Web Wonders: Nov. 2016


Web Wonders

Trying Something Different

 By Mary Eileen Rufkah

No argument, a teacher’s day is busy from sun-up to sundown (and more than likely outside of those hours as well), and it’s easy to rely on the tried and true, the tools that work well for you and your students.  But every once in a while, it’s a good mental exercise to branch out, to take that risk, to look at something you may not have noticed before.  Included below are some relatively new education-oriented web sites that teachers may find useful.

Figment is an online community and self-publishing platform for young writers.  Figment’s target audience is teen readers and writers.  Educators can tap into exclusive author programming, writing prompts, and private group functionality, where teachers can create a virtual writers’ workshop for the classroom.

Figment currently has over 300,000 registered users and over 440,000 ‘books’, or pieces of writing.  Figment also offers writing contests to help budding young writers hone their skills. Many of the contests focus on themes and issues presented in popular and upcoming young adult books.  Figment can be found at:  https://figment.com/.

Tackk is a free, simple way to create and collaborate in the classroom. Teachers can use Tackk for assignments, presentations, blogs, discussions and more. Tackk is easy to embed, email and share on various social media networks.  Geared for grades six on up, Tackk allows you to create, publish and send quickly and hassle-free.

Tackk users can incorporate photos, videos, buttons, maps, media, and other digital resources into their work.  Teachers can post their successful lesson plans on Tackk and browse units from other educators as well.

Ideas for utilizing Tackk in the classroom include:  lesson planning, persuasive writing projects, parent communication, peer critiques, Skype classroom collaboration, student ePortfolios and book reports.

Check Tackk out at:  https://tackk.com/.

Pear Deck is an interactive presentation tool used to actively engage students in individual and social learning. Teachers create presentations using their Google Drive account. Students log into the presentation with unique access codes and interact with questions while teachers monitor individual student progress and whole-class progress.

Teachers can use Pear Deck to create interactive presentations that allow students to work independently to respond to various questions throughout the ‘deck’.  During each session, teachers can see the presentation as well as the students participating. Student responses appear on the teacher screen in real-time.  Teachers can have their students demonstrate their understanding through drawing, multiple choice answers, essay or whatever meets a student’s individual needs.

Pear Deck supports inquiry based learning, rather than relying on teacher recited facts.  All learners are engaged, not just those raising their hands.  Since the teacher is constantly receiving real-time results from student responses, it is easy to evaluate a lesson’s success on the spot, move on, or re-teach the concept. Look for Pear Deck at:  https://www.peardeck.com/.



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