tambakothejaguarSpring is a time for renewal. Plants pushing through the ground and beautiful buds remind us of the miracles of nature. Students and teachers return to school relaxed and ready to tackle the last few months of school.

I challenge myself to learn one new approach, a new tool or one new program during these last few months of school. The programs that were engaging, exciting and fresh at the start of the school year are getting a bit stale. A fresh springtime air of learning is what I need to brighten the cobwebs of my lessons and my mind. If I need it, I know my students welcome it as well.

Here are five new (to me) or new approaches to a familiar tool that I plan to use this spring. I hope it encourages you to sprout some new ideas, too.

5 Simple, Fresh Tools For Edtech

1. Mural.ly

The description to this program is “Google Docs for visual people. The easiest way for creative teams to think, imagine and discuss their ideas.” The concept seems similar to Glogster but with a collaborative, easy access to any saved GoogleDrive data. This could make for an interesting group work, project-based learning, a novel study, or a mock presentation.

2. Google Presentations

This is probably old to most of you, but I have not used this tool nearly enough–or at all–so I am challenging myself to learn more about the potential within this program.

3. QR Codes in Scavenger Hunts

QR codes are not new. I have recently read a few articles that said QR codes are passe’ and I tend to disagree. I have used QR codes numerous times but not in scavenger hunts. A favorite resource, Cybraryman, Jerry Blumengarten has an excellent source of QR code information and scavenger hunts. There is much more possible than a simple scan and visit a website.

This QR code generator can create simple text, emails or even contact information. These applications are perfect for back to school nights. Creating and using the QR codes in these ways now will ensure a comfort level for next fall.

4. Mightybell

Even though Mightybell has educational possibilities it is not created (for now?) as a student space. The possibilities for learning, creating, collaborating and connecting are obvious. It could be perfect for a summer book reading club for you and your friends or colleagues.

5. Tynker

According to the website: “Tynker is a new company focused on helping children develop computational thinking and programming skills. After successfully piloting Tynker with young learners in over 20 elementary and middle schools, the company’s programming skills platform is now available to teachers and schools across the United States and Canada. Teachers can set up a programming skills classroom to immediately try out this highly interactive computational learning platform for free.” It is inspired by Scratch but cloud based.

I can’t wait to dig around and play with it–I mean, I can’t wait to share it with my students. 

Image attribution flickr user tambakothejaguar