Being an educator is one of the most important jobs in the world, as it is teachers (along with parents) who set the foundation for the next generation to achieve their dreams and make their marks on the world. However, one of the saddest realities of today is that there are still far too many kids who do not even know that they can dream. This places a huge deal of responsibility on teachers. The future of our lives and yours are sitting in our classrooms today. In fact, the survival of our species and of our planet is in the hands of today’s 12th graders, 8th graders, Kindergarteners, and everyone in between. If we want out future to be a prosperous one, we are obligated to give our teachers the support that they deserve to cultivate informed citizens and critical thinkers. In a day and age where we have an abundance of information readily available at our fingertips, it is more important now than ever to activate students’ brain muscles and train them to think critically and analyze information rather than simply absorb it. Luckily, there are many innovative digital tools out there to help teachers do just that. Here we list 10 of our favorites that teachers should definitely check out.
1. Kahoot: Kahoot lets you turn your classroom into a game show! Appropriate for all ages and all subjects, you simply enter prepared questions and answers into the site to create an instantly playable game. The students can then download the Kahoot app to use as a buzzer. What more fun way to help kids learn?
2. Doceri: Doceri turns your mobile device into a portable and interactive whiteboard. Whatever material you have displayed on the screen, you can annotate as you go, which makes for a more interactive and easy-to-understand lesson. What’s more is that you can record the class and post it online directly from your mobile device.
3. Epic Unlimited Books for Kids: This app gives teachers in the US and Canada access to over 15,000 kid-friendly books. The Educator’s version of the app also includes lesson ideas and videos. Epic Unlimited Books for kids gets students excited about reading, which is every teacher’s (and parent’s) dream!
4. 6+1 Trait Writing: No matter what field students decide to go into, the ability to take a stance and express it clearly through writing is one that will always serve them well. 6+1 helps you improve your writing instruction, better understand the qualities of good writing, and hones your ability to provide students with helpful feedback. On the website, you can find lesson plans, writing prompts, and rubrics along with writing samples to practice scoring and see how other teachers have scored the same piece.
5. Scholastic News: Scholastic News helps students stay informed about what’s going on in the world around them—information that may be too recent for them to find in their textbooks. You can subscribe to receive news-related Common Core lesson plans and worksheets for all ages. With your subscription you get free access to the app that comes with each issue.
6. TED: TED features hundreds of interesting and inspiring talks on whole range of topics. Integrating TED talks into the classroom can not only help students learn more about a particular topic, but can also spark lively discussions and debates among students.
7. Daily Starters: Daily Starters is a perfect way to start the day and establish a fun morning routine that students can look forward to. Daily Starters gives students fun and fast math and language arts prompts and questions as well as fun facts and teachable moments from history. Appropriate for grades K-8, you can projects Daily Starters onto an interactive whiteboard or print out copies for students.
8. Smithsonian Education: Take your students on a virtual field trip! Using Smithsonian Education, students can take virtual tours of the museum’s latest exhibits and connect with experts in the field. There are also lesson plans and resources for educators. One particularly fun lesson is “Final Farewells,” where students can see a Civil War-era school yearbook up close and discuss how the political climate may have affected the content.
9. Teaching Tolerance: This is a great site that gets at some of the tougher topics may not be easy to talk about but have a very real effect on students lives. The site offers lesson plans, film kits, interactive activities, and classroom resources on such topics as bullying, the civil rights era, LGBTQ issues, and separation of church and state.
10. Crayola for Educators: Bring some creativity and color into the classroom! Crayola for Educators has hundreds of crafty lesson ideas on any topic so that your students can embrace their inner artist while also learning. Put their work on display to add some character to the space and remind your students that they’re making a significant contribution to the classroom each and every day.
A bonus tool that no educator should miss out on is Konversai. Konversai is a global knowledge platform that allows for one-on-one live video conversations between anyone, anywhere, about anything. One of Konversai’s core beliefs is that whether you have a teaching degree or not, we all have a bit of a teacher within us. In other words, no matter who you are or where you come from, you have valuable knowledge, skills, and experiences to share that can benefit someone somewhere else in the world and that geography, time, and money should not be barriers to accessing these knowledge, skills, and experiences. Not only can teachers use Konversai to help their own students or students anywhere else in the world who might be struggling with academic subjects, but they can also connect with other educators near and far and discuss lesson ideas, classroom management techniques, educational policies and practices in different states and countries, and more. The only limit is your imagination. All users are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on Konversai on any and as many topics as they wish. Knowledge providers may charge as much or as little as they wish for their time. They may also hold sessions for free or donate their earnings to a charity of their choice.
All of us at Konversai recognize the great power and responsibility that comes with being an educator. From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate all that you have done and are continuing to do to shape the future of our youth and ultimately of our planet. Konversai is a tool to support you in the important work that you do every single day. Don’t waste another second—become a part of our community now!
1. Hudson, Hannah Trierweiler. 25 Best Websites for Teachers. Scholastic.
2. McClure, Laura. (2015). 25 awesome apps for teachers, recommended by teachers. TED Ed.
3. Schiola, Emily & Sin, Gloria. (2016). 21 Helpful Apps for Teachers and Educators. Digital Trends.