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Top 19 Tools and Resources to Innovate Your Classroom

Top 19 Tools and Resources to Innovate Your Classroom

It’s no secret that students are preoccupied with the Internet. They are inseparable from their smartphones and tablets, so teachers have hard time making them understand that classes are for learning, not browsing, Tweeting and texting.

So how about using a slightly different approach that can make everyone happy? Instead of forbidding your students to use their tech devices, you can find a way to use them on behalf of your lectures. Here are my top 19 tools and resources to innovate your classroom.

1. LearnBoost

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    LearnBoost will help you record, sort and organize each student’s progress. This is the best way to share grades with your students and their parents.

    2. Schoolbinder

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      Schoolbinder is a free online student organizer that enables you to create a class page and add, organize and edit assignments for your students.

      3. My Big Campus

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        My Big Campus provides all the resources you and your students need to bring some innovation into the classroom. Your students can access the platform through their tablets and smartphones for the purpose of learning, so everyone will end up happy.

        4. The Together Teacher

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          The Together Teacher provides many resources that will help you maintain an organized classroom, including project ideas, to-do lists, plan templates for your lessons, sub plans, and many more resources.

          5. MyHistro

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            MyHistro enables your students to combine Google maps, media and blogging to create interactive timelines and tell personal stories, which will greatly increase the collaboration in your classroom.

            6. Dipity

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              Dipity will enable your students to create timelines for class purposes. Presenting creative timelines in a fun slideshow will convince them that learning is fun.

              7. SonicPics

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                SonicPics enables users to add recorded narration to pictures and create a threaded story. This feature can find multiple uses in the classroom, including custom presentations, curriculum reviewing, and personal narratives.

                8. MindMeister

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                  MindMeister is a mind-mapping tool that will enable your students to develop and organize their ideas for class projects by encouraging collaborative brainstorming.

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                  9. Glogster EDU

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                    Glogster EDU will enable you and your students to create interactive online posters that combine graphics, videos, photos, sounds, text, and much more.

                    10. ClassDojo

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                      ClassDojo will help you improve the classroom behavior by awarding points to students who behave well.

                      11. Remind101

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                        Remind101 is a safe and simple way to send group text messages to your students and their parents, so you can send notifications and reminders without invading their privacy.

                        12. Socrative

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                          Socrative will help you engage your students beyond the classroom by sending quizzes and other educational exercises that will make the process of learning and testing fun.

                          13. Edmondo

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                            Edmodo is a social platform, similar to Facebook, which you can use to continue the class discussion after your students leave the classroom.

                            14. CollaborizeClassroom

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                              CollaborizeClassroom will allow you to create a personalized learning site that will leave your students prepared for the activities in class by collaborating and helping each other.

                              15. Prezi

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                                Prezi will change the way you and your students make presentations in class, by incorporating a visually stimulating canvas that’s much more appealing than the usual slide-by-slide presentation.

                                16. Projeqt

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                                  Projeqt is one of the best ways to inspire your students to express their creativity and learn through an intuitive platform for creating dynamic presentations.

                                  17. Gnowledge

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                                    Gnowledge will enable you to create and share tests with your students and fellow educators. The website provides various test resources that will make that process easier.

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                                    18. Mentimeter

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                                      Mentimeter allows you to share questions with your students and enables them to send instant feedback through their tablets or smartphones.

                                      19. ClassMarker

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                                        ClassMarker is a great way to create secure online exams and quizzes with multiple types of questions. The tests will be automatically graded, saving you a lot of time and effort.

                                        Conclusion

                                        Today’s teachers have to roll with the educational innovations if they want to stay connected with their students. The times of “ex cathedra” teaching are long gone, so now every teacher has to reinvent their approach in the classroom in order to motivate students to get involved and interested in learning.

                                        Your students’ gadgets don’t have to be a distraction now that you know how to use them with the purpose of creating a more inspiring learning environment.

                                        Featured photo credit: Richard Lee via flickr.com

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                                        Last Updated on July 16, 2019

                                        6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                                        6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                                        Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

                                        Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

                                        What to have for dinner tonight?

                                        Which route to take to work?

                                        How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

                                        How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

                                        Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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                                        No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

                                        Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

                                        Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

                                        Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

                                        Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

                                        How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

                                        Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

                                        You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

                                        When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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                                        1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

                                        Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

                                        I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

                                        2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

                                        5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

                                        By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

                                        For example:

                                        If the problem is “always late to work”…

                                        • Why am I late to work?
                                          I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
                                        • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
                                          I feel so tired in the morning.
                                        • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
                                          I slept late the night before, that’s why.
                                        • Why did I sleep late?
                                          I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
                                        • Why did I drink coffee?
                                          Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

                                        So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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                                        3. Simplify Things

                                        As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

                                        Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

                                        4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

                                        Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

                                        Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

                                        Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

                                        5. Think Laterally

                                        Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

                                        ‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

                                        Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

                                        Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

                                        6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

                                        Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

                                        Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

                                        Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

                                        Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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                                        So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

                                        More About Problem Solving

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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