Bett London has closed the doors for this year, and I just got back to work with a whole lot of new inspiration.
In this post, I want to share the thoughts and discoveries I did in those 4 days. Besides all the classroom touch screens around every corner, there were lots of innovative start-ups and companies too. I also got inspired by teachers around me using certain apps and tools to spark their lessons.
Some tools you might already know about, and others will blow your mind. So, let me introduce you to these 10 educational apps/companies: Soundtrap, Frog, Sleuth it, Post it +, One tab, Grammarly, Chromebook App Hub, BookWidgets, Screencastify, and Wall Art
10 things I saw at Bett you need to use in your classroom
Soundtrap (by Spotify) allows your students to make and mix their own podcasts and music. Let them be creative and put together a schoolwide podcast. This is a useful skill for all students in all courses. You could, for example, let students of a electric/mechanics course do a podcast about the newest electric cars, or let fashion students talk about what to wear this spring. This should be interesting for all students. They should find an episode of the school podcast that relies on their own interests as well.
Frog is a learning management system, tailored to your school needs. Frog has three tools to facilitate learning: FrogLearn, FrogProgress, and FrogPlay. When you use them all together, you have the ultimate digital school environment. Let’s see.
With FrogLearn you can:
- Share resources to all teachers and staff
- Work together in a collaborative learning space
- Set, mark, share and manage homework
- Easily access documents from anywhere
- Communicate with students, parents, and teachers
With FrogProgress you can:
- Track and report on students’ learning, understanding, and progress
- Assess and moderate against an agreed standard of learning
- Gather evidence and make judgments on mastery of subjects
- Design, publish and update a standardized curriculum for your school
- Identify gaps in students’ learning and store exemplar materials
Finally, with FrogPlay you can:
- get access to over 300,000 self-marking curricula mapped questions
- Access detailed analytics on usage and attainment
- Create an identity with profiles and leaderboards
- Identify gaps in learning and message students directly
- Encourage revision through game-based assessment
3. Sleuth IT
Let your students go on a quest with Sleuth IT. It creates adventure games for the classroom, which place students at the heart of the action. They are the detectives, and have to unfold the story through finding the evidence, analyze witness interviews, explore locations and cracking codes.
They have to find out things like “who ate the cake”, “who poisoned the judge”, “where is Quintus”, “what’s the mystery of the Mummy’s curse”, and so on.
Currently, Sleuth IT has 11 adventure games that are designed to teach literacy to students aged 6 to 18. The games also support differentiated learning, as each game has two different versions. Challenged readers, students who need additional support or students with English as a second language, will experience the same adventure games, but with learning tailored to their abilities.
Each game Sleuth IT game comes with a full term’s worth of resources for the teacher and students. The games are iPad based, so you’ll need a one to one iPad classroom or at least one iPad for about 3 students.
It blew me away how easy it is to scan post-its with this app, digitize them, and arrange them on your iPad.
If you created post-it’s before, you know it’s hard to save them. It’s not very handy when the post-its start to pile up, or when your wall is completely covered. So here’s what you can do with Post-it+: use the Post-it+ app camera function, and point it to your post-its on your desk; the camera will detect your post its and separate them one by one in the app. You can now make groups and arrange them or leave them be and save them. You can even change their color, add new post-its or annotate written ones.
Finally, when you’re done, you can share the digital post-its to Trello, Powerpoint, Excel, PDF, Dropbox and more.
5. One Tab
One tab is a Chrome extension that will save you countless minutes of classroom setup time.
Whenever you find yourself with too many open tabs, use One Tab to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually, or all at once.
That last option is basically what you need for a quick setup. List all your starting tabs as a teacher in One Tab. With just one click on the One tab icon, it’ll open all your tabs on that list. you don’t have to open them by yourself one by one.
You’ve probably been through this before: you lecture your students about the importance of writing without mistakes, but then they point out a spelling mistake in your own presentation. Ouch!
The Grammarly browser extension helps you write without any spelling mistakes in browser apps and documents. Think about setting up mails, or writing social media messages. Grammarly will detect mistakes instantly and offer you suggestions.
With the online (and offline) app, you can insert complete texts for review. It’ll correct your spelling and grammar, and make some other suggestions as well.
With the free version, you can move mountains. With the paid version, the sky is the limit. The paid version will notify you of wrongly used punctuation, give you better word choices, and alert you of sentences that are incomplete or very hard to read.
Have you heard of this one yet? If you or your school is working with Chromebooks, you should definitely visit the Chromebook App Hub from Google For Education.
This App Hub is stacked with Chromebook lesson ideas and inspiration and apps you can use on a Chromebook. It is basically a library for teachers that makes you get the most out of your Chromebook. Don’t just use the Chrome internet browser on your Chromebook… Go beyond!
You can use the Chromebook App Hub filters to sort lesson ideas by idea category, your learning subject, age-range, and learning goal. If you’re looking for an app, use the filters to sort them from app category, age range, integrations and optimizations, language and data policy.
As they are close to hitting 10 million extension downloads, you might have heard of Screencastify. This is the tool teachers need so they can flip the classroom. Or they can just create instruction videos, super easy, super fast! Use the chrome extension to create, edit and share screen videos in seconds. All videos are automatically stored safely in your Google Drive.
Use Screencastify to create:
- instructional videos
- more engaging student feedback
- professional development tutorials
- parent updates
- And more!
In fact, here are 50 ways to use Screencastify in your classroom.
You’ll notice that students can also use Screencatify. Let them complete interactive assessments using screen-recording videos in the classroom.
9. Wall Art
Wall art is the strange one in this list, as it’s not really an edtech app. It’s a company that brings your school walls to life.
But boy, do they have some amazing ideas and artwork. Use corridors and boring classroom walls and add some educational value to them.
Here are 10 reasons why you should bring your school’s walls to life:
- You can add text-based facts to your Wall Art to maximize learning opportunities
- Showcase your curriculum with a feature wall in a main hallway or entrance area
- Use Wall Art to create subject zones or subject areas and help students to get in the right mindset for that lesson
- Include quotes from iconic figures in each subject area
- Create a historical timeline highlighting key events and inventions relevant to your history lesson
- Include local landmarks and achievements to celebrate your local school community
- Use map feature walls to help students understand their place in the world
- Give you cloakroom a lift with a fun theme and raise a smile from students every day
- Use the walls in your library to display quotes and visuals from classic children’s literature and inspire a love of reading
- Use your stairs to promote great books, tell a story and encourage a love of literature
Pro tip! If you want to include edtech to really bring your classroom wall to live (And I mean really, really), on top of the artwork from Wall Art, you should use BlippAr. With this app, you can add augmented reality effects to your walls (or images, posters,etc). Students can scan the wall and AR elements will pop-up on certain places.
What a list! I hope some of these apps are new to you and can enhance your teaching practice. Don’t forget to share this post with your fellow teachers as they might find a solution to breach an everlasting barrier in their classroom.