A super nice member!
I teach: English, Biology
To ages: 14 to 21
Dragon Dictation is a God-send app for a busy teacher like me. It is an app that transforms your voice messages to written format, which can be sent as email or SMS. It provides a useful alternative to typing on the keyboard, and you can dictate whatever you want, even while traveling. I use Dragon Dictation to send instructions and even some short notes to my students, and the best thing is that I can do so even if I don't have time to sit and type. Recently, I had to make some important notes, but switching between the reference book and word doc was taking too much time, so I used Dragon Dictation to dictate the notes, which I got in the text form. I would recommend it to all teachers who can use it for free.
I have used Google Books not only for my personal research, but also recommended it to my students, who found the site to be very useful. It is a great site to preview books, and also to locate full text of any book. The tools available at the site help in organizing your own bookshelf. Moreover, it provides you with a comprehensive and latest index of books, making the search for some particular book much easier. As many books available here are free, I recommend it to all students and teachers.
The first time I used Toontastic, I fell in love with it. It is a great tool/app that helps you create your own cartoons, and tell your stories through it. It is a great way to unleash the creative talent hidden in the young minds. You can easily create your own character or use any of the custom-made characters available on Toontastic. Once you have created your own animation, you can also upload it on ToonTube, and share it with your peers. I conduct story-reading classes for the lower grade students. I and my students had such fun when I shared the animated story of Snowhite and The Seven Dwarfs with them. Now, they happily create their own stories, and I love watching them. I would recommend it to all teachers teaching up to grade 5th, and also parents, as with this tool they can make education so much fun for their students and children.
When I used Prezi for the first time, which was quite a while ago, I found it to be too difficult and confusing, but recently I was re-introduced to it, surprisingly by one of my High School students, and I was delighted to see the difference. It is now much easier than its previous version. The best thing about Prezi is that it allows you to collaborate information from various sources, which automatically gets saved to the cloud so that students or teachers can access it from anywhere. Some of my High School students have made breathtaking presentations on Prezi, and most of them were pretty fast to pick up the technicalities of the tool.
As an ESL teacher, I find Starfall as one of the most useful phonics tool. It offers to teach the correct pronunciation for various alphabets and words. The colorful and easy-to-use programs make learning more fun. I used it with my own kids when they were learning letter recognition, and now I use it with students from countries like South Korea and Japan, who love the simple way Starfall helps them pronounce words. The tool is so simple that they practice on it regularly, even outside my online classroom. I would definitely recommend it to all parents and ESL teachers.
This is a great website for students who love challenges. It helps them improve and enrich their vocabulary, and is more fun than traditional flashcards. As an English teacher, I use Freerice.com to prepare students for various English proficiency tests that require a good vocabulary. As it offers questions pertaining to various levels of learning, I can use it with students from Grade7th to Grade12th. The best thing about the site is that it helps develop socially responsible individuals, which, I believe, should be the main aim of education. Students know that they are helping some hungry child by playing (or working) on Freerice, and this gives them greater satisfaction. I would recommend Freerice.com to all students.
Scratch is a great way to tell a story, esp. to students up to Grade 6th. It is a very easy tool that helps you create your own animations and games. If one is a creative teacher, he/she can use it very effectively to enhance comprehension, vocabulary and expression. I sometimes teach basic concepts of Science to Middle Graders. Recently, I had to teach the functions of roots to students of Grade 6th, but I didn't want it to be a boring Science class. I created an animation using the simple tools available on Scratch, and came up with a very engaging lesson. Students can also use it to make interactive project, which would also improve their creative skills.
As an Online Teacher and an enthusiastic educator, I am always on the look-out for tools/sites that can help me help the new Cyber generation. When I found Common Sense Media, I was more than happy. It guides parents, students and educators, by providing information about digital content. Thus, looking at the the color-codes and information, parents and educators can decide which content is safe for their children and students. It also offers content on issues, like bullying and plagiarism, that directly relate to the welfare of students. With the increasing exposure to digital content, I strongly feel that all parents and educators should use Common Sense Media, to ensure the safety and well-being of their wards and students.
This is one tool/portal that I am really excited about. Lessonopoly is a great resource portal for teachers. It helps you create and share your lesson plans, as well as your teaching content. It is a great way to build a strong teacher community. Teachers can share the teaching methodology that they have found to be the most effective while teaching any particular subject or chapter; this could be of great help to the new teachers. As the tools are pretty simple to use, I would recommend it for all teachers-old and new.
As an English teacher, I am always glad to come across tools that can help students improve their grammar skills outside the classroom; Grammar App is one such tool. The various level tests available in the app, help students test their language proficiency, including grammar and vocabulary. It has as an interactive game format that makes learning fun. I have found it to be quite useful for students who belong to countries where English is not the native language. I recommend it for all students who are preparing to take any English proficiency test, or just want to improve their grammar skills.
Since I uploaded Pages on my iPad, things have become more comfortable for me. I can create great looking documents with the help of the various templates available on Pages. It is a virtual publishing tool that can be downloaded for a nominal fee, and is quite easy to use. It also offers iLife browser that provides an easy access to pictures and videos. I found the 2Dand 3D chart making tool very useful, as, with its help, I could easily explain some difficult concepts to my High School students. The only drawback is that some of its tools are functional only when you are online. However, the variety of templates and tools that are offered on Pages makes it a great educational and professional tool.
