10 Very Good Web Tools to Engage Students in Hands-on Activities in Class

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As advocates of the ‘learning-by-doing’ approach in education, we strongly believe that students learn best when they are engaged in authentic learning activities. Learning by doing is actually the first learning form our ancestors drew on to tame the harsh world around them. Through it they discovered how to light fire, how to hunt together, and how to connect and lay the groundwork for the ‘civilized’ world we live in now. At the core of the learning by doing philosophy is  maximizing students engagement in the learning process through real or simulated activities where students get to experiment with various ideas, tools and resources. It is a student-centred approach that puts the learner behind the wheel. In today’s post, we are sharing with you 10 good web tools that will help you integrate the ethos of this learning-by-doing methodology in your instruction. You can use them in your class to engage your students in hands-on activities while having fun and developing collaborative and team work skills. 

1- Flipgrid

‘Flipgrid is a video-based discussion platform you can use to engage your students in a wide variety of learning experiences. The way it works is very simple: as a teacher you create a grid for your class, then you add a topic for discussion and students share their responses in short recorded videos. Students can also view and reply to each others video feedback and build a dynamic interactive learning community. As the creator of a grid, you get access to different moderating features that include the ability to password lock your grid and approve videos before they are shared with others in your grid community. And if you have a classroom blog or website, you can easily embed your grids and videos there.’

2- Quizziz

'Quizizz allows you to create interactive quiz games to use in your instruction for a number of educational purposes including formative assessment. Quiz games you create have up to 4 answer options including a correct answer. You can also add images to the background of your questions and customize the settings of your questions the way you want. When your quizzes are ready you can share them with your students using a generated 5 digit code.'

3- Tinkercad

This is a simple and easy to use 3D design and 3D printing app that allows students to engage in various hands-on activities involving the making of toys, prototypes, Minecraft models using  Tinkercad ’s building blocks.

4- LEGO Education

‘From preschool to middle school, LEGO Education provides a continuum of hands-on playful learning tools that engage every student's natural curiosity, and help them develop the skills and confidence they'll need in the future.’

5- Sutori

 Sutori is a great digital storytelling platform students can use to create and share stories. Sutori offers a number of interesting features most important of them is story collaboration which allows students to work on the same story together and in realtime just as is the case in a Google doc. Students can embed different forms of multimedia content into their stories including images, videos, text, podcast and audio. Besides using YouTube videos, students can even upload their own videos and use them in their stories.’

6- Google Drive Tools

Google Drive services such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Forms, and Drawings are all excellent tools to plan, organize and engage students in various collaborative learning projects including the creation of presentations, questionnaires, surveys, spreadsheets, charts and many more.

7- Canva

If you are to engage students in creating educational visuals such as posters and infographics Canva is a good option to use. Students can utilize it to design various document types including: brochures, newsletters, book covers, logos, reports, flyers and many more.

8- Science Buddies

‘Looking for inspiration for a science fair project? Science Buddies has over 1,150 Project Ideas in all areas of science. The Topic Selection Wizard tool can help you find a project you will enjoy!’

9- Padlet

‘Padlet is a digital canvas to create beautiful projects that are easy to share and collaborate on. It works like a piece of paper. We give you an empty page - a padlet - and you can put whatever you like on it. Drag in a video, record an interview, snap a selfie, write your own text posts or upload some documents, and voilĂ ! A padlet is born. Make it even more beautiful by choosing custom wallpapers and themes.’

10- Make Beliefs Comix

‘This is a great platform that students can use to practice their writing and digital storytelling skills through generating strip comics. Students are provided with a wide variety of characters, objects, speech bubbles, and thought cubes to use to create their stories. After they are done they can download, print or share their work through popular social media websites.’