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The world of education is always changing, and these days it’s changing faster than ever. It feels as though every week brings a new tool, practice, or learning model that teachers need to incorporate into their classroom. This is particularly true when it comes to technology. The past year alone has seen an avalanche of new tech that all aims to be the next big thing in classroom learning.

As an educator, I know firsthand how overwhelming this can be, but I’ve also witnessed the opportunities such change can provide.                

With constantly evolving technology, educators have access to an ever-expanding array of digital tools and apps designed to create engaging learning experiences. While it can be tough to know where to begin, I’ve found these five digital tools to have practical applications that transform classrooms into environments that are interactive, inclusive, and full of innovation.

  • Teachable Machine: The Teachable Machine is a tool that’s been around since 2017, but some educators might have missed it. This tool lets users train models that will recognize images, sounds, or poses, allowing them to integrate AI learning into various subjects. This fosters an understanding of artificial intelligence in a way that’s stress-free and easy to understand. Teachable Machine is free to use and super accessible, making it a great resource for helping students discover what a learning machine is and how they work.    
  • Schoolai.com: Schoolai.com offers AI-driven tools designed to enhance the learning and teaching experience by providing customized learning paths and real-time feedback for students. It’s a safe, monitored environment where students can interact with AI, and like Teachable Machine, it is currently free to use. It also comes with a useful AI tool called “Sidekick,” which won’t do the work for students but will instead guide them through their inquiry.
  • Padlet: Padlet is a pretty well-known tool that’s great for brainstorming, organizing information, and displaying student work. Its versatile digital canvas allows teachers and students to create and collaborate on boards. I’ve been a huge fan of Padlet from the get-go, and it’s recently added several new features that educators can explore. Though it does have a cost – between $6.99 and $9.99 a month – it’s definitely a tool worth investing in.
  • Gimkit: Gimkit is a game-based learning platform where teachers can create learning games or quizzes that students play in real-time. Designed to increase student engagement, Gimkit integrates features like power-ups and in-game currency that can be used to enhance the learning experience or review material. Gimkit is engaging and a fun way to tackle assessment. Whether you’re looking to better understand your students’ prior knowledge or check for understanding at the end of a unit, this is one tool to keep in mind!
  • Adobe Character Animator: Adobe Character Animator is a really fun tool for upping your students’ presentation skills. It’s particularly valuable when creating animated stories and interactive lessons, which enable students to explore creative storytelling and digital design. There are several different versions of this tool, some free and some not, so its utility will largely depend on how frequently you’ll use it and what you hope to achieve. Either way, lessons are a lot more fun when animated characters get involved!     

While it may be difficult to stay up to date on the latest digital tools and technology, embracing these advancements can transform our classrooms in dynamic and colorful ways. From AI to animation, there’s a wealth of resources that can enrich student learning in ways we’ve never imagined. So, let’s take the plunge and turn our classrooms into hubs of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking!

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