Powtoon is Powerpoint’s livelier little brother.
I really like this program even though I haven’t had the chance to spend a long time with it. You can do a lot with this site like video, animation, voice recording, it has great accessibility, kid friendly and business savvy at the same time, and it’s easy to clip and position your animations as well as your text. It’s free!
It would be great if you could set it as a slideshow instead of always being a video presentation. Sometimes you just want to have a good old slideshow without having to stop the video every time you want to make a point. The signup is free but that only gives you 4 presentations. You are allowed to delete and add new presentations but you can only ever have 4 on the site at a time.
Affordances: This is a staple in my classroom. This free Office-like suite allows students to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, online discussion groups and much, much, more. The best part of Google Drive is that it automatically saves student work and they can access it both at home and at school on their laptops or mobile devices.
Constraints: When all students are on the drive at the same time and working on collaborative documents the program can freeze a little or lag. Students have to have a Google account to access the drive and because that is a social networking platform, some districts may not want students on a site that can be used the same way as Facebook and Twitter.
Affordances: This is an instantaneous news source, a way to reach out and collaborate with novices and professionals alike from all walks of life and all over the globe. Utilized the right way, it can be a powerful teaching tool and a great way to get feedback from kids and where they are in the learning process quickly.
Constraints: This is a social networking site that is used world-wide so the online classroom management must be very tight if you are going to use this program in your class. Students have to have a clear understanding of what it means to be a global citizen and responsibly participate in coursework involving this application.
Affordances: This is a fantastic notetaking, photojournalism, doodle think pad, document scanner, andanything else you may think up application. I haven’t even begun to delve into all of the nooks and crannies of Evernote but I do think it will be a great tool in the classroom. The app has a great filing system to be explored as well. It also syncs across devices keeping your notes and documents at your fingertips.
Constraints: It is a little complex and takes a while to get acclimated with. Younger students may struggle with this one at first, I think it would be great for high school and college age students.
Affordances: This is an extension of Evernote that is very handy and a lot of fun. You can use a stylus or your finger to create notes and pictures in a digital notebook. You also store these documents and images you create in Evernote so everything is kept in one tidy place. There are a million activities and strategies that could be used with this app.
Constraints: It’s fun! Once you start doodling and drawing it may be hard to stop and concentrate on the lesson at hand.
Affordances: This app is cool, creative, and brimming with innovative possibilities as part of the maker movement. Students use special graph paper to create their own levels in their own video game and then can play each other’s creations online. You could use this as a platform for a narrative story unit told through their game, a graphing exercise in math, or review and produce an ad campaign for a classmate’s game.
Constraints: This is what I would call “cutting edge” in the education sphere because you may have to do a lot of explaining and defending to administration and/or parents in order to use video gaming as a valid tool for higher order thinking skills in your classroom. I do believe this would be a great way to promote those skills.
Affordances: This is a quick, easy way to get a conversation started and you can save the chats you have to reference later.
Constraints: There is no way of stopping a chat once it starts. This may not be the best mode of holding a conversation if you are presenting at a conference or covering a difficult topic with your kids and may fear comments that aren’t appropriate or constructive.
Affordances: This may be my new favorite site! You can use the text from Alice in Wonderland to draw your picture or you can insert your own text to draw with. The tool is very easy to manipulate and you can change the size and color of the text as well. The faster you move your mouse, the larger the text becomes, giving the images you create a lot of character and making certain words pop.
Constraints: If you do not reinsert your text when you clear and start redrawing, you will start wherever you left off in the text on the previous drawing (hope that makes sense). Also, if you do not save your work it tends to reset itself after a period of time sitting unused.