Digital Toolbelt

Hello teaching colleagues who integrate technology,

Do you have a digital toolbelt, that is, a set of online digital education tools that you use every day or at least every week in your work as a teacher?  If so, which tools do you use?

In your reply, if you have a little more time, for each tool please explain why and how you use it, and what you like about it.


David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group



Hi David and Tech Integrators!

I have a list a mile long of tools I really love to use but I find myself always gravitating towards the same few that tend to be versatile and allow for student voice and creation. 

Canva: Design tool that allows users to create designs and documents. This tool can be used to create infographics, posters, graphic organizers and much more! It's great for both students and teachers, and users can work from already existing templates. They also have mini graphic design lessons.

Spiral: I love Spiral because it's an all in one formative assessment tool. They offer four different types of formative assessments that promote student dialogue, allow for different mediums (video, drawing, text), and provide easy to read data for teachers to use to drive instruction. 

Twitter: Twitter is my go to resource for my own professional learning and growth. There are so many educators on Twitter with fantastic resources and ideas. Twitter played an integral role in the Passion Projects I completed with my students several years ago. I was able to connect and chat with a whole network of teachers from the #geniushour community that provided me resources and advice for getting started. I've been able to share a lot of my own ideas and resources with others through Twitter too. We need more adult educators on Twitter, I encourage everyone to join! I'm on Twitter as @beckyshy if anyone would like to connect!



Becky Shiring

Twitter is definitely a Go-to for me.   THe #mtbos is an amazing group for math :)   I use tweetdeck so I can keep track of *anything* anybody tweets about #OER, #mtbos, #LearnwithIM (learn with Illustrative Math), and right now, #OpenEd18 because I'll be presenting at that conference ... 

GIMP is what I use to create visuals -- it's the Open Source image modification software something like PhotoShop.   (There's a thing called InkScape for the stuff you would do in Illustrator but I'm usually doing something simple wiht stars or number lines.)   It's definitely got a learning curve but there are all kinds of tutorials (and I've got a little six-minute video about making a number line here:     .   

I use word processors and the Internet and the Snipping Tool to snag stuff from the Internet ... and now I'm going to sneak back to Geogebra  and keep learning about math lessons... 


Hi Everyone - 

I created a PDF of my top 6 tech tools that I use in my classes to help teachers get started with implementing technology into their adult ESL classroom. You can download it from my website:

  1. G-Suite - We use single sign-on using Google for almost all of our classroom apps. Students create a Gmail address for class on Day 1. It streamlines login issues for the students and me.
  2. SymbalooEDU - A digital bookmarking tool where I store all my classroom apps in a webmix and I save my webmix as my browser homepage for instant access.
  3. Remind - A FERPA-compliant app for communication with my students. I sign them up myself and send out a text reminder of our first day of class, announcements, class links, etc.
  4. Seesaw - A simple e-portfolio with a QR code reader, camera, and microphone built into the app. Easiest tool ever for my students to visually track their progress.
  5. Quizlet - Digital flashcards with game-based learning at its finest. There are up to 8 different games for students to use to learn vocabulary, grammar, etc. in a fun way.
  6. USA Learns - Our free distance learning program. It helps us improve our students' progress faster and make the gains we need to show to our grant providers in order to keep our program running.

If anyone is interested in learning more about using the first 5 of my favorite tech tools, I'm officially kicking off a 5-day challenge NEXT MONDAY (August 20) to help ESL instructors get ready for the semester and smoothly implement technology into their classrooms. You'll learn how to organize your tech tools, lay down technology foundations for your classroom, and scaffold the learning curve for your students in 5 DAYS.


Register here ---->

Like the toolbox in my house, there are some tools that I almost always use, and then there are others that I use sometimes, especially for online learning.  (Headings are linked to the app or product.) 

Hovercam and Notester

This small document camera displays to my screen (not a projector) so I can share with my online students anything on my desk.  I'll be using it today with Quizlet to show webinar attendees how it works on a phone and a table.  Notester is software within the Hovercam platform that lets me take snapshots (for students who are absent).  It also has annotation tools, but since my online class primarily uses WebEx meetings, we use their annotation tools instead.


I fell in love with Quizlet the first time I used it in a face-to-face class and a student asked if she could do it at home.  Yes.  Yes, you can!  Since then, I've become a Quizlet Ambassador.  I'm doing a training for Texas AEL today.  (Sorry, but it's not open outside of our PD Portal.)  Quizlet LIVE is hilarious and very useful for instruction.  They have great diagrams for learning concrete nouns as well as many other things.  One of my international students recently became a grandmother.  We went over "baby vocabulary" in class and SHE created a set and shared it with the class.   Love, Love, Love. 


Both my F2F and my online students have become very proficient at Google Docs (for "write arounds", class notes, etc.), Google Slides, and Google Forms (for quizzes).  I also use Google Shets for administrative purposes, like tracking attendance, but I haven't used it much with students. These are useful tools for collaboration, differentiation, and general instruction.

The QR Code Generator

There are so many things I can do with QR codes in class.  In fact, I just did a session on this at Literacy Texas and the participants were surprised at all the things you can do.  Beyond sharing URLs without students mistyping them, I can create games like identifying something we've learned about by giving out QR codes with clues to different people.  The people then have to find their group (by the first clue) and then figure out "thing" the group has (like the Revolutionary War or the Bill of Rights).  So much fun.  With a Google account, you can also keep them for later.

PollEverywhere and AnswerGarden

I love the different kinds of polls on PollEverywhere, and that I can keep them and reuse them.  AnswerGarden is useful when I need a quick spot check assessment.  Answers have to be short, but the program does automatically provide a QR code, which is great for my students.


I fought this for a long time, but my students finally wore me down.  I created a WhatsApp group for my different classes and it has been wonderful.  I share projects with students who may not have been able to make that class.  This encouraged them to return.  I also help a distance class from an airplane!  It's the easiest way to send out information, forms.  For ESL, it allows them to send video and audio.  It is now my go-to communication platform.


I probably have 100 more, but these are the ones that I use EVERY WEEK.  I hope you try them if you haven't used them before.



Hi Glenda, 

Do you have some links to Quizlet samples? How long does it take you to create a quiz? Do any others in this group use Quizlet? Do you have examples you can share? I'm thinking about using this tool with some of my Developmental English classes and would love to see some ideas. 


Hi Glenda, this is a great list. Which model hovercam are you using? I see different options on their website. A few of the educators in our program are curious about doc cameras and I'd like to give them a recommendation.

I use my cell phone, YouTube videos, and a projector.  Wish I had direct internet connection...I'm wearing out my cell phone.  Haven't tried setting up a VPN on it because signals are so weak.  Also have found to be a very helpful site.  Trying to make better use of Google docs and classroom, but I need more training/help to organize it.