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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 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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