Most schools require teachers to integrate technology into their lesson plans. This ensures that students acquire the technological skills they need. When looking at these tools on the internet, teachers should consider how they can help students learn new material in the moment. However, it’s also essential to consider how they can help students in the future. For instance, students entering the workforce can use website building skills to showcase their portfolio online. It can be difficult for teachers to consider all of these things while struggling to meet mandated learning objectives. Teachers looking to find engaging in-class activities should consider using online resources to teach technology. 

Online Website Builders

Weebly, WordPress and Wix allow students to compile information they have learned in class into an educational, well-designed website. Whether they create a website about a historical event or analyze a work of literature, students will improve their researching and writing skills, and they will gain basic web design experience. Teachers can develop a rubric outlining the information required for each page of the website. Once the students have published their sites, they can present their project to the class or send their classmates the link to their site. Also, a kid-friendly website builder, DoodleKit, is available for elementary school children.

Online Blogging Programs

Fanschool is a secure way for students of any age to find their own voice and become passionate about learning by posting safely online. Teachers can choose to loosely structure the blogging project by allowing students to write about whatever they have been learning, or they can create specific prompts for students to respond to on their blogs. Having students compose a blog post at the end of a class unit is an excellent way for students to retain what they have learned and develop a positive and private online presence. Fanschool works well for teachers who frequently have access to enough computers for all of their students.

Online Peer Review Sites

Although Eduflow does not require students to use creativity, it does engage students by allowing them to anonymously peer edit each other’s work. Students can now provide detailed constructive criticism without worrying about whose work is whose.  According to their website, Eduflow allows teachers to create an assignment and outline the feedback criteria. Students can then submit their work, “which can be anything from Word documents to YouTube videos,” and then Eduflow will assign each student a project to grade. Everything remains anonymous. Students peer review through the website, and the teacher can see all of the assignments as well as the review comments. Although the service is a simple concept, using this technology in the classroom helps students provide unbiased feedback. 

Free News Sites

Newsela helps students safely research current events and news articles online. Once students log on to the site during class, they can access articles about science, English language arts, math and social studies. Newsela rewrites articles from sources such as Encyclopedia Britannica, National Geographic and The Washington Post to suit different reading levels, ranging from second grade to twelfth grade. Teachers can assign a “text set,” or group of articles, for their students to read during class. Newsla also has options for annotations, quizzes, and writing prompts that students can complete online. Overall, Newsla acts as a hub of knowledge at age-appropriate reading levels that can fuel future projects, written reports and presentations.

Keep Students Safe While Using Online Resources to Teach Technology

Any time you’re using technology in the classroom, it’s essential to keep students safe.  Content filters can keep students from accessing harmful materials and adult websites. However, students face other dangers, like cyberbullying and predatory grooming. Content filters don’t protect students from these dangers. Additionally, content filters are easily bypassed. Thankfully, screen monitoring software like LearnSafe can detect these risks as well as potential threats. LearnSafe works hand-in-hand with content filters to keep students safe and focused on classroom activities. 

Text by Melissa Lawrence


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