If you are wanting to reduce your classroom’s environmental impact, there are many applications you can use to make your classroom run smoothly online. These tools allow you to collaborate with your class in ways that allow users (with various types of devices) to contribute to classroom discussion. The tools listed below work across a variety of platforms which allow students to join in using smartphones, tablets or computers. If your classroom only has a few devices available, that is ok too. These options could be used as students pass the devices around the room to add their input and engage in the discussion.
When I use padlet, it tends to be as a digital option to chart paper and sticky notes. As the teacher, you create the padlet and share the link with the students via QR code, Remind text message, embedded in your classroom site or even have it written in chalk on the chalkboard. Students join the padlet and can contribute simply by double tapping anywhere on the page to add text.
I’ve used this many times in classes or training sessions to get people to brainstorm or to share their thinking. The padlet can then be saved to be shared out with the contributors, embedded in other sites or even just deleted. Some kindergarten teachers have started using padlet as a way to brainstorm and lesson plan together on weekends, then they share this padlet with the parents to outline the learning goals for the week! Once the students are comfortable working off a Padlet created by you, you may be surprised to find them using it when they are brainstorming for other projects with their peers.
Padlet has a sign in with Google feature that makes it easy to remember your login…always a bonus!
2. Today’s Meet
Today’s Meet is a great way to provide students the opportunity to engage in an online discussion, give feedback or ask questions as you are teaching. This platform allows you to create a Room and designate how long it is open for (an hour – one month) where students can engage in the conversation.
As the teacher, once you create the room, share the site URL with the students and they can begin using it from any type of device with internet access. Today’s Meet also has a the sign in with google feature to make your job of remembering passwords easy!
3. Google Applications
The suite of Google Applications are great ways to get students to collaborate in class.
Google Documents, Slides, Sheets and Drawings – students can create a file and share with each other (or make it public) in order to share good ideas or to collaborate on any type of writing. Collaboration can come in the form of students all writing on the same document or using the comment feature to comment on each other’s work. This is useful to teachers as you can view the revision history to see exactly who did what!
Having students collaborate as they work on writing projects, research topics, prepare presentations or explore math concepts is helpful when creating a supportive environment where students begin to value feedback from others and the opportunity to work with another person without having to be side by side.
Google Drawings is very powerful, and much like Padlet, however Google Drawings can only be viewed, not created or edited on an iPad, this is one restriction of this program.
Check out my Introduction to Google Apps to learn more about the features of Google Applications.
Do you have another good suggestion I missed? Please let me know so I can check it out!