About This Website

No doubt there are a ton of websites that offer long lists of web 2.0 tools. While these websites can be great resources, you often have to spend quite a bit of time finding something that really works effectively and efficiently for the task you have in mind. This page is designed to give you classroom proven tools and examples to help you experience them for yourself. Almost all of them have been utilized by teachers at Hampton High School in some capacity or another, and they have all proven to be worthwhile tools that help improve teaching and learning. For most of them, I have included tips that might help you if you decide to utilize them in your classroom. In addition, the task page is meant to model some of these strategies throughout the workshop as you might implement them in a classroom setting.

The Playground column is designed for you to be able to see and experience the tool in action. Sandboxes are places where you can actually get into this tool and experience it for yourself and Examples are classroom applications of these tools. Please feel free to click around, explore and don't be afraid to "play" with them to see what they can d0 for you and your students. If you have any questions about planning, management or assessment of any of the examples you see, please don't hesitate to ask. There are rubrics available for many of these projects at www.thedigitalshift.wikispaces.com.

The tools are divided into three categories:
  • tools to GUIDE student learning,
  • tools to SHOWCASE student learning,
  • tools to make YOUR life easier.
Some tools appear in more than one category and certainly depending on how you use them, many of these tools could fall into multiple categories.

Tools to Guide Student Learning

Formative Assessment Tools:

Provide a real-time window into student thinking

Lino It is a digital corkboard where students can post sticky notes. Use it to tap into prior knowledge, as a brainstorming tool, exit ticket, group reporting, discussion of a video or image, etc. Quick and instant to set up, no account required, but helpful to save and organize your boards.
Tip: Having students set up accounts is the only way to track who posts what, otherwise posting is anonymous. To get around this, you can have students put their name in as a "tag".
Similar to the above site, Wallwisher is a digital workspace where students can post sticky notes. This site has a nice elementary feel to it. Use it to tap into prior knowledge, as a brainstorming tool, exit ticket, group reporting, etc. Quick and instant to set up, no account required, but helpful to save and organize your boards and track who posts what.
Tip: Sometimes this site can have difficulties loading at certain times of heavy traffic.
A digital corkboard where students can post sticky notes like the two above, but also includes some useful templates and can the added ability for users to vote on ideas. Quick and instant to set up, but students will need an account to access boards. Account set up is quick. To play with the sandbox examples, you will need to sign in with USERNAME: wpwp PASSWORD: wpwp
Tip: Do not select educator when signing up, it only limits your free access! Once again, no account necessary, but useful for organizing your boards. Free 30 day trial for private sites.
An online game-based response system that allows teachers to create real-time quizzes, polls, and surveys. To play it, students need to access it at kahoot.it.

An online classroom response system that can be used for creating surveys, quizzes, polls, and discussion questions.

Primary Wall
A site similar to all of the above, but geared toward primary grades
A collaborative reading tool where you can upload any PDF file mark it up collaboratively and have online discussion, commentary of the text. A great window into student reading. This would also work well for peer review of student writing.
Tip: You can embed a Crocodoc right onto your wiki or website so students can read and comment without leaving your private space. See the example in the Playground. You can also uplpoad an image for commentary.
Google Docs
A collaborative tool for creating documents and presentations. As a formative assessment tool, it makes the process more transparent and open to guiding comments from you and peers along the way. You could also use this in a manner similar to Crocodoc and have students peer edit or as a way to comment on writing drafts.
Tip: You can create public documents that students can access if you give them the link...no account required (like the sandbox at the right is set up.) This makes it easy when students are working in small groups or on wiki team pages.
A quick and easy way to survey students using cell phones and other mobile devices.
Tip: Although not necessary to run a poll, creating an account helps you manage them. Also be aware that after 30 responses, the free subscription does not accept any more. Make sure to create a separate poll for EACH class period.
This tool allows you to create chats that can be fully monitored before posts go live. Works quite well for a backchannel type chat during a movie or a lecture.
Tip: assign a trustworthy student as "chat captain" to monitor and approve posts as they come in.
Similar to the above tools...a quick and easy chat set up that can be embedded directly onto a website like the example to the right.
Tip: Register your user name so you can control chat settings to make them private and even moderated if you wish.
This online student response system allows you to create surveys, polls, and quizzes. You can collect the results through your website, email, or social media.

