My Back To School Tech Six

September 15, 2021

Vipula Sharma, a Teacher of EAL and Digital Learning Coach, shares a collection of edtech tools to support students as they return to school.

My Back To School Tech Six

At the start of this academic year, I decided to forego all the ice breakers, rules reminders, expectations and topic overview that I have always started my first lessons back with; these are all very important of course but I wanted to maximise my learning time with my students, so I decided I would recap key language learning points right from the very first lesson but at the same time draw out all the key points regarding rules, expectations and sharing learning overviews with students and discovering what they had been up to during the holidays and also plan our learning goals for this half term. 

In short, I wanted my EAL children to not only show me what they knew but also to put the structures we were recapping into actual use to communicate our rules, expectations, their summer and learning goals.

So, this is my back to school tech six:

1) I’m a puzzle: I engaged my students with a whole class activity using this free online platform. This site allowed me to choose an image to create a puzzle (I chose an image of figurative language terms we had used during the last academic year) then I added questions using the QUIZ mode, I then chose the number of puzzle pieces I wanted and we were ready to play. Students clicked on the term and chose the answer from the 4 options. I am fortunate to work with small groups, so we stood around the board, students discussed and took it in turns to click on an answer. This gave me an opportunity to go over forgotten meanings and I encouraged them to share other examples but relevant now to our rules, our learning expectations and their holidays. Energy and engagement levels were high and I was impressed by the quality of their answers.

I'm a Puzzle

2) Wordwall: I used this site for another whole class learning task to recap tenses and to stretch our range of figurative language devices. There are so many ready made quizzes on this platform and a wide range of game modes too. Again, another winner as the students discussed and interacted with the resources, me and each other.

Wordwall

3) Quizlet Live: it was now time to break off into smaller groups but still maintain discussion and face students with more challenging tasks. I really enjoy listening to the discussions my students have as they work together to work out the right answer during a Quizlet Live game. I listen out for and address misconceptions.

Quizlet Live

4) Blooket: it was now time to break off into smaller groups but still maintain discussion and face students with more challenging tasks. I really enjoy listening to the discussions my students have as they work together to work out the right answer during a Quizlet Live game. I listen out for and address misconceptions.

Blooket

5) Quizizz: It was then time to bring the energy levels down a little and to get the students working and thinking independently. I like this platform as it enables me to really think about designing good multiple choice questions and students receive feedback and can see exactly where they need to work on their understanding.

Quizziz

6) Live worksheets: finally as we approached the end of the lesson I needed my students to have some quiet, independent thinking time on a learning task where they would have to use the language more in context, within longer texts. I created an EAL workbook within this platform and invited my students to join. They receive immediate feedback upon the completion of a task and I can track their progress within my teacher dashboard.

Live Worksheets

These 6 tech platforms enabled me to fully engage my students during our first lesson back, I was able to make the most of our hour together and feel ready for the term ahead. We recapped, learnt some new structures, reconnected post the summer break and set the right learning tone. 

I think these 6 platforms lend themselves well to any subject area and any age range as they are flexible and easy to use, they are engaging and interactive, they support whole class, small group and individual learning and above all they provide immediate learning feedback so that misconceptions can be corrected. 

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or wish to share your own ideas as I am always looking to widen my teaching toolkit. Wishing you all an excellent term ahead.

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