5 Free EdTech Tools Every Teacher Should Know and Use

Today’s classroom is no stranger to technology. Teachers have a myriad of educational apps, tools and resources at their fingertips. Here we have handpicked some of the best EdTech tools that you can use to transform your classroom—enjoy!

Free Edtech Tools

Long gone are the days when sneaking a peek at your phone screen was a thrilling adventure that could get you in trouble, and your phone, banished. In today’s classrooms, not just students, but—increasingly—teachers are looking toward technology as a valuable ally. And rightly so! With a gamut of amazing—and free—EdTech tools at their disposal, teachers can transform their lesson plans into engaging, collaborative, challenging learning experiences. Of course, with literally hundreds of tools available in the market, the challenge is in figuring out the best ones for your use. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We have scoured the ends of the internet, and handpicked the best free EdTech tools for teachers. Read on to find out who’s on our list!

Kahoot

Liven up your classroom

Be it a lesson on irregular French verbs, the cell structure of plants, or the fall of the Roman Empire, Kahoot will transform your classroom into an exciting, competitive game show. Kahoot is where gamification meets collaboration. Taking your regular old multiple-choice questions, Kahoot lets you create a game-show like experience with all the bells and whistles—a buzzer, a countdown timer, fun sounds effects, and engaging colourful graphics. And the best part? Your whole class can get involved at the same time and play together with their smartphones. As most apps these days, Kahoot comes has a premium version with some extra frills, but the free version gives you everything you need to make your classroom fun.

Prezi

Design engaging teaching material

Prezi has been around for a while, but it is still one of the best tools available in the market for creating dynamic, flowing presentations. It is a great way for teachers to organize ideas in a visual format. You could use Prezi to create detailed mind-maps, to explain the relationship between multiple concepts or historical events, or even just to make a simple presentation look really beautiful! Prezi, too, has both free and premium versions, with the premium versions offering benefits like offline access, some fancy presenter controls, and even analytics. But if all you need is to create engaging presentations for your classroom, the free version should do the job.

Edmodo

Take the learning outside the classroom

If you’re looking for a one-stop solution that lets you manage and organize your class outside the classroom, your search would probably end with Edmodo. A free learning management tool with a Facebook-like interface, Edmodo is a versatile resource in a teacher’s repertoire. Edmodo facilitates your communication with your students when not in class. From creating and tracking assignments, to sharing educational resources, starting online discussions, and posting class announcements, Edmodo lets you do it all. What’s more, Edmodo gives you the opportunity to connect with teachers around the world, to collaborate with them share your experiences, and improve as a teacher.

Remind

Communicate effectively with students and parents

While the most important part of a teacher’s job is, well, teaching, regular communications with students and their parents is an inevitable—and often a time-consuming—aspect of the job. Remind lets you, as the name suggests, send reminders and notifications to students and families without having to share personal contact details. With options to share group as well as individual messages, Remind takes care of most of your communication outside the classroom.

Quillionz

Leverage questions to engage students

As teachers, we rely on questions every day. Whether it is for a homework assignment, a pop-quiz, or to create a game on Kahoot, we always have a need for questions. Quillionz is a unique online platform that understands this need, and provides an easy way to create questions. Using artificial intelligence, Quillionz helps you create questions on your teaching content, quickly and efficiently. It works with any textual content—a chapter in the textbook, an article off the internet, or even a video transcript—and automatically creates factual questions on it in a matter of seconds. A tool that works best with informative and factual content—as most educational content tends to be—Quillionz is a valuable tool for teachers to add to their arsenal.

That’s our list! Do you agree? What EdTech tools do you normally rely on to make your job easier? Let us know in the comments!

The Role of Questions in Learning

Why do we ask questions? From an early age, we wield questions to interact with our environment. Most of us have played the ‘why’ game as a child to satisfy our curiosity about the world around us. As adults, too, we tend to rely on questions continually. And as educators especially, we encounter and leverage questions every day. Teachers ask hundreds of questions in the classroom, and so do learners. But why? What is it about questions that makes them so important in an instructional setting? What exactly is the purpose of questions?

