✅ TECH TOOLS 📲 A list of apps and platforms for Content creation , Sharing and engagement for teachers and learners

By Olga Kyle, media content creator, consultant and trainer.

The list I'd like to share with you is the result of many workshops, seminars and consulting events I hosted for the faculty of several Higher Education institutions. Before I placed the apps descriptions on this list, the apps were reviewed by instructors, education technology and accessibility experts. Some are harder to use than others, some are more fun, some may be helpful to what you're doing in your class, and some might be not. You will find a good variety of tools to meet different teaching needs here. But while this list of online and mobile apps is long, it's certainly not complete.

As new tools come to the market, I explore and use these tools in my classes and workshops. I add and edit this list frequently. Most of this tools are developed as online (in-browser) or iOs apps, some have Android apps as well.

I strive to share apps that offer free plans, but most will have a tiered pricing system (free tools often come with limited features, low number of projects you can create, or limited download or sharing options). Only a few apps on this list require paid plans, and most will allow you to pay on a month-by-month basis. I recommend starting with a free plan and if you feel the tool is worth it, then you can look into upgrading. Sometimes, I upgrade my free plans for just a month or two and create a batch of content I will be using for a year (or a semester). The key is to remember to cancel your subscription plan when you're done!

All of these apps could be used to support faculty-centered as well as student-centered projects, teaching and learning needs. You can certainly find great tools to provide more variety of course content and fun experiential learning options to your students. Pick one or two tools and give it a try: sign up for a free account, watch tutorials on how to get started and try it out. Don't take on too many tools at once, get comfortable in the new app before you add on.

As you take a closer look at the tools, keep in mind accessibility and privacy needs of your students and read the notices provided by the developers. While the tools on this list have been reviewed by educators and accessibility experts, the apps accessibility levels vary. As the developers work on optimizing the accessibility features, we're seeing consistent improvement in this area, but there are many nuances and you should always keep in mind the needs of your students and plan to provide alternative learning options as needed.

Online sharing, teamwork, productivity options

Course Management, Collaboration, Productivity:

Trello: visual collaboration platform, great for synchronous or asynchronous learning and communication. Trello can be used to organize, collaborate, communicate and coordinate projects and assignments. Trello is great for a variety of work, educational, and personal uses, from school bulletin boards, lesson planning, collaborative student research projects and task management to planning and organizing your next vacation. Boards can be viewed, edited, and managed by multiple members. (Trello)

Slack: communication and task management tool where you can create specialized messaging groups, or “channels” for projects and teams. You can share (and search for) files up to 1GB within a channel. Slack also allows users to integrate over 1500 apps and services into the chat, so your team can work without switching tabs and accounts. Includes video chatting and screen sharing. Bringing Slack into the classroom can help increase communication and collaboration, facilitate project management, and allow students to learn how to use a tool utilized in many workplaces across different industries. (Slack)

Apple Education Resources: Learn About iTunesUWhile you might not want to use this platform instead of Canvas, Moodle or Blackboard your school is already using, take a look at free courses and open education resources available via this platform, you might find helpful materials to share with your students. Have a look at: Master Your Major and this example of Using iPad for Graduate Work.

Yapp: Create your own mobile apps for conferences and events: Yapp. Also, there are more 'apps to build apps,' and if you're Interested in building and publishing your own mobile apps, read this article.

Google Apps for Education: while we're all using Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, Forms, Slides and Hangouts, there is also a highly useful app in this family: Google Keepa multimodal note-taking, organization, and list-making tool. You can create, share, and organize written, audio-recorded, or image-based notes. With this tool, faculty can encourage note-taking, help students organize group projects and track their learning progress through collaborative to-do lists. You could also use the Google Chrome extension for Google Keep to bookmark and take notes from web pages.

Zoom: Video conferencing tool, allows for collaboration via screen and content sharing, break rooms and meeting recordings. You can also use Zoom to record video lectures, while you share your screen or use the whiteboard feature - just 'Start a Meeting' for yourself and hit the record button (you'll need to edit the video in a different app though). Perfect for recording online interviews and guest speakers. (Zoom)

Voicethread and Perusall could take time to set up and incorporate into your courses initially, but certainly worth exploring for online teaching.

Perusall: Create and grade team-based reading assignments with Perusall

VoiceThread: Enhance online learning interactions with the use of media via VoiceThread

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 is best for use in the traditional classrooms, but could have applications in virtual classwork as well.

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. You can record narration as you add and edit text, images, web links or videos. You can also collaborate with teams to build and share online projects. Learn to use this app with this User Manual.

Social Media could be used to increase engagement, share content and conduct research.

