Teacher Tech Tools

tech tools

Rutz, KevinTechnology plays a big role in the 21st-century classroom. From iPads and Chromebooks to Bluetooth scientific probes and 3D printers, more and more teachers across disciplines, from STEM to civics, are relying on new instructional devices and software. WW NJ Teaching Fellow Kevin Rutz tries to be strategic with technology in his Orange, NJ, classroom.

“Students have the blessing and curse of instant communication, sensory overloading entertainment, and access to an ‘answer machine’ in their pockets. Schools want to capitalize on these tools, but I find a big downfall in implementing technology in the classroom is that teachers will artificially introduce new tools that detracts from the lesson rather than help it. The mission as educators is to find useful technology that supports our lessons.”

Below, Mr. Rutz shares some of the resources he has had success with.

Note: While the Woodrow Wilson Foundation is happy to share Mr. Rutz’s suggestions and hopes they will prove useful, this posting of his suggestions does not constitute an endorsement of any product or service he mentions, nor does any omission from this list represent a judgment on the Foundation’s part. All recommendations and opinions implied by this list are Mr. Rutz’s.


Product Type of Tool Function How to get it
Snipping Tool Software Easily take pictures of a portion of your screen Comes on Windows
ZoomIt Software Allows you to zoom in, draw over your screen, and start a countdown. Great for guiding a class to a specific section of the screen https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/zoomit
Screencast-o-matic Applet OR software Lets you take a video of your screen or webcam feed. GREAT for making tutorials for students to follow http://screencast-o-matic.com/account
Symbaloo Website This can be set as your homepage, and it is a visual bookmarking system for your websites. www.symbaloo.com
Google Classroom LMS Organizes your classes classroom.google.com
Peardeck Applet Enables you to make interactive presentations. Links to google accounts to collect student login information for when they are using the application. You can upload powerpoints and pause it to ask a question to the class. Questions can be written, drawn, answered with multiple choice, and a variety of other options. This also broadcasts the presentation to every student’s screen. https://www.peardeck.com/
Padlet Applet Creates a shared space for you and your class to post notes. GREAT for test reviews and anonymous questions from students padlet.com
Poll Everywhere Applet An easy to use service that allows you to create polls for your classes. Can be used with cell phones or online. GREAT for test or quiz reviews, and really fun for everyone when you use alongside Jeopardy music! https://www.polleverywhere.com/login
Eco Modeler Applet Set up a word/mind map without logging into anything. Great for planning out websites or programs. http://ecomodeler.org/


Other Great Resources
Subject Name Description Link
Math Desmos Graphing Calculator Online interactive graphing calculator. Has games where you need to develop a function that would draw a line for marbles to roll on (and hit several targets). Some people can draw images with equations! It can be linked to google, and allows for you to manage your students. https://www.desmos.com/calculator
Science Phet Colection of interactive simulations of scientific principles. Great for those pesky abstract concepts like mechanical efficiency and electricity! https://phet.colorado.edu/
STEM Engineering is Elementary Collection of engineering units for up to 5th grade. Sells kits for projects, but also provides units for free www.eie.org


Google Apps Worth Using
Classroom classroom.google.com Facilitate your instruction by listing assignments, resources, and questions on a single page. Can also provide a document from your drive, automatically make a version for every student, and have students submit work online.
Sites sites.google.com Easily create your own website – great for first timers
Drive drive.google.com store files online! Automatically links to classroom
Forms form.google.com Polling application that can be used to create quizzes and tests online. Use the Add-on, “Flubaroo” to make a self-graded assessment for your classes.
Sheets sheets.google.com Free online spreadsheet software – can be shared and used simultaneously
Docs docs.google.com Free online word processor that allows for you to share with others. Allows simultaneous collaboration on one document


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