California Educator

June/July 2021

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DOTSTORMING: C O L L A B O R A T I V E B R A I N S T O R M I N G Dotstorming ( offers a powerful collection of tools such as voting boards and "walls" (whiteboards and collages) that enable collaboration. Students collaborate, post and share their ideas, leave feedback for their peers, and come to a consensus, all via a digital bulletin board that allows them to vote up their favorite contributions from their classmates. For example, I used Dotstorming to brainstorm and prioritize expectations for our virtual option this past school year. As a group, we shared ideas and then voted to determine our collective priorities. CLASSKICK: I N T E R A C T I O N W I T H C L A S S R O O M M A T E R I A L S With Classkick (, teachers upload content that would normally be print materials to the site. Then, they and their students can add drawings, audio, video, text and more to mark up the content. Teachers can see all students working at the same time if they 're doing a synchronous activity, making it easier to provide just-in-time feedback directly on their canvases. Classkick gained momentum this past year, particularly with online primary teachers. The ability for students to draw and record on their screen has been a game changer among emerging readers. This article has been adapted from a story that originally ran on in April 2021, under the same title. VIDEOANT: L I V E LY V I D E O D I S C U S S I O N S When developing online lessons, it's standard practice to create videos or find instructional videos from YouTube, particularly with asynchronous instruction. However, simply sharing a video as part of direct instruction is not always effective, because it can lack the critical engagement component: It's a one-way street of delivery that can make students passive. VideoAnt (, which was created by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, can change that dynamic by allowing students to add their own com- ments or annotations to an online video (either one you've created or one from YouTube). It transforms any video into a discussion activity. BLOOKLET: E N G A G I N G G A M E S If you love playing review games like Kahoot! or Quizizz with your class but are looking for something new, try Blooket ( As with other review games, teachers set up the game and students join in using a code that you display on the screen. You can create a game from scratch or browse the Blooket community for games that other educators have designed. Blooket stands out from similar tools because it offers a variety of educational games that help students remain engaged. Students can play independently or in teams and can earn coins and avatars called Blooks. KIALO EDU: T O F O S T E R D E B A T E Discussion boards are common tools in online classrooms, but they don't always work that well when it comes to facilitating complex conversations or debates. Enter Kialo Edu (, a custom version of debate site Kialo, which is designed for classrooms and helps build critical thinking skills. Instead of participating in a linear discussion thread, students provide evi- dence for their claims on either side of an issue using Kialo's pro and con tree structure. They can then explore the arguments shared by their classmates and develop those further with supporting evidence and counterarguments. 45 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 21

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