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Free Tools for Education

February 25, 2015

By Jennifer Albat

If you’re into finding the latest and greatest free technology to enhance your students’ learning experiences then you are in the right place. These tools help you flip your classroom, create PowerPoint presentations that are more engaging, and make assessing your students’ knowledge a breeze.  

Plickers  

https://www.plickers.com/

This app is for receiving instant results on a formative assessment. QR codes are printed on sheets of paper for the students to display their answers instead of using clicker devices.

Each sheet has a number that can be assigned to a particular student. The instructor poses a question with 2-4 choices (A, B, C, or D) and then uses their mobile device to scan the classroom and record the students’ responses. Results are anonymous to the class but can be recorded on a roster for the instructor. The results can also be displayed at the front of the room with a listing of the card numbers so the students know when their response has been recorded.

This can be a great tool for pre and posttests or self-checks. Other uses can be for holding a review game or even taking attendance. They can be used in classroom with up to 63 students.

Zeemaps

http://zeemaps.com/

Have you ever wanted your students to do a map assignment but their drawing skills were less than great?  Zeemaps is the solution for any assignment requiring students to pinpoint specific areas.

Students do not have to sign-up or create an account, and they can collaborate together on one map. They can also work in an Excel or Google spreadsheet and upload the markers. Maps can be printed, linked to, or saved as a PDF.

Assignments do not have to be limited to marking specific cities or towns. Students can be asked to mark battles in a war, locations of discoveries, or areas of archeological events.  The markers and labels can be customized to display images or links to other websites. The possibilities are endless!

Office Mix

https://mix.office.com/  

This install will add a new Mix tab to your PowerPoint 2013 program. The new options on the tab allow for easier slide recording, quizzes or response polls can be blended right into the presentation, and videos and apps can be added from Microsoft’s site right into the slides. Upon completion the presentation can be uploaded to Mix and it will play as a video which makes it a great option for flipping your classroom. You can also choose to export the video as a MP4 file.

At this time Office Mix only works with PowerPoint 2013 running on a PC. It should be made available for Apple sometime this spring. The Office Blog gives some great ideas on how to incorporate the tools in your class: http://blogs.office.com/2014/05/06/meet-office-mix/.

Poll Everywhere

http://www.polleverywhere.com/

Do you like the idea of instantly gauging where your students stand on a topic? How about giving them a pre-test to see if they read the material? Poll Everywhere is a site for creating and capturing live polls and will help you with these scenarios and more. It also keeps the students engaged and excited to participate. Polls can be displayed on the front screen and students can respond anonymously via web link or text message. Responses are populated instantaneously allowing you and the students to see the results. A free higher education account can collect up to 40 responses.

Kahoot.it 

https://getkahoot.com/

Kahoot is one of the best websites I have found for creating and playing review games. It makes learning fun and interactive.

The “Kahoot” (quiz, discussion, or survey) is created on the web and then launched on the board at the front of the class. Students join entering their name and game pin on devices able to access the Internet. The quizzes can be played like trivia games while discussions and surveys are more for polling the class. For a free site there are many options for customizing questions with images and videos. Kahoot even has its own community where quizzes can be made public. Yes, you can use other users’ Kahoots too!

 

 

 

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