Quiz Tools:

Allow you to create interactive quizzes for instant feedback

Tip: Set up an account and search for your topic of choice. Chances are a set already exists and you can then save it and make changes to it to suit your needs. Embed them on your website and give students the URL so they can load them on mobile devices (maybe even do this with a QR code!)
I just recently discovered this gem and from the looks of it, it is probably the most dynamic online solution for giving digital quizzes, surveys or other formative assessments. Generates an instant graded report from quizzes and it works well with any type of mobile device or computer. You will put those response devices away when you see what this free tool can do. For more information on this tool, check out
Google Forms
As mentioned above, this is a great way to collect data from students whether it is a quiz, survey, peer evaluation or anything else you can think of.
Tip: Always make your first two questions Name and Period so you can sort responses accordingly. You can also set up the spreadsheet to grade quizzes automatically with a tool called Flubaroo. Here is a youtube video that explains how it works.
Survey Monkey
Not quite as adaptable as Google Forms, but nonetheless another quick and easy way to create quizzes and surveys.
Create and search existing quizzes, flash-based review games and more. This site offers quite a bit for free, but even more classroom management options with the paid version

Collaborative Tools

Breakdown classroom walls for cross-class/curricular/continental sharing and discussion


By far the most versatile tool I have worked with over the past five years. Wikispaces make a dynamic platform for class websites, and a great tool for organizing and designing collaborative projects and cross curricular discussions, and a way to organize group and individual teams. For more information about ways to wiki, check out this resource.
Google Docs
Students can work collaboratively on documents, spreadsheets and even powerpoint presentations. This makes group work much more transparent and holds students accountable for more equal contribution.
A unique collaborative tool that allows students to discuss images or video in a multitude of ways including voice, video, text and even through cell phone calls. Tip: Check out this resource for plenty of ideas about ways to integrate Voicethread.
Collaborative whiteboard that allows students to work together in text, images, and even co-annotate a website. This tool also has a pretty effective equation editor that will allow students to work collaboratively to solve math problems.
"Super Funky Collaborative Writing" according to the website, this tool will allow up to five users to work collaboratively on a piece of writing. Each writer appears as a different color, and the instructor can chime in and make suggestions and comments to help guide the work. There is also a chat function that allows students to chat while they draft together. The example on the right is from a historical figure dinner party discussion assigned in a world history class. It was used to draft the conversation which was then posted on a wiki.
A collaborative brainstorming tool where students can create visual mind maps. You will need to log in to play with the following:
  • Name: wpwp teacher
  • Password: wpwp
Webspiration is another tool similar to this that I have used in the past. It has many more teacher friendly options, but unfortunately it is no longer offered for free. You can sign up for a 30 day trial at http://www.mywebspiration.com/
Same sort of tool as MIndmeister. Free and usable with no sign up. Signing up for a free account however gives you the ability to create a shared document where up to three people can contribute. You could also create a public space like the sandbox on the right, where anyone can contribute anonymously without logging in.
A fantastic (and free) tool to bring video conferencing right to your classroom for individual or whole class discussion. We have skyped with authors in our middle school and also used Skype to connect with the Republic of Georgia to have a cross country literary discussion with a class in Tbilisi.

