Flexible Content and Tools Whether you're just getting started with this aspect of the Core 4 or are looking for a new challenge, here is a list of digital tools to incorporate on your personalized learning journey. Each tool has a link and a description; some also have an accompanying video tutorial to help you get started. The library media specialist can provide one-on-one training on any of these digital tools and is a great resource if you're looking for lesson or unit plan ideas, or to collaborate!
ClassHook is a free website that curates two- to six-minute video clips from popular TV shows and movies along with accompanying mini-lessons. Teachers can search for clips by length, grade level, subject area, and series. While content still needs to be examined for appropriateness, ClassHook is a great way to incorporate video content in a manner that encourages active, critical media consumption while engaging students through well-known media. Teachers can introduce, reinforce, and supplement lessons with clips from shows and movies like Mythbusters, The Big Bang Theory, Matilda, and more, or encourage students to make their own videos after viewing several on a specific topic.
For a brief video tutorial on how to use ClassHook, check out the following link: youtu.be/9UAXobr2y0o
GoNoodle is a free website offering games, videos, and activities designed to get your students moving. Classes can choose a team mascot that they can level up by completing a variety of physical challenges. Great for transitions between your personalized learning stations or as a reward! On the paid version of GoNoodle, GoNoodle Plus, teachers can also create interactive and competitive games aligned with the CCSS.
With Kahoot, teachers can pick from millions of game-like quizzes or create their own for students to play. Questions are projected on the Smartboard while students use any Internet-enabled device to answer individually or in teams. Rankings are shown after each question, and the competitiveness makes for a lively lesson. Great to use for pre- or formative-assessments, checks for understanding, exit tickets, and review!
Quizizz is both web-based and an app; teachers can select or create multiple-choice quizzes that students can answer at their own pace as individuals or in teams while competing with their peers. When they're finished they can check their own answers, or many educators say that their early finishers often try to take the quiz again to beat their previous score! Quizizz also organizes and stores game data in a clear, accessible manner. It's a solid tool for in-class quizzes and can be used to give homework with a deadline time as well as for student-driven reflection and self-assessment.
Sugarcane is a website where educators can create a variety of simple but engaging games by entering one set of data - for instance, you can enter images, texts, and symbols of the American Revolution and Sugarcane will create several different games for you. These can include matching, listing or spelling or more advanced games involving timelines or "what doesn't belong". It is best suited for review and would also be a good tool for middle school students to create their own games as a form of study.
Wizer.me is a free website where teachers can create interactive worksheets that their students can complete online, including elements such as images, videos, and voice recordings. Wizer makes it easy to differentiate and scaffold worksheets and provides a variety of data for educators, including how long a student spent completing an assignment. There are a variety of options for different learning styles, and teachers can share and modify worksheets from the Wizer community.
For a brief video tutorial on how to use Wizer.me, check out the following link: youtu.be/PjjC9OsRTuA
Canva is a graphic-design website where users can simply and easily create eye-catching, professional-looking posters, infographics, social media banners, and more. Its brief, one-minute tutorial makes it painless to learn; it's an excellent tool for both teachers and students. Canva can be integrated into a variety of units and projects and is a great addition to a personalized learning menu of end products and presentations for students.
Code.org is a free website offering five computer science courses at all levels, covering coding and topics such as how the Internet works, big data, digital citizenship, and more. It has a complete curriculum with detailed lessons, videos, handouts, tutorials, and offline or "unplugged" activities. Learning is personalized - students can work at their own pace and at their own level. Learners love working with Code.org, especially since they can code their own games with beloved characters from Disney, Minecraft, Star Wars, Angry Birds, and more. The website also has a strong professional development component, making it a friendly tool even for those educators who have never taught or studied coding before.
"Use video the way your students use video." FlipGrid is a free website where teachers create a discussion board on which students can respond to questions with short videos to create a "grid" of responses. It is an excellent way to foster discussion and collaboration; use it as a formative assessment, homework assignment, end-of-unit reflection, and more. Search through FlipGrid to get some great ideas for how to use it with your students - there are also a ton of teacher tools available to help you better use and understand the potential of this great website.
Homes is an app for grades K-3 which gives interactive tours of houses around the world and illustrates how different cultures live, sleep, eat and play. With subtle details, interactive elements, and a variety of language options, it's perfect for a personalized learning unit on homes or other cultures in which students create and research their own questions about these topics.
Newsela is a phenomenal, award-winning website and app with current, high-interest articles aligned with the Common Core and available in five Lexile levels from roughly 3rd to 12th grade, updated daily and available in both English and Spanish. Articles include quizzes and vocabulary words in addition to annotation tools for students; they are excellent for personalized learning, targeted intervention and differentiation - for instance, in a middle school class, you can use Newsela's leveled pro/con articles to engage students in debate even in a mixed-ability group.
A website and an app, Adobe Spark is a great tool for middle schoolers to create three project types: Post for social graphics, Page for web stories, and Video for animated videos. Plenty of templates for each project type are available, and the intuitive platform is great to personalize students' products. Adobe Spark is an excellent way to engage learners in making creative, critical, and strategic choices in how best to communicate their information; a media creation tool such as this is extremely relevant to both their current and future professional lives.
Listenwise provides CCSS-aligned ELA, history, and science lessons revolving around curated public radio stories. Each lesson contains a listening guide, discussion guide, vocabulary, video analysis, and individual writing and extension pieces. Each story has an accompanying transcript; many have ELL supports and students can also choose to listen at a slower or faster pace. A great experiential learning piece to supplement lessons or units, these diverse and engaging topics can help bring current events to life for your students.
StoryCorps, one of the largest oral history projects, offers more than 50,000 interviews on a diverse range of topics. These powerful stories can be used to support the CCSS Speaking and Listening standards, engage in community building, and supplement history and ELA lessons and units. StoryCorps offers a variety of ways to search through its offerings, and students can also record their own stories and interviews through the site.
Sway is an Office website and app for digital storytelling. Students can create beautiful presentations with Sway, digital storybooks, digital portfolios, and more. With a variety of designs, templates, and themes, it can be a powerful part of personalized learning in any content area. This is a great tool for all students, including ELLs.