1. Easel.ly – It seems like infographics are everywhere these days. Infographics are visual representations of data or knowledge, allowing complex information to be shared quickly and clearly. Of course, there are companies that specialize in making infographics for publishers and the like, but such companies charge for their work. Now, however, students can make their own infographics easily with Easel.ly. This free website, currently in its BETA version, comes with lots of templates to choose from or students can make their own from scratch. Drop in objects from the website’s menus or drag images in from your computer, add some headings and some text. When the infographic is complete, students can share their work via a link. All it takes to sign up for use of the site is an email address. Here’s a simple infographic I created while testing out the site, but students can make much more complex graphics. I plan on having my students create infographics on an upcoming unit about the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. Can you think of a way to use the site with your own curriculum?
2. Very Short Introductions – Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introductions have been around for almost two decades now, but I thought I’d mention them all the same. These little books provide concise but thorough overviews of all kinds of subjects in history, philosophy, science, and the humanities. They are a great resource for students doing research papers or projects as well as teachers who need to brush up on an area they haven’t studied recently. The books are the size of a mass market paperback, and they are usually around 140 pages or so. You can find many of them online for cheaper than the publisher’s price of $11.95 a piece.
3. Problem-Attic – Problem-Attic is a free website that gives teachers access to over 45,000 New York Regents exam questions in math, science, social studies, and English. Searching by topic, you can select and arrange questions just the way you like, creating tests, quizzes, or flashcards for students. It’s a great way to find fresh but high quality test questions. You can save your documents to the site, making it easy to archive and edit your work.
4. Tagxedo – Tagxedo is a word cloud generator like Wordle but with the added bonus of being able to choose different shapes for your word cloud. In addition, you can choose different fonts and color schemes as well. Once created, you can export your word cloud as a JPEG or embed a link to your cloud. While word clouds don’t take a lot of brain power to create, they can be used to help students brainstorm or identify key words. Here’s one I created to introduce an assignment in my government class.
5. Disney American Presidents – I haven’t actually bought this app, but it looks like a good one from all the reviews I’ve read. It’s an “Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook” of all the presidents. There are video profiles of the presidents, overviews of different historical periods, and an exploration of the 2012 election. The app is done in a humorous but factually accurate style that’s appealing to younger students. $3.99
6. Archimedes – If you are a math teacher, you should probably check out this app. Part of the problem with laptops and iPads in mathematics is the difficulty of writing out problems using a keyboard as you would using paper and pencil. This app seems to solve this problem. Not being a math teacher, I don’t know that it’s perfect, but no technology is. You’d have to check it out for yourself.