Joy and knowledge

Top Tech Tools

I have long since been a fan of learning technologies. As a creative educator, technology is a magnet for people like me: it has the power to unlock the world of learning for everyone.

Beginning my teaching career by being plunged headlong into basic English, maths and ICT classes, technology was a friend- a video clip or animation could do far more for explaining the difference between mean, median and mode than I could. A song could engage adults in remembering what a conjunction is (‘conjunction junction’- just say those two words to these men and I’m almost certain they’d break out into song now!) Over six years, tablets, apps, Chromebooks and Google appeared- my classroom and many others had been transformed.
The learning technologies market is now so flooded with tools that it can be incredibly time-consuming to find the best tool for the job. If you’re not particularly tech savvy, it can prove a challenge to truly get to grips with one tool let alone several.

I intend to update this post regularly with my favourite tools and I will accompany each one with a tutorial video to guide you through their use.


This has to go at the top of my list, especially now that there’s now finally an app to accompany it.

  • Login for the teacher or facilitator
  • No login for the student
  • Free (paid options if you want them)
  • PC and app
  • Plenty of customisation available- background, layout of posts, web address

A teacher create a login and sets up the ‘wall’ on their PC, laptop or app and then shares the link with learners via their VLE, community, social media, QR code or classroom presentation/display. The student goes to the address and double clicks on the wall to make their post- putting in their name and then their post. They can choose to accompany their post with a link, video or image too.

So what can it be used for?

  • Starters
  • Plenaries
  • Reflections
  • Gathering research
  • Collaborative working
  • Providing feedback
  • Debate/discussion


This is by far my favourite classroom quiz tool (although colleagues tell me that I should revisit Socrative as it’s developed a great deal since my last use of it).

  • Login for the teacher
  • No login for the student- just a classroom code to join
  • Students are given an avatar automatically upon joining the class
  • No need for an app
  • Plenty of customisation options- leaderboards, showing answers, time limits…
  • Results can be downloaded
  • Multiple choice questions only

A teacher creates a login and sets up the quiz of multiple choice questions (including images if they wish). Two or more options can be added for each question. The teacher can start the game from the front of the classroom and this will generate the details to join the class (or they can set the quiz up and send the student the code as homework). They can view students as they join the class and start the quiz as soon as all students have joined. Once the quiz has begun then students can work through it at their own pace before answers are reviewed (in a variety of ways) and downloaded onto an excel spreadsheet if needed.

So what can it be used for?

  • Starters
  • Plenaries
  • Reflections
  • Checking learning
  • Checking confidence
  • Flipped learning (if set as homework)
  • Online learning (if set as homework)


This is the only mind-mapping tool I’d consider using…for the time being.

  • Login for the teacher
  • Login for the student
  • Collaboration possible for multiple contributors to one mindmap
  • Plenty of customisation available: background colour, box colours, size and layout
  • Zoom in and out options
  • Multimedia can be added- links, images and videos
  • Share with others easily via link and/or embedding
  • Problems viewing on Chromebooks but can create them

This tool can be used easily by teacher and student alike, although there are greater possible options for student use. The user creates their account and a new Popplet. Each box on the mindmap is a Popple (double-click to create one) and these are attached to other Popples via lines that can be dragged and moved. Boxes can be resized, recoloured and other content can be added.

So what can it be used for?

  • Mind-mapping a discussion in or out of class
  • Generating a summary of learning as formative or summative assessment
  • Creating a summary of a topic or a unit for revision
  • Collating research conducted in or out of class
  • Individual projects
  • Collaborative projects
  • Gathering feedback from the students about their learning experience

See some great student-generated Popplets here


Wunderlist. The only productivity app that has ever worked for me.

  • Login once
  • Use on PC, tablet app and mobile app
  • Set folders (categories) of to do lists
  • Some customisation available- profile image and background image
  • Set dates for task completion
  • Assign to do list items to others- works well for collaborative projects

The user can create folders of to do lists. Each of the to do lists in the folder can be named as a project. To do list items can be added at the click of a button and moved up and down in order of priority. To do tasks can be dated as well as assigned to other users. It works well for collaborative projects both for staff and students.

So what can it be used for?

  • Productivity and time management
  • Organisation of collaborative projects between staff
  • Organisation of collaborative projects between students
  • Target setting perhaps


This is a fantastic tool for making videos more interactive in and out of class.

  • Login for teacher
  • Login for student
  • Classroom code for students
  • Available on desktop PC, laptop and mobiles/devices
  • Plenty of customisation options- choice of video, question types and crop video too
  • Huge capacity for tracking and data- teacher can track completion and success rates
  • Immediate feedback options as well as later specific teacher-generated feedback too

The teacher can use videos from a variety of sources or upload their own. They can crop the videos if necessary and then add audio notes, written comments, MCQs and open questions. These videos can then be shared with one class or several with deadlines or not.

So what can it be used for?

  • Flipped learning
  • Post-lesson homework
  • In class video interactivity
  • Starter
  • Plenary
  • End of topic formative assessment
  • Start of topic initial assessment


This is an infographic creator with presentation mode too. I’m even considering paid membership!

  • Teacher/creator login
  • No viewer/student login required
  • No app is available- PC/laptop use only
  • Plenty of customisation available- themes are made available but plenty of icons, colours and text options to choose from too.
  • Links and images can be added

The creator of a Piktochart infographic creates a login and chooses from the templates or a blank one to be customised. They then choose from the many options available to make their infographic before sharing it any of the ways offered.

So what can it be used for?

  • Introduction to a new topic
  • Summary of a studied topic/unit
  • Flipped learning
  • Post-lesson homework
  • Presentation of student research
  • Outline of a schedule/key dates
  • To enliven otherwise dull information

Google Apps

You can read my appraisal of all things Google here.


iPad apps

You can view all the iPad apps I’m using and would recommend here.

Coming soon- PearlTrees, PowToon, Smore and Canva

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

3 Responses

  1. Oh Hannah, I think you should not overlook (the premium version of) Evernote and MindMaple (mindmapping tool)

    1. Hi, thanks for the suggestions! I am testing out Evernote now. Many of these tools work best for students and therefore anything paid is something I try to avoid. MindMaple looks interesting- thanks for the recommendation (no good for my learners that don’t have Apple products though).

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Slightly ajar laptop screen

Aligning technology with the world of work. Jisc, 2015

In my role as Learning and Development Manager at Reading College, I contributed to a Jisc case study on education technologies and professional development for the publication, Technology for employability: FE and skills case studies, 2015.