Innovate@ UMass Instructional Technology tools | Innovate@ symposium

by Olga Kyle, Innovate@ UMass Amherst

Here is the list of the key instructional technology tools we explored during the Innovate@ Symposium session in Spring 2017. Keep in mind that some of these tools could fit in more than one category (like Google Apps, for example).

Course Management Tools:

Engagement and teamwork tools:

Google Apps: We used and discussed Docs, Drive, Sheets, Forms and Slides. Learn about Google Apps @UMass

Data Storage: Learn about data storage options at UMass Amherst.

Perusall: Create and grade team-based reading assignments with Perusall (learn about getting started with Perusall at UMass)

VoiceThread: Enhance online learning interactions with the use of media via VoiceThread (learn about getting started with VoiceThread at UMass)

Grayboard: This Chrome extension tool allows instructors to build libraries of comments to post in discussions or provide feedback in one click. Sign up for a free trial: Grayboard

Post-it Plus: Capture and organize notes from collaboration sessions with Post-it Plus iOS app.

A Web White Board (AWW): Easy way to draw, write, add images and share the link with collaborators.

Padlet: Platform-agnostic real-time online collaboration. Use Padlet boards via web browsers, iPad app, Android app, Safari extension, or Wordpress plugin.

Explain Everything: This white board app allows you to create interactive presentations, collaborate and share your work. Explain Everything is available for Windows, Chrome OS, iOS and Android platforms. Learn to use this app with this User Manual.

Instagram: Social engagement, visual research and reporting tool for the classrooms. (Instagram)

Twitter: Social media tool for engagement, professional online presence and research. (Twitter)

IFTTT: Stands for if this then that. This tool allows you allows you to create recipes that automate online tasks— for instance, if Instagram hashtag X then put in Google Spreadsheet. There are LOTS of useful recipes ready to go. (IFTTT)

Zoom: Video conferencing tool, allows for collaboration via screen and content sharing, break rooms and meeting recordings. Here is how to get started at UMass. (Zoom)

Flipgrid: Video sharing platform for student engagement and assessment. Create Video Boards for the students to post video responses and comments. (Flipgrid)

Data visualization, content creation and delivery tools:

JMP Pro: Dynamic statistical analysis software for Mac and Windows. Learn about JMP features and get started with JMP Pro at UMass Amherst.

Tableau: Data Visualization tool to create charts, graphs, maps and publish on the web. Tableau Public is a free app for Windows or Mac.


ThingLink - Add annotation and interactivity to your online images. ThingLInk is available through web browsers.

Piktochart - User-friendly online visualization tool. Use your own content as well as customizable templates and graphic elements to create charts, posters, maps in Piktochart via your web browser or an iOS app.

Tiki-Toki: Create and publish interactive timelines that include text, links, images and videos. You can create one free timeline with TikiToki.

PowToon: Create animated videos and presentations. Free account allows access to limited features to build animations from templates in your web browser. (PowToon)

Touchcast: Create interactive videos by adding web links, images, polls, and other interactive features to traditional video clips. Touchcast is currently available for iPad only.

Adobe Spark Video: Create and share online videos: combine video clips, photos and text. Add Creative Commons content, record and add your sound to build final video in your web browser or free iOS app. (Adobe Spark Video)

UMass Create: This is a pilot program that allows UMass Amherst community to manage a hosted web space and install web applications including Wordpress, Omeka, and Drupal. Here is how to get started.

WordPress: Build a website using WordPress platform. All students and instructors have access to WordPress at Umass. Learn how to get started with Blogs at UMass Amherst.

Wix: Create responsive, media-rich websites with easy-to-use HTML-5 web editor or AI from Wix.

Adobe Spark Page: Can you guess what I used to create this web page for you? You, too, should create an account and start using it :) In addition to Page, you could also create a Post (graphics) and Video with Adobe Spark group of apps.

Questions? Contact our team:

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