Education Tools

A page for online tools that are going to be useful – or new ways of looking at teaching strategies . . .

Poll everywhere

Now I don’t know what your school’s policy on mobile phones is. Ours seems to be in flux. Anyway, at times I have been able to use Poll Everywhere as a way for pupils to give instant, anonymous feedback. I will set up a poll that asks ‘How do you feel you could have challenged yourself more in today’s lesson?’ and pupils text their answer which then appears magically on the Smartboard. They love it.


Famous inboxes

If all those historical figures had received emails, what would their inboxes have looked like . . .



The spectre of Ofsted demanding ever deeper embedding of AfL has prompted me to seek out online form creators.

Jotform is great. It does have a limit to the number of forms and submissions you can have on it’s free plan, but they are pretty generous. I am using them to create evaluation forms and quick online knowledge tests that I can embed directly into my website. The best thing about the process – other than the ease of form creation – is that all submissions can be viewed and downloaded as a spreadsheet – perfect!



So, just when I discover that has given us the ability to embed boards into our sites, along comes Scrumblr to give it a run for it’s money. Scrumblr’s great plus point is that there’s no registration required, simply name your note board and off you go, sticking notes to it like there’s no tomorrow. It generates a unique url which you can then link to. Marvellous.



In case you haven’t found your own solution to this problem, I’m posting my latest one! PDFescape is still in beta, but is a brilliant free online pdf editor. I am forever finding worksheets in pdf format that need a little tweaking, and this does it all very painlessly.



This is a brilliant tool. It’s a sort of interactive thinking tool which gives you different problem solving methods to choose from, gets you to enter your problem, then helps solve it with a series of direct questions. Forget the kids, this’ll help me get over those brain-freeze moments!!

I feel it’s time to start revising ‘no mobile phone’ policies in the classroom. Not only are text polling apps great for generating instant feedback, but sites like this open up a new world of possibilities that we would be terribly shortsighted to ignore. lets you create what is essentially a webpage – or online document which can contain an image – and then generates a QR code to link to it. How brilliant for setting homework tasks.

Ooooh – lots of uses for this one. allows you to ‘snip’ bits out of webpages – you highlight passages of text and it stores it as a quote, giving it it’s own url. It also links back to the original webpage so that the text can be seen back in context.

Just another online sticky note site perhaps, but gives you the option of adding images and video, of posting photos from an iphone . . . in other words, it’s quite full featured really and looks nice too.



When it comes to using technology to collect brainstorming ideas, or pooling a class’s response to a question, answergarden is the way forward. It’s simple interface gives focus to the task in hand, and it allows you to password the page in order to monitor and edit responses.

Awesome Highlighter

What a useful tool! This little online app allows you to highlight portions of text on a webpage and then gives you a url to the hightlighted page – so easy, so straightforward.


Zunal Webquest maker

I’m very impressed with this one. A webquest, for the uninitiated, is an extended project based around internet research and tools. Zunal Webquest maker organizes this process very neatly. It gives you a ready made format to tinker with and place the nuts and bolts of your webquest into. There aren’t many webtools that I bother paying to upgrade, but with a lot of additional features and an up to 50 (rather than just one) webquest limit, $20 for three years seems reasonable – oh, and for that, you can modify anyone else’s published webquest to suit yourself too!




Online game making without so much as a sniff of coding – marvellous. I’m sure ICT colleagues will like this one, as pupils can collaborate on game creation, using their problem-solving skills, but I really need to find a sneaky way of working these games into my lessons too . . . . wonder how they’d work on a smartboard . . . .




This is one to watch. A new educational quiz creating site with a nice clean interface. Lots of good game templates that I think will work very well on a smartboard – good starter activites. However, a word of warning – it’s a spanish site and you do need to negotiate some of the sign up procedure flipping into spanish!



Studyblue is perfect for the exam season – a good-looking app that makes sets of online flashcards or notes, and lets you test yourself in a variety of ways. It’s simple to set up, keeps track of your learning progress and functions very well on mobiles, enabling you to take your revision out for the day, should you so choose!



Now I know that not every pupil has a smartphone. However, as the technology becomes more prevalent, so I think we should move towards integrating it slowly to maximize any benefit it can have. Hence I’m beginning to use QR codes alongside traditional links to worksheets, videos, websites etc. Sharesquare allows you to develop a little multimedia app in seconds – and with no coding – and generates a QR code that points to it. Brilliant.

Another in the rash of QR related sites appearing at the moment – however, this one has something in particular to offer. It will generate a QR code for you, and then it is up to you to link it to whatever you choose. So once you have your unique code, you could publish it to a blog or website and simply change the link it points to when it suits, rather than going through the whole process again.

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I love this. Thinglink lets you embed as many hotspots as you like into an image on your blog or website. Link to images, videos, websites – a brilliant way to collect information together (and fun too!!)


Aris games

This will be brilliant. First off, you need to know it’s still in alpha – so things might not run smoothly quite yet. However, I still think it’s a fantastic tool already. You can make GPS based games (treasure hunts, mysteries etc.) that pupils can play using a free app on a smartphone. Google Earth zooms in close enough on most schools that it is possible to pinpoint places actually around your school site for pupils to find, rather than letting them loose in the real world.