Being a Language teacher, I have never been good with numbers and data. However, now, thanks to Microsoft Excel, I can easily manage and store any kind of data without worrying about the numbers and calculations, as it is empowered to perform self-calculations. I use it to maintain the individual records of my students, as well the records of my entire class. It is also quite useful for the students as they can prepare spreadsheets for individual projects, and save data and information in a systematic way. It also makes calculations easier; you just have to input the required formula and the rest is done by Excel. I would definitely recommend it for all; however, first-time users should go through the start-up instructions carefully.
Being a Language teacher, I know how important it is to make learning fun. It is exactly what the Spelling
Test does! Learning vocabulary can be a daunting task, especially for students who are non-native
speakers. Spell Test can prove to be a great tool for them. It helps students learn and recall words given
for homework. They can also build their vocabulary for exams like SAT. It helps them create their own
tests and find out their strengths and weaknesses. As it is designed in the form of a game, students
enjoy learning through this tool. Moreover, they can use it with iPad, iPhone and ipod. The good news is
that it is free. As an Online Language teacher, I have found this tool to be quite useful for almost all my
students, esp. those who belong to non-English speaking countries.
Keynote is an effective and easy presentation creator tool that can be used with iPad and Mac. You can choose from a variety of themes, depending upon the presentation. The animations and graphics are quite attractive. While making a presentation for my High School students, I found it to be quite a time-saving tool, and the students enjoyed the graphics. Though I won't say that it can replace Power Point, yet it can be used by teachers and students to create and share effective presentations.
VoiceThread is a great way to create group projects and presentations. It is a multimedia slide show that allows you to leave comments for each slide; these comments could be in the form of voice, text or video. For a nominal annual fee, it is a great tool that makes working on projects easier and more convenient. I use this tool, while working on research projects with my High School and College students. They share images or videos, and I can easily comment on them, and instruct accordingly. I have found it to be quite useful when working on group projects. I would recommend it to teachers and all students.
As an Online Teacher, I find Google Sites an extremely useful web app. It is a free app that helps create a personal website, which can be used to share any sort of information with parents as well as students. As it also offers a variety of free templates, creating an attractive website becomes even easier. I upload students' attendance and test records on the site, which can be easily accessed by their parents. In addition, I also use it to share important and relevant information, including brief notes, with my students. I am sure Google Sites can prove to be a very helpful app for all the teachers.
As a Writing teacher, I love introducing the various forms and techniques of writing to my students. However, I always found that though most of them (esp. those who are new to writing research papers) enjoyed researching and writing, they were at a loss when it came to writing the bibliography. EasyBib is a great tool for them. It formats the input reference material in the required format, be it MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. The MLA version is free, but the users are required to pay for Premium service that provides access to APA and other formats. As a Writing teacher, I would recommend it to all students, as with its help they can focus more on their writing, instead of worrying about the bibliography and citations.
This is definitely one of the best apps developed for students. The iTunes U app provides a variety of free courses that have been developed by some of the best educators and teachers from the leading universities and schools. These courses can be easily downloaded to iPhone and iPad, which makes them even more student friendly. While going through the content, I was amazed to see the variety and quality of courses. Along with the courses, the app also has a free digital catalog that is enormous in size and iBooks. The only drawback is that there is no 'live' assistance to clear the doubts, and there is no link to social media. However, it is still a great way to learn, especially for High School and College students.
As a teacher, I find Google Apps for School a collection of very useful tools. It is a complete education suite that includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talks, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video for Communication. The personalized mail service can help build the school reputation. Calendar can be used by teachers to mark the various annual events and even their personal schedule. Google Docs is a great way to share documents with colleagues. Google Talk can be used by students to communicate with others while working on the same project. This entire collection of apps is offered for free by Google. As an online and school teacher, I would recommend Google Apps for School, not only to schools but also to all education service providers.
All Language teachers will agree that creating flashcards is one of the most time consuming tasks. However, now we have good news! Quizlet is a great flashcard site that helps you create your own flashcards, and provides you with some great ready-made flashcards as well. As an ESL teacher, I find it to be very useful, especially for students who are not native speakers and do not have anybody at home to help them with their vocabulary. It is so easy to use that I even ask my students to prepare their own flashcards. They can also test themselves, which helps them understand their own weaknesses and strengths. I recommend Quizlet to all ESL teachers, as well as to students who are keen to develop their language and vocabulary skills.
I feel Dropbox is a must have for all educators. It is an easily downloadable tool that can store data up to 2GB for free, and up to 50 GB for a very small fee. Additionally, if you refer it to a friend and he/she downloads Dropbox, you earn free space. It is an extremely convenient tool that can store almost any kind of data, be it pictures or videos or just plain documents. Once you 'drop' your file in a Dropbox, it is saved in an online database which can be accessed from any other computer or device that is linked. What more can one ask for!
As an Online English Tutor, I find Dropbox to be one of the best storage tools ever invented. Instead of using email for sending huge files and documents to my students, who are residing in different corners of the world, I simply put them in the Dropbox, and they can easily access them. Moreover, I can also share some good reference material with them, which may not be available in their native country, and they don't have to spend their invaluable time in researching and downloading it. Even for my live classes, I don't have to carry any USB drive, as I can easily open my Dropbox and show and share all the relevant material with my students. Thanks to Dropbox, now I don't have to worry about losing some important file!
I would definitely recommend Dropbox to all educators, as it can make their, as well as their students' lives, much simpler.