2022 - wow, what a year, both for the world and myself. We went through lockdowns several times in Hong Kong. Finally, restrictions were lifted by the end of 2022.
Being a mom for the very first (or second) year, traveling with family, and going back to work meanwhile being parents! A lot of ups and downs happened this year but lucky me - still doing my favorite job and supporting teachers and learning.
Same as last year, I shared my personal favorite EdTech tools in February 2022. After 365 days, 12 months, and 1 year, some tools stay strong still, while some are gone already. During all collaborations and coaching journies with my co-workers in 2022, I tend to go back to the very basics of teaching and learning - how to make it happen more efficiently and enjoyable.
All of the tools I share below have been there for a while but this year I really found the beauty of them and how students and teachers really enhance their experiences with the support of those tools.
I love accessible educational resources - Understanding that equity and equality of education are so important globally. Most of the tools are free or with a free trial for educators and students to use.
Please notice that all of the suggestions are based on my personal opinions - no affiliation with any of them.
The first time I know Notion is from one English teacher asking me if I could investigate this because some of the students in her class were using it. So I took a look and I was like WOW! This is so handy - to be very honest, nothing really fancy but you can easily organize your notes and work, even make it like a legit website (Yes, you can publish your notes and collaborate with others).
So many potentials - Students' personal websites, project showcases, homework resources, reading lists, or even team meeting notes.
One more reason for me to suggest is that it's FREE for individual students and educators. I really like it: the design is neat and the layout is intuitive - easy to use!
Who would say NO to Flip? I used Flip (back then it was called FlipGrid) a long time ago - it was great but nothing really impressed me (sorry Flip!) While I was working on my Hour of Code activities, I picked up Flip again - this time Flip you've done well!!
A lot of cool effects were added - even very easy for teachers to create tutorials! Again, I used it as exit tickets and reflection tools for some of my tech integration classes - students were into it. It has many filters, and stickers, and even allows students to add text, spilt the screen, or add more effects. If I had to describe it in a more precise way, Flip is a sassy educational video tool now.
One more thing - it's totally FREE - so why not?!
If you ever followed my website or Twitter, you might get a sense that I initiated the Virtual Reality implementation in my school. We use Oculus Quest 2 - there are indeed a lot of applications but not everyone can be used for educational purposes.
I have used WITHIN for a few years - they offer high-quality VR videos and the content matches perfectly with a lot of subjects. I have used it for social studies, history, language learning and even wellness lessons.
Unfortunately, I just found out that the team shut down the platform and shift the focus to the App Super Natural. The team is very kind to offer the content on YouTube instead - so you can still watch the VR documentaries.
Here's the playlist - https://www.youtube.com/c/WithinVR
I understand that technically WITHIN is not a tech tool anymore but as a great educational resource, it's hard for me to pass it here.
Yes, I know... Come on! Nearpod? The first time I used it was when I was still in school, we used it for presentations and got everyone involved. After so many years as a tech-related educator, I'm always skeptical about it - is it really good? How?
I started to teach Science of Wellbeing with Y9 students this year. I'm not going to lie - it was hard: A lot of sensitive topics are covered in this class and connections between me and students are not strong enough to talk about the vulnerable topics. (I'm not their regular teacher) As a result - class engagement was very low.
So I started to use Nearpod in my classes (my school has Nearpod subscriptions for teachers). The first time I used it - the class vibe totally changed - yes, students were still too shy to talk but they participated!
Instead of speaking loudly in front of the whole class, they discussed on Nearpod, shared their thoughts, and even fun sketches.
Nearpod has so many different, and engaging activities - it allows teachers to use different types of tasks to get students on task - keep them on track as well as have fun finishing assignments.
That's how the 14-year-old described the low mood on Nearpod- it was funny and we all enjoyed it a lot.
I knew Sentence Stack because of an email in my inbox - the team who made it reached out to me because it's a free tool and they want some people who are in the EdTech industry to help promote it.
Just being very honest, I brought it to our English department but nobody was really amazed.
Having a slightly different opinion, as a non-native English speaker, I found it very useful. A lot of times I have been confused about how to use the words or sentences in an appropriate way - Sentence Stack could be a great place for me to find examples and get some ideas on it.
As you all know, Sentence Stack is FREE. It's not the best tool but it can be helpful for students and others who need extra support in English writing and speaking.
I went back to the simplest but most efficient EdTech tools for this year's selection.
Hope those tools could give you inspiration and make your teaching and learning more fun!