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Top 19 Tools and Resources to Innovate Your Classroom

Top 19 Tools and Resources to Innovate Your Classroom
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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 21, 2021

                                        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                                        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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                                        No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                                        Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                                        Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                                        A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                                        Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                                        In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                                        From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                                        A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                                        For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                                        This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                                        The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                                        That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                                        Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                                        The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                                        Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                                        But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                                        The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                                        The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                                        A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                                        For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                                        But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                                        If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                                        For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                                        These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                                        For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                                        How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                                        Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                                        Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                                        Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                                        My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                                        Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                                        I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                                        More on Building Habits

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                                        Reference

                                        [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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