By Alexandra Coutlée, author of the podcast La Geek de service and educational consultant in digital integration and resource person for the RÉCIT at the Center de services scolaire de Laval
Note: Would you rather listen to this top 10 in podcast mode? It is here.
Choosing only 10 tools, applications or sites for my top 10 of 2021 was not easy. Of course, I use and appreciate many more. The tools that are on my list are happy discoveries or have been part of my daily life for a long time, in addition to offering new options.
Whether it's for exit tickets, debates on the news or simply to let students express themselves in video mode, Flipgrid is a must. The new audio recording feature that makes podcast-like creations possible, new backgrounds and stickers make it a great creative tool. And that's not counting the new possibility of creating short capsules (Shorts) on mobile device.
With so much time spent in front of screens, active breaks are necessary. This application (paid with a 14-day free trial) offers several possibilities to move, by determining personal choices (duration, music, etc.). Whether it's yoga, meditation, circuit training, it's possible to take a little 10 minute break here and there to take care of yourself. I especially love chair yoga for stretching (camera closed, of course) when a remote meeting has been stretching a little too long 🙂
Royalty-free, free and focusing on respect for personal data, La Digitale offers a wide range of tools. I discovered Digipad, an alternative to Padlet, as well as Digiquiz which, paired with Logiquiz, allows the integration of H5P interactive activities outside the Moodle environment. We can then add everything to a Google Site, as we can see here on www.muniverssocial.ca (see for example this page where the interactive exercises are done with Digiguiz). I promise myself to explore the other tools of La Digitale in 2022!
Very useful website, extension and application, Wakelet is a must for collecting all my discoveries. With all the interesting information I see circulating everywhere, being able to pull it all together quickly and easily is key. The tool also allows you to share collections and even collaborate with those of other people. With its new column organization feature (sometimes even the smallest changes can change everything in a tool), I like it even more. In 2022, I promise myself to explore the use of Wakelet as a portfolio with students since it is so easy to add links, files, images and more!
6- sound trap
For audio editing, there are excellent tools like Audacity or GarageBand. But it's Soundtrap that makes my top 10. Why? Because this tool is available to everyone, online or in a mobile application, and moreover, it is collaborative. Whether it's adding sounds (the library of royalty-free sounds is impressive) or editing a podcast, it's simple and effective. Its free personal version is sufficient for the majority of small projects. Paid versions (professional and education) offer additional options.
5- Language Tool
The Language Tool extension (for several browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, but also available as an application and integrated into Google Docs) now follows me everywhere during my online writing. It allows you to correct spelling and punctuation, in addition to offering a dictionary of synonyms. A paid version offers more in-depth correction (style, grammar, etc.), but the basic version avoids annoying errors when I'm chatting in one of my online tools or when posting on social networks .
A tool to install on your computer, Rambox allows you to manage different tools grouped together in one place. When you have to communicate in different instances like Teams, Google Chat, Yammer, Messenger or others, having all these tools in one place means you don't miss a thing. You should, on the other hand, know that since Rambox opens all these online tools simultaneously, it can "draw juice", as they say. I therefore limit myself to the essentials on my side… and did not make it to the maximum of the free version, which allows 99 tools!
For Google Classroom users, Schoolytics is the customizable dashboard you've been missing. The free version allows you to connect up to 10 classes at a time. It is then possible to customize what you want to measure: the homework hand-in rate, the skills assessed, the days on which students complete their homework, etc. All that remains is to look at the reports to adjust their pedagogical decisions. The reports can even be exported (by class and by student).
The platform is new and being translated. It is improved regularly, such as this new option which allows you to generate a Google Presentation for teamwork with the names of teammates on different slides.
Of tutorials for Schoolytics are available in the CSS de Laval digital kit.
Screencastify is a must for making short video capsules. I love that my videos go straight to my Google Drive and sharing is quick and easy. New sharing options now allow you to request the name of the person viewing the video, or to require a connection, thus giving options to know who has seen the video. A new function, which allows you to add multiple-choice questions, also makes it possible, in a single location, to create interactive capsules and ensure better follow-up.
1- Can go
Canva is probably the tool I use most often. Whether it's for infographics, presentation materials, or to customize a website, the creative possibilities of this tool are simply amazing. The most difficult with Canva? Choose from thousands of available templates that help create professional-looking documents. A new video editing tool is simple and efficient. I also tested the (paid) printing service, which really impressed me. Canva is definitely my favorite of 2021.
In 2022, I promise myself to test the screen capture option and live streaming, directly from Canva. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the Education version, free, which is more than worth it.
And you? What's your top 10 tech tools of 2021?