Sites to supplement your online teaching

With the world moving to online teaching during the outbreak, here are 3 great sites you can use to supplement your online classes.

Flipgrid.com

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Flipgrid allows you to bring some student-student interaction into the classroom with students making short videos of 1-2 minutes. I had great success creating just one ‘grid’ for each of my class groups. Students upload videos where they ask and answer questions or share their thoughts, and I give them free rein to talk about anything related to the subject. Kids can watch each other’s videos and rate them and as a teacher, you can download the videos to share during class time too, if you wish. It isn’t as stable as I’d like it to be, at least here in China, but it’s holding up pretty well.

Pros

-Student interaction

-Teachers can lock access to school email accounts

-Easy login for students with school email accounts on
Microsoft or google.

-Fairly simple to use.

-Microsoft immersive reader built in

-Fun video features such as stickers.

Cons

-Sometimes painfully slow (at least here in China)

Prodigygame.com

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I was using this with my Maths  classes way before we moved online. Students play a fantasy roleplaying game with characters who fight by casting spells. They cast spells by answering maths questions which get more difficult as they answer more questions correctly, meaning differentiation is built in. Here’s the genius bit – Answering questions actually provides you with a lot of data. They are doing assessment tests, progress tests and practise either random material or curriculum aligned material set by the teacher every time they play, and the data gets put nicely into graphs for you on your dashboard. Again, this site struggles sometimes in China, and the constant push to upgrade to a paid account can be quite annoying, but ultimately it’s a great product for common core maths Grade 2-Grade 8 and you can use it entirely for free.

Pros

  • Lots of fun, kids love it
  • Heaps of data for the teacher
  • Test or practise, with curriculum alignment
  • Kids can play against each other
  • Free

Cons

  • A lot of requests to pay
  • Sometimes very slow (at least in China)

Memrise.com

A good one for learning vocabulary. Teachers can set up a group and invite students via a link so they can watch students’ points grow. It is a hassle to get student sin the group – you send them a link and they get taken through a registration process, then have to press your link AGAIN to join the group.  Once it’s set up, just pop a few courses into the group and that becomes the students’ vocabulary list.You could even differentiate by putting different students into different groups.  They’ll practise spelling, matching definitions and in some cases, using words in a sentence. You can’t see which words students are struggling with, and you aren’t able to take inappropriate words out of a pre-prepared list so would have to make your own from scratch if you wish to. I’ve found students typically get bored of this after about 3 weeks, but it’s good while it lasts.

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Pros

  • Lots of vocabulary lists pre built
  • Fun for a while, competitive and motivating
  • Teachers can monitor student points, and
    estimate time spent playing
  • Students get more practise with words they struggle
    with
  • Students practise listening, spelling and using
    (sometimes) words
  • Free

Cons

  • Kids get bored after a few weeks
  • Getting kids into your group is a bit of a
    hassle.
  • You can only see the kids’ points. Nothing else.

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