Teacher Web-design Tools :

To create dynamic learning portals for students


Mentioned above, but worth repeating, as a teacher, this is probably the most versatile web tool there is and gets my recommendation as an absolute "must have". It gives quick, easy access to creating a dynamic web-based learning space for your students. Any type of file can be uploaded and many other web applications and videos can be embedded directly onto the site for quick, anytime access to materials to enrich, remediate and support what you do everyday in your classroom. It also offers a platform for discussion and genuine publication opportunities for students.
Tip: Start simple and build as you find new resources and uses for your wiki. This page is a good example of the power of wikispaces!
For more writing based applications, this is an excellent tool that allows students to create their own web-based writing portfolio. Whether it is reflection on reading, lab activities or relevance connections in math, blogs are a great way to see students thinking through content in informal writing.
Tip: The site is generous with what it offers for free, but paying for an educators subscription gives you many time saving capabilities, especially the ability to create multiple blogs and accounts for your students. It is well worth the investment even if it is just for one month to get your classes up and running.
Elementary friendly version of the above.

This is my personal favorite blogging tool because of all of the customizing options, especially when running it locally. This works well for setting up a class of student blogs like the English example at the right or for just showcasing student writing like the WPWP Young Writers sites do. Either way, there is some initial set up time, but it pays off in the long run because students really respond well to having their own writing space on the web.
This web-design tool uses flash to create a much more visually striking website than a wiki or a blog. Use it to design a webquest, a unit study guide, or a class web portal.
Tip: Start with one of the many templates and customize it to your liking
Similar to Facebook in look and feel, this social networking/classroom management platform is designed specifically for education. It allows you to set up multiple groups for your classes, upload a variety of documents and files, and communicate with all of your students from one interface.

Tools to Showcase Student Learning

Student Website Design Tools:

Provides authentic publishing opportunities and makes project based learning more transparent.


Since almost any file can be uploaded to or embedded in a wiki, this is an excellent tool for hosting group projects or creating individual portfolios. Students can also use the wiki as a way to design a web-based project. Because work is posted and accessible to other students or an even wider audience if you wish, this gives students an authentic audience beyond just the eyes of the teacher. It also makes the process of project based learning more transparent.
Tip: The new project feature on wikis gives you the ability to keep student or group pages private if you wish. See how to set one up for student writing portfolios here.
Weebly is a platform students can use to create dynamic, interactive websites with content. This gives them the ability to publish their work for an authentic audience and also makes them really transform content as they must think of ways to organize, summarize and make the content engaging.
Tip: try having students design websites that their peers will actually use to learn and/or review material.
Students can use Glogster to create multimedia digital posters that can be shared and commented on by teacher and peers. Students can even record their own video and testimony right in the Glogster tool to make the posters even more dynamic.
Tip: Glogster has taken away much of the teacher flexibility from its free subscription. To get more control as an educational tool, especially for younger users, you will need to pay for it. You might want to experiment with Notaland (below) as an alternative.
A collaborative, zooming presentation tool that you have to see to really understand. Gives students an entirely new perspective for designing and delivering presentations. While Powerpoint is linear and can, and usually is, "deadly" in the wrong hands, Prezi provides a unique alternative. TIP: Students must be 18 years old, so parent permission will be required. It is also beneficial to let the students see some good examples before venturing into a Prezi. The example to the right is from a public speaking class where students used the tool to present How to Survive...speeches. We presented them with a sample Prezi that gave an overview of the tool, then let them go.
Haiku Deck
An online presentation tool
An online community where students can create their own digital stories, games, and animations, using the basic principles of coding.
Museum Box
Describe a person, event or place by placing items and descriptions into a virtual box.

Digital Storytelling Tools:

Transformation of knowledge takes place when students are challenged to put content
into "story" form for an authentic audience.

The quickest and easiest way to create videos online using images, video clips, music and text. Eliminates the technical know how from making videos and creates impressive video mixes on it's own. Tip: Sign up at Animoto for education for free all access passes for your students.
We Video
There are plenty of options for editing movies like Windows MovieMaker and Apple's IMovie, but this one is hosted online and also allows students to collaborate on projects. It has most of the capabilities of other simple video editors and eliminates the problems that can come from student's editing video on school computers.
Tip: Tools4Students.wikispaces.com has some great tips for students doing movie projects!
A great online alternative to PhotoStory, allows for creation of slideshows with text and commentary that can be embedded onto a web page or wiki.

