“What are some good tech tools?” someone asked. Well…

Someone asked me today about tools I like for language learning/producing/using. There are TONS! But here is a start…of course, you probably know many/all of these and we could go on for days! And…these are great tools for teachers of other subjects–there are content connections everywhere, so feel free to share.
I highly recommend FlipGrid for threaded video conversations with peers and content experts around the world. The great thing for language teachers is that FlipGrid allows students to have the experience of real communication without the timezone problem. The person on the other end simply replies when they are next online, but the video replies are threaded specifically to each student. And they are adding new features (mix tapes, spark, idea, #gridpals, and more) all the time. It works on phones, tablets, Chromebooks and computers. And it is completely free.
I recommend EdPuzzle for upping the game with videos used in class
  • If using a youtube video, the video is pulled out of youtube, thus removing the suggested videos, ads and comments (ViewPure can do that too).
  • Teachers can also use video from other sources, including videos they upload from their computer.
  • Teachers can crop the video so it only includes the part they want their students to work with.
  • Teachers can add their own audio instructions/explanations
  • Teachers can add questions (multiple choice or open ended) that appear DURING the video so students don’t have to wait to show you what/how they understood.
  • It posts to Google Classroom.
I recommend Seesaw  for quickly gathering student responses, via camera upload–with or without audio recording overlaid–, video recording, drawing (in app), or even a link to a product they created on another tool.
  • The free version is VERY robust, unglitchy and works on everything.
  • Teachers can create folders into which students can sort their work when they submit it.
  • Teachers can give audio or written feedback (and can set it up for peers to be able to like or comment on posts as well).
  • Teachers also have the option to give parents a special, restricted access to only their students’ work–though in a world language class, it may include the image and voice of another student as well, but there will be no identification.
  • Teachers can also download and save items or create a public blog with their favorite student work samples, again unidentified. But language teachers have to be careful, especially in novice levels, because students often start by introducing themselves. So I recommend training them to only use first names or to “adopt” a target-language name for use during video/audio activities that might be posted elsewhere.

For formative assessment:

Kahoot, Socrative, Quizlet are pretty well known. Here are some less well-known, depending on your audience–and some have interesting response options:

  • Quizizz
  • Mentimeter: in addition to open-ended, multiple choice, quiz, scale, etc., Mentimeter includes options for 2×2 grid response, word cloud generator from student responses, etc.–limited free version, but easy to work around limitations
  • GoFormative has all the usual response features, AND it has a “draw” option for responses!
  • Gimkit is a relatively new tool. Students answer at their own pace AND get multiple exposures to the questions to help build mastery. They earn “money” that can be used to purchase upgrades. And of course, teachers can always check in on student use, how often specific questions are answered correctly over time, “money” students have earned, etc.

Digital storytelling:

  • Adobe Spark–now FREE for teachers and students
  • Storybird –amazing tool: students start with art that is in the website, and use the art to inspire their stories (instead of writing the story and then adding the art)
  • Use free screencapture software (e.g. Screencastify works on Chrome browser and Screencast-o-matic works on Chrome and also on Mac and Windows) over almost anything they create online: slides, prezi, a storybird, etc., to make a “movie” of it.
  • Google Tour builder  And you can add screencapture for audio narration to make it even more powerful)

Augmented and Virtual reality:

  • Google Expeditions, with or without VR goggles.
  • Figment –if teachers can get 360-degree photos from places where target language is spoken (they can search google street view for what they want and download it) and load them into the app, the can literally walk through a virtual portal in their rooms and then “be” in that place. Then they or the students can explore/talk about what they see, etc. I recommend using this with ONE phone/tablet that is projected/air played to a screen. This is an app, not a web-based tool.
  • HP Reveal (formally Aurasma): combine it with something like Chatterpix app and your students can make a trigger object of their choice talk or sing (with their own voices) when someone uses the app to view the object. This is also an app.
And of course, Catherine Ousselin has an incredibly rich bank of resources.
What are your favorite tools, especially ones you think maybe more people should know about?
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