These are my notes from Mike Agostinelli and Jason Neiffer‘s breakout session, “30 in 60: 30 Tools for Tech-Savvy Teachers,” on August 6, 2012, at the Blackfoot Educational Technology Conference in Missoula, Montana. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. All referenced links/websites from this session are on An audio podcast version of this session is available on Fuel for Educational Change Agents.

Mike Agostinelli
Helena Public Schools
Twitter: @mikegusto

Jason Neiffer
Montana Digital Academy
Twitter: @techsavvyteach

Our goals is for you to leave with 3 or 4 tools you want to learn more about

Tool #1: Edmodo
– has become very popular
– learning management system you can use to organize your classroom around
– adds a bit more learning pedagogy
– Moodle is another one, but it’s more intimidating for many users
– Edmodo is very streamlined and easy, mimics Facebook in many ways
– safe
– you can make it public or private
– can share files, do basic assessments
– also is an app for iOS

Tool #2: Wiggio
– great if you want to setup a group to share information
– could be your classroom as an elementary teacher
– as a student council sponsor, I use a Wiggio site
– can do virtual meetings too
– can do polls, to-do lists
– great tool for organizing kids for events
– iOS app is available but functionality is limited

Tool #3: Simple Booklet
– creation element is becoming bigger in edtech
– intended more for business community, is example of simple to create media pieces
– whenever you can create a media objects that students can send to the world
– there are some banner ads on the site
– example on Tennessee Valley Authority, like a presentation but makes it as a booklet

Tool #4: Mailcatch
Disposable temporary email address
– after you confirm your throwaway email, you have a membership to that account
– example would be a Glogster account
– this site so far hasn’t had shady advertising, that is something to worry about
– remember you can’t get your password back if you use a disposable email account
– you can put a secondary email with your real email in some cases

Tool #5: Boolify
– boolean searching is over a lot of kids’ heads, and even teachers’ heads
– this gives a visual, simple way to teach how to boolean search
– example searches for “bears” (not gay, not chicago, extra phrase grizzly)
– this is a very important skill for students to learn
– the power of our next century is the power to search

Tool #6: BridgeURL
– quickly send people to a series of URLs

Tool #7: WebList
– lets you create a ‘digital locker’ – virtual space where you have a lot of information for students to use
– example including 2 different websites and a document
– could be 1 place to send the kids

Tool #8: Open Educational Resources –
– I believe OER will have dramatic impacts on curriculum development in the United States in the next 10-20 years
– some large nonprofits are creating better-than-textbook quality repositories of digital content with open licensing (OER)
– especially for math and language arts classes
– these resources are re-envisioning what instructional materials could look like for kids
OER Commons is a search engine with vetted OER content pieces
– there are hundreds of organizations publishing materials online

Tool #9: PaperRater
– kind of like TurnItIn but it’s free for individual students
– does some basic checks for quality of writing and content of writing
– this is NOT a replacement for great teachers grading essays
– I know lots of teachers using tools like this as a grammar and typo checker with students
– students today seem to be doing fewer drafts and revisions than they used to
– using PaperRater can be a way of adding a layer of revising
– good tool for those NOT married to the English teaching mafia 🙂

Tool #10: Citation Machine from David Warlick
– can enter ISBN numbers, get MLA or APA citation to copy and paste
– great tool particularly when you are not teaching this content (like you’re a social studies teacher, not an English teacher)
– give your students tools to make the citation process easier and correct

Tool #11: Engrade
– this is a game changer, especially for smaller schools
– grade books need to be online: parents, teachers and administrators need to have ready access to online grade books
– if your district or school hasn’t adopted a school information system, Engrade is available free and is robust (as good as PowerSchool or other commercial grade grade books)
– also provides means for students and parents to login

Tool #12; Teachers Domain
– public media has become aggressively cognizant of how they need to make their content more available to teachers, especially in bite-size chunks

From the about page:

Teachers’ Domain is an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards.
Teachers’ Domain resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Once you register, you can personalize the site using “My Folders” and “My Groups” to save your favorite resources into a folder and share them with your colleagues or students.
Teachers’ Domain strives to strengthen teacher knowledge by providing innovative teaching methods that incorporate technology in the classroom and inspire students to learn.

