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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Five Popular Ed Tech Tools That Work on Nearly All Devices

Cross-posted from one of my other blogs, Android4Schools.com.

There are certainly many more solid apps available for Android tablets than there were a few years, yet there are still many times when someone will ask me if one of my recommended tools is available for Android. In no particular order, here are five of my most frequently recommended tools that will work on Android tablets as well as on Chromebooks, iPads, and in your laptop's web browser.

Padlet is probably my favorite tool for quickly creating an online space in which students can post short notes, respond to questions, and share links to things they've made and or discovered. Padlet now offers an iPad app, but they don't offer an Android app. However, Padlet does work quite well if you just open it in the web browser on your Android tablet.

Storyboard That is an excellent tool for creating short stories in a comic strip style. By offering more than 40,000 pieces of artwork for students to use in their storyboards, Storyboard That makes sure that students never run out of possibilities. Learn more about Storyboard That in this webinar recording. Like Padlet, Storyboard That does not offer an Android tablet, but it works very well in the web browser on my Nexus tablet.

Animoto has long been a staple of my ed tech toolbox as it provides a good way to quickly introduce people to making simple videos. I find that making a video in Animoto is a confidence builder for people who have never tried to make a video. Once that confidence is built then we'll move on to trying more robust video creation tools. Animoto has offered an Android app for a couple of years now, yet it many people are still surprised when I mention it.

ThingLink is another staple of my ed tech toolbox. ThingLink is a free tool for creating interactive images. The ThingLink Android app has been offered for quite a while, but people still seem surprised when I mention it. If you don't want to install the app, the browser-based version of ThingLink will work on your Android tablet too. I like to use the ThingLink app in conjunction with the PicCollage app to have students summarize the highlights of a field trip. Click here for an example of that.

When searching for data or other computational information, Wolfram Alpha stands superior to other search engines. I recommend Wolfram Alpha not only for searches involving mathematics but for many searches that are in seek of static information like the lifespan of a president, height of a mountain, or the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit. If you open Wolfram Alpha in the browser on your Android tablet you will be prompted to buy the app ($2.99) but you can bypass that by scrolling to the bottom of the page and tapping the link to "continue to Wolfram Alpha."

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com.