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 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)

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

EdPuzzle: is a free assessment-centered tool that allows teachers and students to create interactive online videos by embedding either open-ended or multiple-choice questions, audio notes, audio tracks, or comments on a video. EdPuzzle interactive videos can be made with videos from a number of websites, including YouTube, TED, Vimeo, and National Geographic. (EdPuzzle)

Kahoot!: free student-response tool for administering quizzes, facilitating discussions, or collecting survey data. It is a game-based classroom response system played by the whole class in real time. Kahoot allows for the design of multiple-choice quizzes as well as polls and surveys that populate on-the-spot data, great for discussion starters. (Kahoot!)

Content Creation, Publishing and Storytelling:

Content Creation for Faculty and Student-centered projects.

ThingLink - Add annotation and interactivity to your online images by adding 'tags' and linking videos, images, text, Google forms or web links. Use for 360 images or videos (paid plans). Offers Teacher subscription plans to collaborate with the students, or individual free plans to create a limited number of sharable projects. 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.

Easel.ly: (pronounced “easily”) helps users create infographics. Infographics use pictures, graphs, and a bit of text to quickly and attractively share data. (Easel.ly)

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

Knight Lab Storytelling tools collection from the Northwestern University features a collection of free online apps that “help make information meaningful and promote quality journalism, storytelling and content on the internet”:

  • Juxtapose: helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media (e.g., a historical and present-day photo) and is helpful for exploring changes over time, like the development of a building or a city skyline or the destruction of rainforest.
  • SoundCite: lets you add inline soundbites into your story to create multimodal text.
  • Timeline JS: can be used to create interactive timelines with a Google spreadsheet.
  • StoryMap allows you to create interactive, multimodal stories with maps.
  • Storyline allows anyone to build an interactive line chart. This includes charts, axis labels, and cards.
  • SceneVR turns panoramic and VR-ready photos into a visual story line.

Video screen capture, narration and editing apps: Screenflow: ($129 single license; MacOS); Camtasia: ($249 single license; Mac or PC)

Loom: free screencasting tool that allows users to capture their computer screen and record themselves with their camera. Loom can be used on both Mac and Windows computers. Once you are finished creating your screen recording video, you can edit it and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, as a URL, or embed it on a website.(Loom)

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.

Lumen5: AI-powered tool creates videos to accompany written content. Users can input a link to an article or blog post, or write some text, and Lumen5 will turn the text into a video (see the Lumen5 features page). Users can then tinker with the video by adding music, inserting new photos, and tweaking the format. Lumen5 can be used in education to inspire student interest in a topic, support student learning with multimedia, and facilitate knowledge construction through the design of videos. Free and paid options. (Lumen5)

Anchor: create and host a podcast for free using a mobile app or through their website. Anchor provides unlimited free hosting service and includes an option to move their podcasting service from other service providers (e.g., Podbean, SoundCloud) . Easy to set-up a podcast station for listeners to subscribe to for notifications about new episodes. As an educator, you could create a class podcast station or have your students collaboratively design a podcast series. (Anchor)

Audacity: open source audio recording and editing software application, free. Record live audio, cut, copy, mix, and edit various audio files. Audacity can foster active student participation and deeper learning through content creation and allow students to showcase their understanding through multimedia rather than tests or papers. (Audacity)

Adobe Spark group of apps and more web publishing options

Adobe Spark Tools: Create, publish and share graphics, web pages or videos. Spark tools offer free and premium options:

  • 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 download in Apple App Store. (Adobe Spark)
  • Spark Page: Can you guess what I used to create this web page for you? It takes minutes to create and share a web page, you can choose public or private publishing options. Available online or via Apple App Store. (Adobe Spark)
  • Spark Post: Easy to use for non-designers to create beautiful graphics. You can also choose the sizes that range from specific social media sizes to custom print size. Publish and share online or download. Available online or via Apple and Android apps. (Adobe Spark)

Pixton Comics - is a website, created by a husband and wife team, that allows teachers and students to construct their own comic strips. There are a variety of comic strip layouts, numerous character and background choices, and a ton of creative options This is a great learner-centered tool that allows students to construct their own knowledge and display it in a way that is meaningful to them by allowing them to create comics representing their concepts and ideas. (Pixton)

WordPress: Build a website or publish a blog, free options, no need to purchase a domain. Get started with WordPress.

Squarespace: Build a professional looking website using one of the templates (Offers a free trial, then several paid options; Squarespace)

Wix: Create responsive, media-rich websites with easy-to-use HTML-5 web editor or even AI site builder from Wix. Free options available, no need to purchase a domain.

Before you leave, sign up for at least one of these free apps and give it a try. Check out the Get Started guides provided by the app developers and try it out. Have fun exploring!

And if you have questions or need an advice, feel free to reach out 😊

Created By
Olga Kyle