The first tool we used in my Advanced Technology Integration course at AISA Conference 2016 in Johannesburg was Google Story Builder, a simple program that has students create a dialogue on Google Docs that is published as a short film with music. I can imagine using this tool for class debates, as an alternative to a chat room, or as a simple “About Me” activity to get kids writing. Best thing of all? It takes no sign up (and no VPN. . ) so kids can just hop on and start writing and publishing. Take the published work and upload it onto Seesaw (See 5 Ways to Get the Most out of Seesaw) or whatever your school is using, and you’ve got a fun project in minutes.
#2: My Maps
My workshop leader, Ryan Harwood (https://ryanharwood.com), had us participating teachers stay connected by having us pin a selfie and our contact information onto where we are teaching using My Maps. I can imagine using this tool in my classroom for our unit on colonization of Africa, and for any project in which you want to add multimedia onto a specific location on the world map. VPN will be an issue for us in Sudan, but I am already thinking of ways to get around that.
#3: Visuwords and Word Clouds
Actually two different tools, but very much the same appeal for the student and teacher. One of the ways that teachers can use technology to engage students is by using tools that appeal to the senses. I’ve created Word Clouds (or Wordles) before, and I’ve used visual thesauruses, but not in a while. Visuwords and Word Clouds don’t require you to sign up, have a range of features that you can use to differentiate for your learners, and can easily be made into a PDF or just screen shot and shared with others.
While I learned about many edtech tools at AEC 2016, these were the ones that I plan to use immediately upon return to the classroom.