The top five tools that I like are the following: Wordle, Historypin, spicynodes, wikispaces, and classtools.net.
Wordle is great because it simple and easy to use for every age. It fits perfectly for history/English content areas, and focusing on history it is amazing. My two favorite ways to use this is for speeches and articles. You can look at the main themes, players, and subject in a document and understand why those are important. You can also use it for prior knowledge, class rules, and for vocabulary.
Historypin grew on me a lot since I first learned about it. At a first glance, I thought that HP was too hard to use for my future students and had too much going on. But once you understand the features of HP it is a great learning tool for history. You can look at pictures and videos from the past and it is an unique way to share the story of certain subjects to your students. The best thing about it is how you can see a famous building from one time period and see how it changed over time. I think this would be great for projects, essays, and classroom assignments. This tool makes your students critically think and use their imagination, which is limited in public schools.
Spicynodes is a perfect tool for organization. Concept maps are extremely important for social studies. And SN is a great tool to organize information and have a little fun while doing this. This would be a great way for your students to get ready for an test, for them to organize a presentation, and to break down information into subgroups.
Wikispaces is another important tool for teachers and students. I think this tool would be better used for older students and AP/honor classes do to the complexity of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ot00 difficult but you do have to have above average computer skills to use it. This tool offers a great way to have a “space” to organize information for a class or project for groups. You can use it to submit individual work for a group project so other group members can see it and check it. You can also use it to post reading assignments and other homework for your students. This is why I don’t see middle schoolers using it, but I could be wrong.
Classnotes is a cool way to bring out simple tools to the web. My mom uses it when she teachers her high school classes. Basically, it’s a way to use technology to make a simple assignment interesting. A good example of this is a boring Venn diagram (sorry Caitlyn). Kids don’t like doing them because they have done one a thousand times and they are somewhat boring. Classnotes brings that dull task to life. Students like using computers and technology, so this site lets you do a Venn diagram on the Computer (among other tasks)! This can spice up your class on a dull day or make something different and change the pace. Defiantly check it out and let me know what you think.