Group Name: Pink Glitter Rules!
The following reviews are based on discussion & collaboration from a diverse group of teachers who span multiple grade levels & subject areas. We narrowed down the list to best fit the learning needs of students in our population.
- Kimberly Bowen - 7th & 8th Grade Math
- Jewelia Elliott - 7th Grade Math
- Melissa Foster - Library Media Specialist
- Megan Johnson - Second Grade Teacher
- Nellie Johnson - 7th Grade Science
ELEMENTARY TOP PICKS:
Why we like Seesaw...Today's students, teachers and parents alike are eager to have technology integrated in classrooms. Seesaw, the digital portfolio, is "used in over 200,000 classrooms, 1 in 4 schools in the U.S., and over 100 countries!" ACCORDING TO EDSHELF.COM (www.edshelf.com, 2017) For Teachers Seesaw Is a big time saver, makes organizing student portfolios easy encourages parent communication, makes formative assessments easy all while providing a safe place for our children to learn 21st century skills. For Students, Seesaw gives you the power to document your work, share what you are learning with your classmates, parents and even the world! Finally for parents,seesaw provides the perfect window into your child's day at school. The age old question, "What did you do in school today?" is answered immediately with Seesaw since you can check your child's journal throughout the day, you will know what your child is creating and working on! Seesaw is an exceptional site that is offered to teachers for FREE, there is an option to upgrade, however after reviewing this site thoroughly I believe any teacher, student or parent would be more than pleased with the free version!
Seesaw vs. Edmodo
In 2011, Edmodo made the AASL list of Best Websites for Teaching & Learning! While Edmodo is not exactly like Seesaw they are similar because they both allow students to safely share their work and ideas in real time, allow students to collaborate with others, teachers can create assessments, monitor students work and share it with parents in real time. Seesaw is a much easier website for students in the primary grades to navigate, making it more appealing to teachers and parents. Students do not have to remember passwords to login, instead the website creates QR Codes for students to gain access to their journals. Both websites are top notch; however, Edmodo falls short when it is used by students in the elementary grade levels.
Why we like GoNoodle...If you are looking for the perfect "brain break" website than look no further! Research continues to show that students who are given the opportunity to have short bursts of physical activity throughout the school day perform better academically, socially and emotionally. GoNoodle provides teachers and families with a FREE resource to help students perform at their best each day. There is an option to Pay for a membership which has more choices; however, the free version earned our vote! Bringing physical activity into the classroom through GoNoodle also provides support in spelling, reading, math and science. GoNoodle is the perfect way to break up the day, get your blood moving and your students ready to jump back into learning! If you have not given this brain break website a try, we highly encourage you to do so because we know you will be thankful that you did!
Why we like EPIC... If you are looking for the perfect reading library app for the classroom, this should be your top pick! You can create your own account as a teacher and the students access EPIC through their iPads or on the computers. The library is full of hundreds of books for elementary students and higher. There are categories the students can choose from, they can search for a book, and there are audio books available as well. As a second grade teacher myself, I have found it hard in the past to have access to audio books for those students who struggle with reading, well EPIC has completely changed that. Now all students and all types of learners can enjoy reading without any problems. EPIC is also home of educational videos the students can watch at the palm of their hand. I use this app everyday in my classroom and the students absolutely love it. They never get bored of this app because of the endless amount of books they can read and listen too. I highly recommend that all elementary teachers download this app for their students, speaking from experience and the best part is.... it's FREE! Yes FREE! It can't get much better than this. I can see why EPIC is mentioned on AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning because it is one of the BEST.
There is a website that compares to EPIC from the AASL list in the year 2013 called, LitPick. This is also home to many books for students. They have books for all age ranges including adult. I think this website would be a little harder to navigate and find books for early elementary but it is another great and free website for book reading. They do not have educational videos like EPIC or audio books, so this puts a restriction on some type of learners. So if I had to choose which website/app the students should access for reading and listening to books, it would definitely be EPIC by a long shot!
DK FIND OUT!
DK Find Out! is produced by a book publisher. The website is an interactive encyclopedia. Kids pick a topic of interest, and click on picture graphics. Students investigate interactive pages of information about the topic, watch videos and take quizzes. Free teacher resources and lesson plans are provided. There is also a parents area on the website. The website appears to be geared toward upper elementary school students, but could still be used with middle school students. Instructional applications could include research for projects, or as an explore activity when introducing a topic before teacher led instruction. All core subject teachers could make use of the information provided in the website. The majority of topics center on science and social studies themes, such as animals in nature, dinosaurs, computer coding, continents, volcanoes, etc. This website did not appear on previous AASL lists. No advertising is visible on the website, however, links for books to purchase about specific topics are provided.
