“Creativity doesn’t have to take a lot of time,” says Jennifer Womble, conference chair for the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). “There’s a lot of efficiency in these tools so that teachers can be creative, they can look professional, they can have dynamic lessons and assess in new ways.”
And that’s the point. Time and time again in previous interviews with District Administration, K12 technology leaders have reiterated that education technology should support and enhance student learning without becoming the end-all-be-all for classroom instruction.
In this webinar, Womble is joined by Jeni Long and Sallee Clark, who are both authors, consultants and Innovation Leaders in Castleberry ISD, where they share some of the best edtech tools that empower both students and teachers in achieving equitable learning. Broken into three main categories, Long and Clark highlight their favorite solutions that educators and administrators can bring to their classrooms today to kickstart a successful 2023-24.
Cultivating relationships with students is one of the best ways to help them feel a sense of belonging in their school, which is a primary driver of learning and engagement. According to Long and Clark, there are two tools in particular that can help educators achieve this goal: Canva and Adobe Express, both of which are free to use.
Using Canva to introduce yourself to students and parents
Using Adobe to create custom videos and animations
“It is the coolest video platform I have seen,” says Clark. “There are tons of different characters you can choose from, and it will let you record your voice and it will animate the character. And all of them have different animations depending on the character.”
AI in education
Artificial intelligence has become one of the most impactful tools in education in recent months. Districts are finally warming up to the technology, so it’s important that both educators and administrators understand what’s available to them. Long and Clark recommend two platforms in particular: Curipod and Canva Magic Design.
Teachers in Castleberry ISD are already receiving professional development on how to use Curipod, which Clark believes will be instrumental in supporting both educators and administration in better understanding artificial intelligence and its potential in education.
“One of the reasons we selected it is because it really does magnify our human intelligence and helps us use AI to grow and get smarter,” says Clark. “It also, as teachers, makes us more efficient, gives us ideas and helps us push out content to our students in a very interactive way.”
Curipod is a lesson generator so that you can create an interactive slide for students to join in on their devices. Within seconds, teachers can create slides based on whatever it is they’re learning that day and students can interact and engage with the content.
As for Canva Magic Design, this tool acts in a similar manner where users can simply enter a topic and/or prompt and it will immediately generate a presentation.
Classroom management and organization
Efficiency and streamlining workloads have become more and more important among educators as their jobs become increasingly complex. Thankfully, Long and Clark recommend four edtech tools that have been proven to help teachers save time and keep students on track throughout the school year. Here’s a brief summary of each tool:
Genially: Teachers can create interactive presentations, infographics and multimedia e-learning materials. For instance, Long and Clark uploaded an image of a classroom with interactive buttons located at prominent locations throughout the room. If students were to interact with the icon located in the back of the room, they’re met with a message that says, “Please hang your backpacks here every day.”
Toby: This browser extension serves as a digital bookmarking system where users can organize links to their favorite websites and more efficiently share them with their students. For instance, a teacher can simply share their collection and students can seamlessly navigate their already-saved bookmarks with little-to-no headache.
Teachers can also create different collections for different classes if they need variety.
Canva Class Kits/Back-to-School Resources: Teachers can find hundreds of already-made classroom templates and designs that they can print out and place throughout their classrooms to brighten students’ moods as soon as they enter. Canva has also put together some back-to-school resources that include templates and other resources for utilizing Canva in the classroom.
Iorad: This tool allows you to create interactive tutorials, which you may find helpful as you prepare your back-to-school guides and resources for your students and their families. The software follows the interactions you make on your device, records them and immediately creates a tutorial video. See below: