I interviewed my sister, a middle school teacher, and her principal to discover great tech tools that schools are using to engage their students — ones that translate to the rest of us.
First, watch the video here. And then come back here for the details.
Pear Deck for Google Slides
Activity Tool for Google Slides
Free basic version with individual pricing as well as school-wide levels
Pear Deck adds engagement activities to your Google Slide deck. While it is definitely geared to teachers (I had to lie and say I was associated with a local school to sign up). it’s easy to see how cool this would be when you’re giving an online presentation.
You just drag and drop the modules into your slide deck. You can also make flashcards and create other interactive activities.
Gimkit, Kahoot and Quizziz
Interactive quizzes with competitions
gimkit.com • kahoot.com • quizziz.com
Free and paid versions for all three
My sister loves these three tools to engage students. Not only can she reinforce learning immediately with content quizzes, she also gets the students excited about games and competitions.
Sarah loved Kahoot the best a couple-three years ago, until she discovered Quizziz. She describes Kahoot as a “bar trivia” game where kids compete at the same time to answer fastest and bestest. But that approach rewards players who click the fastest, and when I’ve used it in sessions, some participants were frustrated because fast-clickers pulled out way ahead immediately.
That’s why she switched to Quizziz… the games are executed at the participants’ own pace. A student actually turned her on to Gimkit, which is handy because unlike Kahoot, the participants can see the question and answers rather than Sarah having to read everything out.
Scavenger hunt app
Free for “recreational use,” or corporate and educational pricing
Sarah’s tech-savvy vice principal, Kevin Marlatt, loves GooseChase, a tool that helps you create a scavenger hunt for teams and individuals.
He has used it as a team builder at the school as well as several student activities. I’ve always hesitated to try it out because of the clear differentiation between “recreational use” and corporate applications. But if you’re on a team meeting and can use Zoom’s breakout room feature, you can break your office into three groups to get them to search for digital scavenger hunt items.
Escape room activities online and in person
Kevin loves using BreakoutEDU for team building, and he sees applications for engagement in the professional world as well. If the team is physically together, you can order a physical kit to share. But if you’re working remotely, it can all be online.
They also have BreakoutHome for house-bound families. You get a kit for 2-8 players for an evening of fun that doesn’t involve the TV remote.
Donut for Slack
Fun engagement tool for Slack platform
When a tech tool’s website is donut.com, you know it has to be fantastic. Donut is actually an add-on for the Slack collaboration platform. It lets you connect with colleagues by sending remote coffees, donuts and smiles.
Kevin is a little sad that his school won’t let them use Slack because he’d love to use Donut to engage new hires and keep them connected and in the know.