Secondary Top Picks:
Middle School & High School
Why we like Piktochart...Create visually appealing infographics, presentations, and printables with “over 600 professionally designed templates” (only about 10 free templates for each type on the free version though). Insert charts, maps, icons, photos & videos. There are great stock photos and icons already included. Easily share your presentation with a link. Enter presentation mode to present as a slideshow or download or print your creation. Also, available as an app. The infographics & PRINTABLEs are something different than your usual powerpoint presentation. They are professional looking, yet eye catching. Plus, it is so easy to insert all kinds of different charts & graphs which I appreciate as a math teacher. Also, the interactive maps are excellent for Social Studies teachers. My students would enjoy this fun, user friendly, presentation tool.
Piktochart vs. Prezi
How does Piktochart compare to AASL's top presentation tool pick of 2010: Prezi?
Similarities: Both are unique presentation tools that are user friendly & have a nice flow. Access and save through online accounts. Easily make public and share with a link.
PICTOGRAPH: More presentation options... Infographic, Slide Show, or Printable. Easy to insert charts, graphs and tables. Abundance of pictures that are built in.
PREZI: Only Slideshow format, but has many more free templates.
Why we like Adobe Spark...“Create impactful social graphics(POST), web stories(PAGE) and animated videos (VIDEO) with Spark’s free graphic design app.” Eye catching professional layouts with photos, videos and text. Import your own or choose from thousands of free stock photos. View it all in “glideshow” format (PAGE). It reminds me of a high tech blog – it automatically adapts so you can view it on a computer, phone or tablet Layouts are available that can easily be tweaked. App available – different one for each of the three types. The "Page" or "video" tool would be an excellent presentation tool for secondary students in all subject areas. It would be easy to learn because it does not OVERWHELM with editing options, yet provides PROFESSIONAL results.
Why we like TeenTribune is a website sponsored by the Smithsonian, which features current events articles in all subject areas. A really nice feature is that the same article is written in multiple Lexile ranges, which makes differentiation for special education students possible. There are also Spanish language articles available. Resources for teachers including activities and quizzes are provided.
TeenTribune is a fabulous resource for incorporating literacy skills into the classroom by reading the articles, using them to answer writing prompts, and testing reading comprehension with quizzes. Lexiles range from 500-1600L, so the articles could be used from upper Elementary school through High school level readers.
TeenTribune is a top pick because it provides high quality material, is versatile, and is something subject area teachers can use. The website has not appeared on previous AASL lists. The website does have quite a bit of advertising on the page, but it is mostly unobtrusive on the screen and are for colleges and textbook companies.
WHY WE LIKE QUIZIZZ... Quizziz is a great tool for middle school students and can also be used for elementary school students as well. Quizziz is a great way to make testing and learning fun. As a teacher you can create quizzes about anything you want! This makes for a great review tool before a test or simply to use as informal assessment to help students remember and understand what you taught. This can be played with teams using iPads. The students race to get the right answer and earn the most points. But the great part about this website is you can assign a quiz for homework and the students can individually complete it at home! This website is free. All you need to do as an educator is create an account and then get started building the quizzes. You can also search for quizzes that have already been made by others.
Quizizz is compared to Kahoot from the 2014 AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning. Kahoot is very similar to Quizziz. The set up on how to make quizzes are the same for both websites. They are played in teams and individually and you can search for other quizzes already made for both. They are both played using iPads and other mobile devices just by downloading the app. When the students are creating their teams to play they can create a team name and then give each player a nickname. The answers are chosen by picking the colored square. Both websites are free to join and use!
Some differences between the two are, on Kahoot you can also create games, discussions, and surveys. On Quizziz you can create memes. They are both great tools for making learning fun for the classroom!
Websites from AASL's 2016 list that we did not consider up to par with the rest of our top picks.
Jeopardy Rocks is a cute vegetable themed Jeopardy Game. There are no bells and whistles, such as music or special effects. The graphics consist of vegetable team captains, the question board, and score board. Teachers can use this game to review material in class by creating an account. Some limitations are that the program is not student interactive. The teacher selects questions and enters the scores from the teacher station. Teachers cannot print the questions and answers unless the professional version is purchased. Elementary students might enjoy a vegetable themed game, but it is doubtful higher grade levels would be enthusiastic. The website has not appeared on any previous AASL best website lists. The website does not appear to be supported by a sponsor or by advertisements. Jeopardy Rocks would be a bottom pick, because websites like Quizziz and Kahoot exist, which have greater individual student engagement.
Trello boasts that it is a way for groups to work effectively using a calendar, documents, and to-do lists all in a very visual manner. The site says it can take inputs from Google Drive, DropBox, Box, and OneDrive, managing all formats. It is suggested for Grades 9-12 and for something like longer term or research projects. WHY WE FEEL LIKE IT IS A BOTTOM PICK...Having taught at the high school level for several years before moving to middle school, I do not see this status and scheduling tool being used by high school students. Even with complex classroom projects, it just seems to be overkill. It MAY have a place in managing school clubs with very large projects such as homecoming or prom. But it is like a project management tool that is used by businesses. In fact, businesses are listed as using the “business version” of the tool. Even for teachers or other adults in the building, I do not think it would be a useable tool for unit planning or unit work.