5 Web Resource Every Teacher SHOULD Consider

How to Take the Gadgets to Your Advantage

"It is so hard to keep their attention!"

"They always wanted to play with their gadgets!"

If you are one of the school teachers who might have said these, or can relate to these lines, then this post is for you.

Twenty-first century learners demand a whole new approach for the teaching-learning process. This technology-infused generation easily loses focus and attention to the "conventional" method of teaching we have grown up with. The new teaching approach involves more than just letting the students understand -- it also let them create something out of the presented concept. In fact, the approach for the 21st century learning directs the focus from being teacher-centered to being student-centered.

This leads us to the idea that teachers have now become facilitators of learning. We do not tell the students the concept, but we let them discover it. To do this, we do away with direct instruction, letting the students interact and exchange ideas. This means we do not present ideas and principles to the students, but instead, we confront them with problems and questions that will lead them to the answers.  Once that's done, we push them to create new ideas, or innovate existing ideas or output. And this process may also mean that students may not work to compete against their classmates. Rather, they will work with their classmates - collaboration!

The process may involve technology. And with technology, I do not just refer to the laptop and projector used by teachers. What I am referring to are the web-based resources and downloadable applications the facilitators in learning may take advantage of.

Here are my 5 picks (in no particular order) for the young minds:

TouchCast is a free educational app that uses green screen technology. This allows the students to take a video of themselves and pretend they are in a different place or environment, just like in movies and news reporting. This also allows presentation and explanation easier and attractive. More to that, TouchCast can also be interactive.

Image Source: touchcast.com
This is good for presentation and exploration activities in Science, History, and Math, among others. You may check their page at www.touchcast.com.

2. Green Screen by Do Ink

Just like TouchCast, Green Screen by Do Ink allows multiple media platform to be combined into one video. This app comes in free, with the animations added in the paid package. All you need is a plain colored background, preferably lime green. It has settings which allow you to replace that lime green background with a whole new one, either a picture or a video.
Image Source: Green Screen by Do Ink
What I like about this app is the flexibility to project it live into a white screen with the option to show only what is in the preview, meaning, the audience will not see the settings and timelines. This is great in Science, Story-telling, and History classes, among others.

3. Photoshop

Who have not even heard of this Adobe image manipulation tool?

Photoshop has become an essential tool when it comes to editing images. Lots of job requirement for advertising and visual graphics jobs include the know-how in Photoshop. Integrating this tool in classrooms does not only promote creativity but also prepares the learner for his future.

Image Source: graphicriver.net

Drawback? Students may download and use pictures which have copyright. Reminding students of internet etiquette and monitoring their work won't hurt.

4. Scratch

Scratch is a free educational programming developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten Group. It allows students to create animations and games through visual programming, and edit existing projects using the internet browser. This is a great tool to use if you aim for students' creativity, analytic and logic skills, and problem solving skills.

Image Source: news.mit.edu

Downside: Since this is an online resource, you may need to check the internet service in your school first. You do not want students to start losing temper and patience before the page loads.

5. SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3D modelling program that is used even in architecture, interior designs, and engineering to create and design objects and buildings. In the classroom setup, we can use SketchUp in Math subjects to measure dimensions, and create accurate diagrams. It can also be used for other fields like Arts and Computer technology.

Screen Capture: Robert Lang Youtube video

As a bonus, I am going to add one more web resource which makes our classroom a very active and interactive one. Students get so excited and aroused every time they see a familiar screen on the projection. Yes, this is based on my own experience, and based on the experiences of teachers who had tried this.

Believe me, Kahoot is a great web resource to make your assessments interactive and lively. Students will most likely look forward to every assessment you have using this resource. You can add multimedia in your questions, or you can simply type texts in it. It is up to you to be creative.

Image Source: https://evscicats.com/digital-tools/assessment-tools-series/tools-meaningful-digital-assessment-kahoot/

More to that, Kahoot allows the students to create their aliases (or names). It gives the class the thrill by showing who answers the fastest, the percentage of answers, and more, while giving the teacher the ease to check their stats (Scores! No more calling out of their names to record their answers manually!) afterwards. All you have to do is to sign up, and presto, you can start right away. The best thing about it? It is web-based! Meaning, any device that can browse the web can access it.

Bear in mind though the students' convenience in using the gadget and resource. The bigger the screen, the better they can utilize it.

Well, there is a lot of other software and applications we may suggest, including word processing programs (Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, etc.) spreadsheets, presentation apps, and publishing programs. But it is a good thing to integrate the above apps so students can focus on the topics you are teaching while taking advantage of the gadgets they have. After all, technology is an amplifier, even of learning!

Have you tried any of these apps and web resource in your class? How was it like? Is there any app that you want to add in the list?