It’s only November and you’re probably already trying to figure out if it is humanly possible to meet all the deadlines and where the next happy hour will be. Trust me, I understand! Although I cannot write those lesson plans for you, I would love to help by equipping you with some technology that will make your journey as an educator run a little smoother!

I believe it’s important that we as educators stay abreast to technology as it has the potential to increase our efficiency and provides unique avenues to connect with our scholars in the classroom. Here are three apps I feel could enhance your practice and lesson plan delivery. And for extra credit, they are all free!

1. Talking Points - Dallas ISD’s current student demographic is currently 70% Hispanic, 22% Black/African American, 5% White and 1.5% Asian. Depending on which part of Dallas you teach, there’s likely even more diversity. Diversity is beautiful, but it can lend itself to communication gaps. Thus, keeping our scholars’ families out the loop in regard to their child’s education. The Talking Points app is a great resource for bridging this gap and communicating effectively with families of all backgrounds.

Talking Point’s Stats:

•    Allows you to communicate in 20 different languages via text message

•    Parents are able to communicate back in English

•    Free version supports up to 150 students

2. Padlet – If you’re a secondary teacher like myself, then you know our students will have phones. (In fact, we are even seeing students at the primary level with cell phones now!) A phone is practically glued to their hands, so why not implement them in your practice? Padlet is a cool website where you can create a digital “parking lot” for students. My favorite part about Padlet is it amps up classroom discussion and gives equity of voice to all students.

Padlet’s Stats:

•    Students can respond to a posted question, quote, or anything you can imagine.

•    Operates similar to a Pinterest board or a Twitter feed

•    Great way to access prior knowledge or for student collaboration

3. Quizizz – With this app, the classic “pop quiz” has received a technological makeover! Quizizz is an awesome application that gamifies the education process without diluting the content. The best part about Quizizz is, you can do quiz students without piles of paper and it practically generates grades for you. Students will not need to make an account – all they need is a game code.

Quizizz’s Stats:

•    Created “quizzes” can be aligned to TEKS

•    Self-paced feature is great for differentiated instruction

•    Compatible with Google classroom and the Remind App

I hope the remainder of your school year proves to be one of the best years yet for you and your students! Take some time to check out these apps before the end of 2018 and let the Educator Collective know how it went!

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Torrian in an 8th Grade Science and Physics teacher at Billy Earl Dade Middle School, in her 5th year as an educator.