Questions in traditional learning

Questions have always been central to the process of learning. Can you imagine a classroom without questions? Hardly! Whether it’s the student doing the asking or the teacher, questions form the basis of classroom interactions early-on. Of course, depending on which side of the classroom you are on, the purpose of questions naturally defers. If teachers perceive questions as a tool with which to assess and evaluate, students value questions as a means to learn, prepare, and improve.

Questions evaluate.

Questions are arguably one of the most powerful tools in a teacher’s arsenal. Teachers have always relied on questions to evaluate their students. A learning experience cannot be complete without evaluation, in some shape or form. Only through evaluations can teachers measure students’ knowledge and understanding of the learning content. Evaluation is necessary to measure the learning outcomes and by extension the success of the learning experience. And in the traditional classroom setting, evaluation usually translates into questions.

Questions evaluateBy asking the right questions, teachers assess how well a student has understood the concepts and information taught in the class. Good questions help teachers identify knowledge gaps which need to be addressed, or students who are struggling with the material and need help. Take for example, an app like Socrative, a tool that doesn’t just help teachers with assessment, but also shares insights into student performance. Essentially, teachers leverage questions not just to measure the success or failure of their students, but of the learning experience itself, and by extension, to improve their teaching.

Questions build confidence.

Students need questions just as much as teachers do, if for different reasons. As students we use questions to measure and prepare ourselves. Mock-tests, flashcards, study sessions—at some point or other, we have all turned to questions to get us ready for all those important tests we had to take. Questions don’t just help a student understand where they need to improve. With every question you get right, they build your confidence, make you feel ready to take on the challenge, and assured of your own success.

Just look at an app like Anki—something that’s based entirely on students using questions to practice and prepare themselves. The popularity of Anki-like tools just goes to highlight how much students depend on questions.

Evolving role of questions

Evaluation and preparation were the typical functions of questions, especially in the classroom learning context. Today, however, the value of questions has evolved beyond its traditional purposes. We live in a world that is rife with information. In an era of smartphones, Google, and social media, information is available literally at our fingertips. The challenge no longer lies in finding the information, but in being able to absorb and process the flood of information that overwhelms us from all directions. With the overabundance of content and our ever-reducing attention spans, what we need is a new way of presenting content; one that grabs our attention, incites us to take in the information, and makes it easy for us to process it. And this is where we must, once again, look to questions.

Questions drive engagement.

Questions drive engagementQuestions have the power to make learning interactive. Questions invite answers. They require students to get involved and participate. Questions can break the monotony of the classroom and encourage students to engage in the learning process. A well-designed question poses just the right kind of challenge for students to tackle. This is especially relevant today, when increasingly, learning is moving away from the traditional classroom environment and entering the digital realm. Without the physical presence of a teacher, with your learning interactions primarily involving a screen, it is all the more important that the content itself be engaging enough to sustain your attention. A popular solutions teachers and instructional designers rely on to handle this challenge, is to devise elaborate gamified learning experiences. And what is at the core of gamified learning, if not questions? Game-based learning interactions are, in the simplest terms, questions woven through the logic and flow of a game scenario. Consider Kahoot for example, something that lets teachers create a bunch of learning games.

And this is just one way in which questions liven up learning experiences. Quizzes, games, story-based assessments, and more—teachers and instructional designers exploit the potential of questions in so many different ways to engage their learners.

Questions arouse curiosity.

How many of us prefer Quora as our go-to source of information these days, over most others? Quora understands and leverages the power of question—their unique ability to make people curious. It’s not just that we ask questions when we are curious about something; in fact, the rightly worded question has the power to arouse our curiosity too. Take this, for example, one of the most popular Quora questions: “What’s the most epic photo ever taken?” Or this one: “What are the most surreal places one can ever visit?” Or finally this gem: “Given our current technology and with the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman?” Don’t you feel like you just have to find out where they lead you?