My goodness – this site is amazing! I have no idea how I’ve missed this up to now. Once registered with Socrative, you are directed to a teacher’s screen and a private room is created. Pupils log in to the pupil version of the site, and enter your room number.
You are then able to ask questions in a variety of forms for pupils to respond to. Their answers appear real-time on your screen. You control how questions are delivered – ask verbally, or type a question – you control when an activity is over. It’s brilliant for checking knowledge and understanding.
Pupils can log in using a laptop, ipod or smartphone – great versatility for classrooms, and there are even built in options which allow for pupils sharing equipment to answer individually.



Hmmm – interesting. I haven’t played with this one yet, but just a heads-up – SlideBlender takes your boring old powerpoint presentations and turns them into snazzy flash efforts. Lots of potential for importing weblinks, additional content and the whole thing ends up with a unique url which you can change privacy settings on. Could be handy, eh?


It’s a new animation tool with some really useful features. First, it’s really simple to use – no faffing around labelling objects etc. Sharing is straightforward, but best of all, it’s HTML5 based, so your creations (sorry, the pupils’ creations!) will work everywhere. Do watch the ‘how to’ video first . . .



Stands for Yet Another Meeting. This is brilliant. A really fully featured meeting and collaboration tool. Clean, simple interface, plenty of room for agenda, notes, actions, attachments . . it may make me have more meetings!!




This is going to be handy. Just stumbled on this site – it searches for pdfs for you. I thought I’d give it a proper test and typed in ‘film music worksheet’ and it returned loads! So it’s potential for finding more obvious subject matter is huge. Give it a go!



Word generation

Now I find form time activities some of the hardest to come up with, so I’m delighted to find Word generation. The site has a series of lesson plans based on discussion topics. Not everything is available without being registered but there’s enough there to get me up and running!




How about linking up with a class from another part of the world to collaborate on a project? This site facilitates doing just that!



I like these ‘instant website’ creators. There are times when I find it really useful to have resources for a particular project stored altogether on a standalone site. Orbs has a nice, clean interface, allows for lots of different pages and comes with a whole load of themes which are customisable. Possibly a class project site?

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Tutor Hub

An interesting concept. Tutorhub styles itself as a question and answer hub, where students can ask, and answer each others’ questions. What the take up will be, and how carefully it is moderated are still questions that hang in the air for me – we’ll see. Looks nice though.

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Content Generator

Lots of customisable online games. A good selection are free and just require sign up.



I really see the possibilities for this one! Infostripe lets you make a multimedia webpage in about two seconds flat – easy and effective. The real winner about this one, however, is it’s format. The long, thin stripe of information transfers perfectly to smartphones and the like.


Print What You Like

Great little app. You input the url of the webpage that contains information you want to print, then it allows you to choose the parts of the page that are relevant to you – creating a pdf or html version for you to download.



Make revision games that look marvellous – go on, give it a try! Pupils will be far more likely to engage with revision that look like this!



An online flashcard creator – but this one has a much nicer interface than most. I think it’s probably the first of the bunch to have made it onto this site, as by and large, they tend to look a bit second rate, in my opinion. Brainscape will be useful for revision or starters, and I can imagine pupils actually using it themselves . .



Like Poll Everywhere, Textthemob is a text poll maker which will give instant on-screen feedback. In addition, it allows you to ask more detailed questions. The free version gives enough space to use it for a class, although it limits you to asking three questions.




Jux is a great new website creator. It works through a drag-and-drop interface that will let you organise information, multimedia, pages etc. in a multitude of different ways! (However, I do hope they add an interface for uploading and playing mp3s soon though!)



This site checks for plagiarism. You upload a document, it checks it. Simple.



Make multiple choice quizzes that pupils can take online. Really easy to do and embeddable.



Got to love this. Butns lets you add a whole bunch of different sites to each hyperlink on your site. So if you want to steer pupils’ research in particular directions, or give them safe options to investigate, this is a great way of doing so.



A random question prompt, daily. You can answer with text, images, a playlist – and can link your answers to a blog account, so it could prove useful.


Victim selector

A random name generator – with added stopwatch! Woohoo!

So very useful. Take pretty much any file and feed it to this site and it will give you an embed code!

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Educational Origami

This site really pulls all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together for me. Andrew Churches’ wiki manages to classify many web 2.0 tech tools in relation to Bloom’s Taxonomy, which helps me crystallize my thinking as to how and why I’m using them in my lessons.


Bloomin’ Google

Take Bloom’s Taxonomy and make it relevant for the 21st century teaching and learning environment – that’s what this amazing interactive manages! Please spend some time investigating Kathy Schrock’s blog (from which this comes), it’s full of brilliant stuff!


Make a thumbnail.

Perfect. You feed it any image you like, it magics it into a lovely square thumbnail that you can download, copy the embed code for, or link to. Oh so helpful for tinkering with the design aspects of my teaching site!



Quietube very nearly does the job I need it to – I live in hope! It will broadcast Youtube videos on a clean white screen without the distraction (and potential for inappropriateness) of the adverts and comments on Youtube itself. If it would just find a way of getting rid of those on-video Google ads, I’d be truly delighted.