5 Cloud-Based Tools That Could Revolutionize Your Teaching This Year

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It’s always fun to plan for a new academic year. Fresh groups of students will be pouring into your lecture halls and discussion groups, and you’ve had some time to think about the new ways technology can help you serve them.

Here are a few tools you might want to integrate into your instructional arsenal this year.

Box

You probably heard a lot about Box’s new enterprise-level education tools. They’re pretty cool, and they provide integration and collaboration with just about every learning management and collaboration tools your school might be using. But you may not have realized that they also offer a free level of service.

Like most free cloud storage and collaboration tools, they offer 5GB of storage and editing capabilities. If your institution hasn’t signed on yet, you can try it yourself and suggest it to your students for easy storage of class work.

Class Stats (part of StudyBlue)

Have you or your students used StudyBlue to create mobile flashcards for study and practice? If so, then you’re already familiar with the tool and what it offers to students.

Recently, they launched a new tool — Class Stats — that provides assessment information to teachers. “Teachers want better ways to understand and motivate study behavior that’s directly connected to improved outcomes.” said Becky Splitt, StudyBlue’s CEO.” Class Stats allows professors to see how students are progressing as individuals and in the aggregate so they can plan activities and discussions that will ensure that everyone is meeting the goals of the course.

Sophia

If you are excited about flipped classrooms but don’t know how to get started, Sophia could be a great tool for you. It has content-creation tools that lead you through best practices and professional development resources that can give you the confidence to make such a sweeping change to the way you teach.

Plus, the assessment tools help you make sure your content is having an impact on your students.

Piazza

Want a quick and easy way to give your students help outside of office hours or class time? Piazza is a social networking tool specifically designed to connect students with their instructors and teaching assistants/graduate teaching fellows.

Students can connect through a “hub” for their class using the web app or the mobile version. That allows other students to weigh in if they know the answer and lets the teachers of the course give their responses in real time, too.

Google

Yes, Google is a mainstay in cloud-based collaboration. Just because it’s an oldie in the field, don’t discount it. There may be new ways you can use it with your students.

Can you create a Google+ group for your class, and invite your students to join it? Post your syllabus, related readings and videos, and other materials that can help students prep for in-class discussions? Use Google Docs for homework submission and review?

What new technologies are you rolling out in your teaching this year? Tell us in the comments below.

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