When something is phrased as a question, it draws a learner in, gives them a fascinating glimpse of what’s to come, and makes them want to know more. What’s more, when the question resonates with the learner, when they’re curious enough to want to know the answer, they are better prepared to understand that answer. This means that, if it’s a question that leads your learners to the content, they will probably be able to process and absorb it better.

Questions can essentially act as a gateway. If a question fails to arouse your curiosity, you probably won’t read the answer. If, on the other hand, a question does manage to make you curious, you’ll follow its trail, and go the content. And better still, you may be able to understand it more easily.

Questions arouse curiosity

In today’s era of content overload, we need questions more than ever before. Everywhere around you, you find answers that you didn’t need at all. But if only you ask the right questions, you can fight the content overload and get to exactly what you want. As teachers, asking the right questions ensures that your learners will be more engaged in the learning process. As learners, asking the right questions will help you find precisely the content you need in an overwhelming sea of information, and absorb it much more effectively.

And this is exactly where Quillionz has a role to play. Quillionz helps you leverage this unique power of questions. Armed with intelligent algorithms that understand your content, Quillionz lets you create a host of questions in a matter of seconds. With the power to create a huge number of questions in the blink of an eye, you have the freedom to use them in creative ways to enhance your learning experiences.

Click here to learn more about how Quillionz helps you explore the true potential of questions.

Getting Started with Quillionz: A Quick Guide

Whether you are a teacher, a trainer, a subject-matter expert, or an instructional designer, the idea of a free, ‘AI-powered’ quiz-maker evokes a mixed response. It is very enticing, of course—just think about all the time, effort, and hassle it will save!  It will take some weight off your shoulders and will free you up to focus on more creative aspects of your work. At the same time, you are skeptical about how well it will actually work; worried that it will disrupt your work patterns; and wary of the costs lurking behind the promise of ‘completely free’.

In this article, our goal is to lay out the concept of Quillionz, explain how it works, and help you visualize how it can fit in with your work patterns. As you will see in the following paragraphs, it is super simple to adopt and hardly requires you to change your habits. And yes, it really is completely free.

What is Quillionz?

Quillionz is an AI-driven platform building quizzes and assessments. Quillionz harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to create the right questions from your teaching material, within seconds.

Why Quillionz?

The Quillionz team has years of experience in education and eLearning. We understand that asking the right questions is central to a quality learning experience. Quillionz lets you create more questions, build more quizzes—faster and more efficiently. With Quillionz you can unlock the true potential of questions to create complex and engaging learning experiences.

How do I use Quillionz?

This is how Quillionz works, in four simple steps:

  1. Submit content
    To get started, simply copy the content on which you want questions, and paste it in Quillionz. Your content could be anything in text format—a chapter, an article, a website page, or even the transcript of a video. All we ask is that it contain at least 300 words. This is because, the Quillionz AI engine relies on natural language processing (NLP) algorithms. The longer a text is, the easier it is for the NLP algorithms to understand it.
  2. Choose keywords
    Quillionz shortlists the important keywords for creating questions. All you need to do is tell Quillionz which of the suggested keywords are more important, and Quillionz will know where to focus its questions.
  3. Review content
    Quillionz identifies the parts of your content which need to be tweaked and edited so that the AI algorithms can smoothly process everything. Just follow the Quillionz’s recommendations, and your content will be ready for the Quillionz AI engine, in no time.
  4. Get questions
    Once your content is ready, Quillionz will create a set of quality questions in seconds. We know that AI cannot replace human expertise; and no one knows your content as well as you do. That’s why, Quillionz makes sure that you are completely in charge of tweaking and enhancing the questions as you see fit. You can delete a question, and even edit it on the spot. Once you’re happy with the question set, just export it, and use it as you please!

What sort of content can I use with Quillionz?

Quillionz works best with content that is structured and factual, and doesn’t follow too complex a writing style. Most instructional and educational content, therefore, is ideal for Quillionz. If your content is very subjective or expressive—a blog post, for example; if it includes long and convoluted sentences—such as a legal text; or if it is highly specialized to a domain and contains specific jargon—for instance a medical research article, Quillionz may not be the best option for you.

