Tech Worth Talking About

  • 1
  • December 10, 2015

As a teacher, I was always looking for new and fun ways to bring technology into the classroom. Fellow teachers would constantly share new ideas and we’d often talk about the tech we loved. Needless to say, now that I work at ClassLink – I love ClassLink. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving all of the other wonderful tech out there. In fact, because we’re in the business of connecting educators to the technology they need and love, I’m as big a fan as ever!

With that in mind, I’m introducing a new series intended to share the Tech Worth Talking About. These are the tools, resources, and apps that I’m talking about with the teachers I still connect with every day in my job as Director of Instructional Technology.
Here’s a few just to get us started. Check back here for more – and add your own in the comments below! 

Blendspace: Available as a Single Sign-on within ClassLink

Blendspace is an easy-to-use platform for creating multimedia lessons that kids can access online. You are able to grab content from YouTube, Google, Flickr, and other online sources, as well as your own computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive.  Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can organize videos, text, links, images, and quizzes into cubes, then organize them to create lessons for your students to complete independently. Students can then move through the content, responding to prompts in a sidebar comment area or taking quizzes along the way. They can also create their own lessons that can be private or shared, or remix a lesson.

Click on a screenshot for a better view.

There are 3 types of accounts that teachers can create; two free accounts and one paid version. With a free teacher account, you can create unlimited classes of up to 35 students. A free school accounts allow for unlimited classes with an unlimited number of students. To join a class, students use a join code that you provide. A paid premium account allows students to collaborate with each other on lessons, allows users to record audio, and provides an extra layer of technical support for the school.

Socrative: Available as a Single Sign-on within ClassLink

Socrative is a simple, dynamic online student response system that can help teachers spark conversation and learning through user-created polls and quizzes, according to graphite.org

Using this free, cloud-based software, teachers direct students to a website where they log in their answers. Through this polling method, students’ answers register immediately on the teacher’s computer as the students submit their responses on almost any device. Teachers can display the class’s responses to multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer questions. Not only can teachers poll students on a single question, but they can also create longer quizzes, which the software grades. Teachers can choose to let students see if they are right or wrong instantly, or they can provide an explanation in response to incorrect answers.

More on Socrative: The Landscape of Learning Blog

I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing these two resources used in tandem while visiting a classroom. The teacher had students log into ClassLink to access their Blendspace page for the current unit. Students were able to view multiple YouTube videos since they were embedded within the Blendspace lesson, which allowed them to bypass the YouTube internet block.  After students watched the video, they had to answer a short answer question in Socrative about the video’s they watched.  Students were even able to read each other’s answers and vote on the one they thought was the best.  This seemed to really get the students excited about what they were writing.  

And seeing kids excited is what gets the team here at ClassLink excited. These two technologies are a small sampling of more than 3,000 digital learning resources we connect to.

Stay tuned for more – we’ll be featuring Tech Worth Talking About all year!