1. Flipped Classrooms use Panopto which is a video capture tool. Based on my research, this seems to be the best tool out there for teachers to record a lecture, a PowerPoint presentation or screenshots.

  2. Material can also be uploaded to the open-sourced educational site called Canvas where they can be stored for future use. Students can also browse lectures based on subject matter and take their own notes based on these presentations from teachers or professors around the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            EXAMPLE: A high school math class is studying quadratic equations; the teacher can upload his own lecture and instruct students to watch it at home, as well as choosing a college-level lecture on the same subject to watch and take notes on. Students can search out MOOCS – Massive Open Online Classes which are free at the best universities in the world. (Younger students can supplement their teacher’s lecture with a video from Khan Academy while at home). When they come to class, they can discuss the topic and each provide something they learned from the upper-level lecture or discuss the differences. This not only teaches them about quadratic equations, but also familiarizes them with a university-level lecture.

  3. If dealing with a social issue or geography for example, of the 9 best digital tools for flipped classrooms is Instagram used to searc for images.  EXAMPLE: As part of a 5th grade geography assignment on volcanoes, students are instructed to create a collection of photos of volcanoes, being sure to find some that are extinct, some that are active and some that are partially underwater. They can then see the other photos other students found and discuss the differences. Or, for a more advanced grade level, based on the meta-tags on the photos, they could even plot them out on a world map or Google Earth to locate the tectonic fault lines close to the volcanoes.

  4. If planning a class project or presentation in flipped classrooms, students should be encouraged to carry out the planning themselves using and iCalendar like Wunderlist. They can annotate the schedule as well as plugging in target dates for certain tasks to be completed. EXAMPLE: A school is planning a service learning project for the semester, so to provide some overview students must decide what tasks must be accomplished in what order. They can then plug in these dates into a Wunderlist calendar which they can all access from home or their mobile devices in class. They then see how the project comes together as a sum of its parts and moves in a timely manner.

  5. Students can present their own findings to their class (and the world) using Storify. EXAMPLE: A 9th grade US History class assignment is to present the outbreak of WWII as though it has just happened. Using Storify as one of the 9 best digital tools for flipped classrooms, students pretend they are journalists “breaking the story.” What are the most important facts? Who are the most important characters or countries? How best to shape the narrative?

  6. Create a peer-supported writing project using Google Docs. EXAMPLE: In a creative writing course for 5th graders, students are directed to write a haiku poem. The teacher can post the guidelines for writing a good haiku poem as well as a few examples and then each student can enter the document and write their poem onto the document. They can help each other, pointing out that “The 2nd line of your poem has 8 syllables instead of 7.” Students are assigned to pick out their favorite haiku of their colleagues and explain why they liked it in class.

  7. Listen to podcasts to learn more about an issue outside of the classroom, using Downcast. EXAMPLE: 8th graders in flipped classrooms are doing a unit on reproductive health, so they are assigned to listen to a podcast that deals with venereal diseases and present their findings in a 1-minute speech as though they were delivering their own podcast. For more advances classes, they can then go to Audioboo to create their own podcast on the subject.

  8. Use Diptic to make a collage of photos about a certain issue. EXAMPLE: A 4th grade class is doing a unit on insects so they are assigned to find photos online and create a 4-cell photo collage that represents the 4 stages of a butterfly’s life.

  9. Use Google Earth and/or Google Maps to present a historical or current phenomenon. EXAMPLE: A high school class is studying the spread of Islam and Buddhism so they create a map where each religion is represented by a color so they can see how the religions spread, confronted each other and eventually conformed to their current borders. Looking at a more detailed current map of Nigeria, the teacher can point out that this sort of movement is by no means finished as there is still a “line in the sand” dividing Muslims in Nigeria from their Christian neighbors.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Using these 9 best digital tools for flipped classrooms in ways as listed above, make learning non-threatening, life-like and highly-challenging. It focuses student attention on the activity itself, allowing them to comprehend the lesson on a deeper (often more introspective) level. Students are truly engaged in the subject, which will result in more memory retention and more “active processing” that will spark the locale memory system. Once this information “comes alive” in the students’ minds, students will thrive on the challenge and their performance in all aspects will improve considerably.

9 best tools for digital classrooms Adam Carter is an educator that seeks innovative ways of instilling Global Citizenship in students. His non-profit Cause & Affect Foundation has been assisting on children-related projects around the world for years. He created the Academic Social Action Collective to assist schools develop their social action programs and global citizenship efforts. He has significant expertise in flipped classrooms and the 9 best digital tools for flipped classrooms.

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