Go Animate
This is an animation tool that creates animated cartoons. This works well for student projects or to supplement other applications like the example on the right. This was part of a webquest designed for students to explore the Silk Road in a middle school social studies class.
The animated guide helped the along the way. Tip: This can be a "time sucker" because it takes a lot of tweaking. For student projects, make sure they have a clear plan before the start building an animation,
Domo Animate
A more elementary friendly version of Go Animate.
Maybe you've seen the Geico commercial with the superheroes that uses this tool and claims it only took fifteen minutes to create. This is a simple to use animation tool that lets your students write a script, then determine camera angles, etc. to create a quick video.
Tip: Use for shorter assignments or to larger projects. There is no ability to record narration and the computerized voices can get a little awkward, and have trouble with enunciation and pronunciation.
Bit Strips
Create digital cartoons and graphic comic books using this highly customizable comic creation tool. Tip:There is similar web tool called ToonDoo, but that one has a tendency to crash frequently. Also, as with other animation programs, make sure students have
a concrete idea before they start playing with the technology, otherwise you get all flash and no substance!
Probably the quickest and easiest way to do a podcast is with an Ipod or Ipad using a recording app like Garageband, Wavepad or even just the memo tool, but if those are not available, Aviary makes a pretty sophisticated and free version that does most of what Garageband can do.
Tip: There are also many ways to host and share podcasts like Podbean, but the easiest way I have found is to just publish them on a wiki.
Youtube or Teacher Tube
Hosting video projects on a private Youtube channel is a great way to showcase student work without the concerns of storage space.
Dipity is a digital timeline creator that will allow students to create a timeline using text, images and video.

Tools to Make Your Life Easier

It is no mistake that this tool appears so often on this website. Set up your wiki and start it as a basic website, then add to it as you find new uses and resources to build it into a dynamic resource for you and your students. Tweak it and add to it year after year.
Both are social bookmarking tools that let you take your favorite websites to the cloud where you can access them, catalog them and share them anytime, anywhere. Both tools work equally well, but my preference lies with Diigo for the ability to annotate websites and other options on the installed toolbar. There is also a nice Diigo app for Ipads. Feel free to browse my Diigo Bookmarks
Tip: Since many schools may not let you install the tool bar, there is a simple one called Digolet which does not require an install.
A network drive or flashdrive in the cloud, Dropbox is an excellent way to access and even share files on multiple web-devices. Pair it with Dropittome and students can submit files directly to your dropbox from any computer.
I Google provides a fully customizable homepage where you can check your Gmail, read your RSS subscriptions, access your favorite sites and add many dynamic widgets for a multitude of purposes you didn't even realize were possible.
Google Custom Search
Create custom searches engines for your students to search and browse right from your class web page.
RSS Readers
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Just look for the symbol and you can subscribe to any web based publication and get instant updates right on your feed reader like I Google or even right on your Wikispaces.
Jing is a free download and Screencastomatic is an online tool that will allow you to create narrated videos of anything you do on your computer screen. These screencasts could be used to create tutorials for students or have students create tutorials for each other or to show their thinking. These can also be done with Smart and Promethean software, but these tools make it quick and easy and can be accessed on any computer.
Upload, share and embed powerpoint presentations like the one at the top of this page.
The Digital Shift
A growing resource wiki with all of the above examples plus many more resources and tips for 21st century teaching.
Cool Tools For Schools
A site like the one mentioned at the beginning of this web-page, this is one of the best collections of web 2.0 tools I have found on the web.
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A site with numerous resources on instructional technology for secondary teachers, including iPad apps, Android for School, and Google tutorials.
An online resource for school teachers for teaching with technology.

Digital Tools For Enrichment-

Includes many of these tools and other resources for gifted support teachers.