I’m back on the east coast today after presenting at this year’s OELAS Conference and sharing lots of strategies and favorites with educators in Tucson, Arizona. One of the presentations I gave this week was titled “10 Tech Tools for Secondary ELA Classrooms.” It included a handful of my favorite secondary English apps and websites for ELA teachers. If you couldn’t join me this week in Arizona, I put together this list to spotlight a few of the favorites I highlighted during my sessions.
Websites for ELA Teachers
Google Arts & Culture
The first website on this list also has a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. Earlier this month I featured some of my top picks for using street views in your classroom (there’s actually over 3,000 of them to choose from) and this is only one part of the Google Cultural Institute’s powerful website. The search feature can help you find the perfect resources to help bring your learning goals to life for students.
On the Google Arts & Culture homepage you’ll find a wide range of media to bring into your classroom. This website has a daily digest that includes a handful of curated resources to jump into each day. It includes free access to videos on topics related to different cultures as well as featured themes with large collections of images, artifacts, videos and more.
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This digital mind mapping tool has been a favorite for a long time and it was lots of fun sharing it with educators in Arizona this week. What I love about Popplet is how you can jump in right away on their website. The free version lets you make (but not save) your mind map both on iPads, Android tablets, and on the web making it perfect for Chromebook classrooms too.
In the English Language Arts classroom, you might use this tool to help students brainstorm before writing. They can add words, phrases and sentences to the screen as well as images, links, videos, and sketches. Popplet allows students to choose how they will connect different ideas to one another and even how to color code their thinking.
If you’ve visited my site before you know I’m a big fan of this powerful movie-making tool. You might even have snagged some of the free graphic organizers I created to help you and your students get started with Spark Video. Students can combine images, icons, music and narration to create a beautiful movie using this free website and iPad app making it a fantastic choice for a list on Secondary English Apps and Websites.
Spark Video is great for classrooms where students are creating a shareable product. If your students are making public service announcements to go along with a persuasive essay or designing book trailers after finishing a novel, Spark Video is the perfect choice. Students can even create their own musical score for a Spark Video using a tool like Soundtrap or Garageband (learn more in this post).
NYT VR – Daily 360
I’ve shared lots of reasons why I believe virtual reality has the potential to transform teaching and learning. My free ebook on virtual reality has a few favorite tips and this post from Edutopia shares more about this topic too. What’s extra special about the New York Times virtual reality resources is how their content connects to real world issues and events while also helping students dive deeper into traditional topics.
Students can view the 360 video content created by the New York Times on a mobile app with the super low-cost Google Cardboard or on their special virtual reality website accessed with a computer. This means you can show off these videos on a Chromebook connected to a projector in your classroom even if your students don’t have their own virtual reality headset. I’m going to spotlight more of their content in the upcoming weeks so keep your eyes out for updates in my next newsletter.
Two more to add to this list of Secondary English Apps and Websites are Nearpod and Book Creator. They’re perfect for secondary English Language Arts classrooms and worth checking out too! Do you have a favorite English app for middle and high school? Share it in the comments below.
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15 Tech Tools for the Reading Classroom
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Best, Dr. Monica Burns - Founder of ClassTechTips.com
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