As teachers we are no longer handing single sources of content
– teachers have become information orchestrators

is an accessible framework
– all copyright cleared
– wonderful tool

Tool #13: Snag Films
– can use media in whole or in parts
– not pressing play and walking away”
– can find great media, licensed for use without cost
– media rules for online classes can be horrific

Tool #14: neoK12
– educational videos, lessons and games for K-12 school kids

Tool #15: AnyMeeting
– there are great commercial tools like BlackBoard Collaborate, WebX, GoToMeeting, etc
– these can be extremely expensive for individual users is like those other tools, can create a room you can send a link address to
– Can have up to 6 videos in at the same time
– online learning tends to have problems in some cases because we use tools that don’t’ show pictures and video, we lose that personal touch that can lead to a loss of presence, also can lead (in some cases) to students acting disrespectfully
– can effortlessly share your desktop instead of your camera when desired

Tool #16: Just Beam It
– sole purpose is to give a link to someone to share a file
– lots of ways to share a file, this is a quick way to share in an impromptu setting
– could work good in a computer lab environment

Tool #17: HippoCampus
– another aggregator of media objects intended for use in an open education context
– difference is HippoCampus makes most of the resources they have
– Monterey Institute for Technology and Education Institute has acquired licenses for lots of high quality video content which they are now redistributing via HippoCampus
– Their course, “Algebra: An Open Course” is the basis of our Algebra I course for Montana Virtual Academy, as a member of NROC you can host your own version

Tool #18: Spotify
– is a revolutionary tool (not anything to do with kids/curriculum)
– Spotify is a very different model than iTunes
– you can rent access to their music for free (with ads)
– I don’t have any music on my iPod now, I run the Spotify app and for $10 per month have access to hundreds of thousands of songs now

Tool #19: TodaysMeet
– great free way to create a chat room
– good lesson and tip to share with students when discussing backchannels: Don’t be

Tool #20: Remind101
– allows you to create a text messaging group you can use in a classroom environment
– I’ve encouraged my online teachers to use this in the fall
– esp important for teachers who have face to face students too
– can setup groups too
– this is ad free also
– short, quick text messages
– you can also subscribe parents to this
– very quick to setup

Tool #21: Zimmer Twins
– digital storytelling: Telling a story through multimedia
– very cute interface, does all the animations for you
– maxes out at 2 minutes

Tool #22: KidBlog
– great solution for blogging in the classroom
– is email free: kids don’t have to have an email address to blog

Tool #23: Entri
– effortless, no accounts required tool for collaborative document editing
– maxed out at 6 simultaneous users
– similar to Google Docs

Tool #24: OneWord
– great for anticipatory set
– gives you 60 seconds to write on that word

Tool #25: WeVideo
– web-based video editing tool
– closest web tool to iMovie
– need robust Internet connection since it’s all cloud-based

Tool #26: Tagul
– javascript-free, unlike many other cloud-based tools like Wordle
– can upload a picture and the word cloud will appear as your picture
– could take a picture of the letter “M” and the word cloud will appear in that shape

Tool #27: Shelfster
– great for research projects, online place to gather materials
– a little like Evernote

Tool #28: Great sites to read
– If I read 4 different websites, including, I would find useful tools every week for the classroom
– next site: Free Technology for Teachers, ‘best of’ area is always great

Often in EdTech we look for kid-friendly sites
– often the most powerful websites available were created for adults to be productive
– look at the most efficient web workers
– often you’ll find great tools that way

Also on screen but not discussed:


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One Response to 30 in 60: 30 Tools for Tech-Savvy Teachers

  1. What a great list! I really wish I had been at the conference. Thanks for posting this!

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