The Top 10 List of Online Apps for Distance Teaching
Making the Call
On March 3 2020, I made a call: “Mom, don’t get on the plane. Cases are really starting to spread and you are headed to a hotspot. I think you should stay home.”
“It’s too late ,” she said. “. I’m buckling my seat belt as we speak. I have to shut down my phone. I’ll be careful and wash my hands.” Four weeks later, she was hospitalized with COVID-19.
On March 12, as I packed up to go home for the day, I glanced at the stack of ungraded papers on my desk and my laptop charger. It was a Thursday, but speculation was in the air. Talk of shutting down schools was rampant. I made a call… I grabbed that stack of ungraded papers and charger and stuffed them into my bag. I also threw in my leftover snack (which I had planned to save for tomorrow) and my classroom plant. That night, the governor shut down schools. I had called it.
Like most teachers, for the next several months, I lived on social media, my group text chain and local news to see what the future held. As a history teacher, I turned to the past to see how we handled the last pandemic. The influenza of 1917 lasted two years. Not unlike today’s world of masks, restricted travel and quarantine, the World War I generation had a societal shift that relied on quarantines, social distancing and shutting down schools. The obvious difference, of course, is today we have the technology to keep our kids “in school.”
As spring turned to summer and the anti-climatic last day of school came and went, I made another call: School won’t open this fall without a vaccine- at least not in the traditional sense. I went ahead and started my data collection of online teaching best practices. I used my own social media outlets to compile a list of the best apps and strategies for us to hit the ground running this fall. The suggestions do not only enhance the distance learning experience for our students, but can be brought into the classroom, sans pandemic.
Top 10 Apps Recommended BY Teachers FOR Teachers
Nothing. Nothing will replace the in-person dynamic of a student-teacher relationship and the power of face-to face learning, but the following online apps have been recommended by some of the best in the field to supplement and enrich our experience until we get that vaccine and back to a new normal.
|Rank||What teachers say…||Create an Account||Get Started (YouTube Tutorial)|
|10||“I used Padlet for group discussions and brainstorming. It’s like a customized and interactive bulletin board. It’s so easy and the kids seem to really like it.”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC69Sr-OQik|
|9||“Quizziz was the ideal tool for formative assessments. I loved that I could make my own or quickly use the ones that are stored there.”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz0fB4u9uF8|
|8||“I taught myself how to edit a YouTube video and put my own commentary on there using WeVideo. The learning curve was big for me, but it was another great tool to flip the classroom teaching. You can also screencast for flipped lessons.”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LDvOhp2Ej8|
|7||“The Pear Deck app was a great way to make my Google Slides presentations interactive.”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG6qDUheKOU|
|6||“Using Parlay for my discussion boards was. They have pre-made discussion boards with scaffolded questions on ALL subject matter.”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M25FRUWP4UU|
|5||“Jamboard is Google’s interactive whiteboard app. People can collaborate on the board as well. When finished, I can export it as an image or PDF.||
(Located on your google drive!)
|4||“I was able to find and use several hip-hop Flocabulary Videos to introduce new concepts. The music videos are catchy and just corny enough to be memorable…Which is what I want!” (Flocabulary had videos for ALL subjects!)||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJeHZa9ONiY|
|3||“FlipGrid is the best way for students to connect and share in a short 90 second video clip. It also integrates easily into my website and LMS. I use Canvas and it gives an embed code that pops right in there!”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLzX13jw7bw|
|2||“To “flip” my lessons and record myself teaching with my screen, I use Screencasitfy. Screencastify is an extension I can put on my Google Chrome browser that allows me to record my webcam browser, desktop or a specific application window. I can narrate while recording too. I embed the video into my LMS. Careful- the free version only allows 5 minutes of recording.” *Must use Google Chrome as your internet browser.||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzLEAg_kYY|
|1||“I liked using PollEverywhere because student answers were anonymous. I would use it to take a poll or as questions designed to review content. It’s ideal for formative assessment!”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=469WNkd_BqY|
|Honorable Mention||“Wakelet has been such a great way to quickly save and organize online resources like articles, websites, games, etc. I can share this list with my students and colleagues.
Check out The Teacher’s Academy Wakelet for more resources on Distance Learning.
While in the process of writing this blog, I just received word that I’ll be teaching both hybrid and online classes. It’s officially time to dive into these tutorials and start wrapping my head around teaching with these apps. We have only a few weeks left to move mountains. I called my mom to check in on her recovery and to let her know the district has made their decision. She said, “Like all tough moments, we have a choice to be proactive or reactive. You make the call.”
Check out more Distance Teaching resources in our new course: Distance Teaching.
Image Courtesy of: History Link
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