One of our most important roles as teachers is to provide students with the tools they need to express their ideas. That could be physical equipment or online platforms that make sharing ideas more efficient, whether through polls, blogs, videos, or brainstorming platforms. My theory is that if we value what students have to say, then we should value the tools that can amplify their voices.
There are several companies that have tried to corner the market on interactive questions, collaborative brainstorming, and voting, but I enjoy Mentimeter more than Poll Everywhere, Padlet, or Pol.ly. I prefer Mentimeter because of its style, performance reliability, ability to save, and diversity of powerful tools. Plus, it seems like each time I log onto Mentimeter there is a new feature to try. (link)
Google's Blogger is the perfect venue for a student to have a semi-public place for regular writing. Blogger serves nicely as a monthly journal, reflection notebook for assignments, or formal portfolio, and I have found it an invaluable platform for charting a student's writing growth. (link)
FlipGrid is a game changer for encouraging students to practice their speaking skills. Students can record short videos, but they have the ability to pause, watch, and re-record as necessary, so there is an intuitive way for them improve as they record. The website's grid design also makes it easy for students to watch videos made by their peers. Because the website saves the videos by topic, it is easy for me to get formative data and student improvement over time. (link)
Personally, this is my favorite brainstorming website that approximates the experience of working at a whiteboard. The collaborative features are impressive, and the sprawling products that emerge are enlightening. We will see if Jamboard can take what RealTimeBoard does and extend it.
I find Coggle to be a straightforward in the best ways possible. It gives structure to mindmaps, which is a helpful feature for students who want more support as they develop ideas. The website also allows for collaborative editing, which makes it easy for students to work on different sections of the mindmap at the same time. Students consider Coggle a particularly helpful resource for organizing parts of an essay.