What about the ownership rights of my content?

With Quillionz, there are no data sensitivity or security concerns. Your content is entirely yours. What we create, we create for you, and share with you. We do not use or monetize your original text input content nor the Quillionz-created questions.

Is Quillionz really free? What’s the catch?

Rest assured, when we say Quillionz is completely free, we mean it. There are no hidden costs. Use Quillionz as much as you want, as creatively as you want. In fact, we can’t wait to see all the innovative applications of Quillionz you come up with!

Why? Because the more you use Quillionz, the more our AI engine learns. With every quiz created using Quillionz, the Quillionz ML algorithms improve. With every question that you select or delete, Quillionz gets better at picking the right questions for you. So really, that’s our catch!

Quillionz is here to help you create quizzes more efficiently. We are excited to see you make this unique AI-powered platform your own, and transform the way you design tests and assessments. Join thousands of teachers, trainers, and instructional designers in experiencing the next innovation in EdTech.

Click here to get started with Quillionz now!

Keeping Up with Changes in Learning Content

If you are a subject-matter expert or a trainer, dealing with ever-changing content is an inevitable part of your work. In a world where technology evolves with the speed of light and workplace requirements shift from one day to the next, the shelf-life of your training content seems to be shrinking fast. New regulations, updates in policies and procedures, technology innovations or product changes are just some of the drivers that contribute to the unstable nature of your content. And there is simply nothing for it… you must keep up with the change and adapt to the new requirements as they come.

Challenges with unstable content

Usually, there are four key areas that are affected by these changes—curriculum content, media assets, technology, and assessment content.

Challenges with unstable contentNaturally, the curriculum changes are the most critical. There is no escaping them. Fortunately, with your domain knowledge and expertise, you can handle these changes with ease and finesse. They are a matter of course for you.

As far as the media and technology are concerned, these decisions tend to fall outside of your purview. The production and deployment is often delegated to a production team, and so these changes don’t impact your workflow too much.

What remains is the assessment content, and that, I would say, is the real challenge in this whole process.

The problem with questions

Questions are indispensible in training and eLearning. Without good questions, there is no way to evaluate your learners, or reinforce their learning. Someone has to create them. But, as SMEs, your time is extremely valuable. If, with every refreshment of the content cycle, you spent hours creating simple multiple-choice or True-False questions, you would barely have time to do anything else.

The problem with questions - 1In recently had a conversation with the L&D head of a professional education institution on the topic of question creation. She mentioned that her SMEs spend anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour on creating as single MCQ. Some of you may think this is an inordinate amount of time, but considering the time it takes to review learning objectives, read the learning content, frame a question, plan distractors, and write feedback for each right or wrong choice – the minutes add up.

It is obvious that writing simple level-1 questions—the most prolific ones in eLearning—is just not the best use of your time.

To delegate or not to delegate

So you delegate, or you outsource. You pass your content on to an instructional designer or a vendor, and get them to write the assessment questions. Unfortunately, even that isn’t an optimal solution. Sending your content to someone else may save you the effort, but the process remains time-consuming.

To delegate or not to delegateThey can’t be expected to know your content as well as you do, so they must take the time to go through the content, understand it, and then create the questions. And if the questions aren’t up to your expectations, the cycle of review and rework only ends up delaying the process even further.

Looking beyond the status quo

Clearly, the conventional options available to you for handling this challenge are inadequate; they fail to address the crux of the problem. A choice between creating questions yourself and outsourcing them is not going to resolve this perpetual dilemma.

We need to look beyond these limited options. We need to think outside the box and devise an innovative framework; a framework that doesn’t force you to choose between time and quality and sacrifice one for the other; a solution that finds the perfect balance between the two. And this is where Quillionz can help you. With a perfect synergy between artificial intelligence and human intelligence, Quillionz makes your question creation process more efficient, without compromising the quality.

Click here to get started with Quillionz now!