                    Do you like making mistakes?

                    I certainly don’t.

                    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

                    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.


                    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

                    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

                    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
                    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
                    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
                    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

                    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

                    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

                    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

                    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.


                    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

                    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

                    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

                    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.


                    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

                    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

                    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

                    1. Point us to something we did not know.
                    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
                    3. Deepen our knowledge.
                    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
                    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
                    6. Inform us more about our values.
                    7. Teach us more about others.
                    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
                    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
                    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
                    11. Remind us of our humanity.
                    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
                    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
                    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
                    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
                    16. Invite us to better choices.
                    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
                    18. Can reveal a new insight.
                    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
                    20. Can serve as a warning.
                    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
                    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
                    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
                    24. Remind us how we are like others.
                    25. Make us more humble.
                    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
                    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
                    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
                    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
                    30. Expose our true feelings.
                    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
                    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
                    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
                    34. Show us when we are not listening.
                    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
                    36. Can create distance with someone else.
                    37. Slow us down when we need to.
                    38. Can hasten change.
                    39. Reveal our blind spots.
                    40. Are the invisible made visible.

                    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

                    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

                    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
                    • Have an experimental mindset.
                    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

                    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.


                    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

                    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

                    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

                    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

                    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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                    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via

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