Like everyone else involved in education (and pretty much any other sector on Earth), this year looks quite a bit different than a year ago.
Over the summer, we had a hugely successful Camp What If, with three camps entirely online (check out what Amy had to say about our experience). We are excited to use what we learned in the classroom with our updated, online What If 101 curriculum. Some things that have been helpful to our success at moving virtual are the different tools that we’ve integrated into schools and the variety of student platforms and technologies we’ve worked with. Let’s dive in to eight of these tools that you might not know about.
Like any good think tank, TomTod’s ideation process involves the high-tech wizardry of sticky notes. But working remotely has made it difficult to bounce our ideas off of our favorite neon pads and the whiteboard covered walls of our office. We needed to find a quick fix for us to be able to brainstorm remotely!
Miro was exactly what the doctor ordered. Miro’s infinitely zoomable canvas and web whiteboard enables teams to unleash creativity, plan projects from all angles, and create centralized hubs of information to keep everyone in the loop.
Maybe it’s an early morning, and you haven’t had enough java to get those creative juices flowing. Or it’s been a long day of creating, and your brain is…is…what’s the word? WordHippo is just the thing to shake off the dust and get you into the avant-garde groove giving you the right word when you need it. This may seem like your typical thesaurus, but it offers so much more whether you’re looking for the perfect rhyme, a word that is on the tip of your tongue, or a word that has a little more pizazz! Working at TomTod, we learn to see how the ordinary can be extraordinary, particularly when it’s given a fantastic name! (We learned that from our Executive Dreamer.)
This web/mobile application was designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work.Asana definitely adds a team component to the to-do list that is hard to beat, whether you’re in-person or virtual. Anything that eliminates all the random notes on my desk makes it a win in my book!
When it comes to creative ideas, TomTod is never at a loss; however, in order to keep up with all of the programs and curriculum building we do, we need quick, accessible tools to create graphics and curriculum just as imaginative and innovative. Canva is a perfect fit.
Video, social media, stock photos, gif creation—you can really do a lot with it. And as a nonprofit, we get the premium version for free, and it comes with thousands of free stock photos and videos and tons of extra design features. They’re always adding new elements, so you never have to worry about running out of content!
Going remote makes collaboration a bit trickier—I think we can all admit that. Collaboration is not only a vital part of our team culture, but is also something we instill in our middle schoolers. As a simple, free, and accessible video discussion platform, FlipGrid is a lifesaver in the classroom to pitch and pivot ideas, add more to those same ideas through student suggestions and improvisation, and allow students to give and receive feedback.
We are always searching for and creating ways to make something more fun, and adding a game or competition to one of our Adventures is a sure-fire way to do this. Kahoot offers fun, interactive quizzes for students to take, create, and share across many platforms and is exactly what we need when it comes to upping the fun in the classroom.
Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. This is a brand new tool we’re excited to use this semester to help bring student invention to life utilizing their various designs with 3D printing as invention builders!
While we haven’t played too much with it, what little we have used seems to be a cool designing experience for users and we’re excited to keep testing it out.
We love Stickermule for their quick turnaround, helpful designers, and fast shipping! Making stickers and labels is super easy with their online tools, and the stickers themselves are of high quality, waterproof, and professional. We give them to donors, team members, and of course students!
*We’re getting a small coupon for mentioning Stickermule which is super de duper nice of them!
What tools have you found to be the most useful in your shift to the digital classroom as a student, parent, or teacher? Let us know!
Zane Sanders is a musician, writer, and lover of all things Marvel and has been Curating Adventure with TomTod since 2019. With over 15 years of experience working with students of all ages, Zane is also a creative wizard who works both with students and behind the scenes at TomTod. You can usually find Zane drinking coffee and tinkering with the latest gadget to figure out how we can use it to empower middle schoolers.