Do you ever wonder how teachers create all those games that get students excited about learning? Are you worried that as a teacher you won’t be able to find enough innovative ideas to keep your students engaged? Check out ClassTools.net for endless activities and ideas for you and your students!
Many internet users, such as Alan A. Lew, have already discovered this useful tool and in his blog post written on January 25th, 2009 entitled Free Flash For Online Teaching Lew discusses background information on the site and what kind of purpose he thinks it serves in the classroom. The post talks about what classtools.net does and what it offers to students and to teachers. Lew explains how the tool was created by a history teacher in Deluce, France and how it provides free templates to embed into websites, wiki pages, and blogs that students can later access. For teachers, the tool offers many different template options to use and allows you to create everything from Venn diagrams, to animated books, to timelines. Teachers can fill in as much of each tool they want and then challenge students to fill in the rest of the information, testing what they can recall from memory as well as making learning a cooperative partnership between the teacher and the student. Finally, the blog post explains how when using classtools.net, students can save their work for up to twelve months at a time.
I think that this makes the website a great option for storing large amounts of classwork and content information online. This gives teachers the ability to create units with different handouts, activities, quizzes, and tests over the course of a few weeks during the school year. By creating it online, all the information about a unit is in one centralized location and gives students something to refer back to as a study tool for cumulative tests.
The website gives teachers all the tools, literally, that they need to use it successfully in the classroom. After watching a video of students using the tool, the students seem to remain engaged throughout the class period because they see learning the information as a competition between their classmates giving them more of an incentive to learn the information. Teachers use it as an alternative to traditional lecture style methods, using it as a supplemental instructional tool to present information to students. The following is a brief promotional video about what the tool has to offer:
After exploring the tool myself, I learned that it is very easy to use and makes learning easy for students by utilizing tools that they connect with such as fakebook (based off of facebook), and arcade games that are driven by certain educational topics. I tried some of the different options like “ Lights Out” which allows you to hide an image on the screen wherever you want and asks the viewer to use the mouse to find where it is. This symbolizes the lights “going out”. Then the objective is to use the flashlight to find the image on the screen.
You could use this on a test to have students identify important people or ideas as well as during class to spark conversation and discussion about the importance of certain people in history or connections between ideas. As you can see, the website allows you to enter in the information you want to focus on into game format so students are excited to test their knowledge using the different activities that you have created. The website also gives you a lot of classroom management and time management tools to use such as a random name generator where you can enter in the names of your students and press the button to call on a random student each time. This will give your students more opportunities to participate and eliminate the stress on the teacher to make sure they are calling on every student equally. The picture above is an example of how students could identify William Shakespeare using the Lights Out tool. The image will enlarge when clicked on.
Classtool.net is a great place to start when planning a lesson or activity for students. It is easy to use and can create a lot of variety and excitement in the classroom. All teachers and potential teachers should explore its opportunities. How do you think you could utilize it in your classroom? After exploring the site, what is your favorite tool on the website? Do you know of any other tools similar to this one that would be useful for teachers? Feel free to comment on these ideas below!