by Lori Lalama, Clifton Teachers Association

Have you felt overwhelmed trying to choose fun and engaging applications that will motivate your students in your class?  There are so many great applications out there that can transform your assignments into dynamic, inspirational projects.

I attended the Florida Education Technology Conference, a four-day conference in January at the Orange County Convention Center. The theme of the conference was “The Future of Educational Technology” and how it related across all subjects, grade levels, and incorporated different roles within the field of education. The applications, that I will be sharing, came from that conference.

We need to transform learning through innovation, collaboration and to discover new ways to spark changes. Are you ready to go on a journey to discover new applications with me? I will break them up into different sections with an explanation for each link. So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit by your computer and try the links that I will be sharing with you.

Research platforms

Flipgrid: This is where your students go to share ideas and learn together. It’s video the way students use video. Short. Authentic. And fun! That’s why it’s the leading video discussion platform used by tens of millions of Pre-K to Ph.D. educators, students, and families in 150 countries. (

Scrible: This is a modern research platform for school and work. It’s a powerful tool to save, manage, annotate and share on the Web. (

Listenwise: This is a cross-curricular listening comprehension application. You listen to real world podcasts while reading along with an interactive transcript, and then discuss the topic with your students for deeper understanding. (

Docsteach: Gives you access to thousands of primary sources—letters, photographs, speeches, posters, maps, videos, and other document types—spanning the course of American history. (

Digital Public Library of America: This site has a plethora of primary sources, which are designed to help students develop critical thinking skills by exploring topics in history, literature and culture. Drawing online materials from libraries, archives and museums across the United States, it includes letters, photographs, posters, oral histories, video clips, sheet music and more. (

Kami: This is your digital pen and paper where you and your students can learn, create and collaborate. There is a chrome extension and part of Google Classroom. It does PDF annotations. (

Media sharing

Tagxedo: This turns words into a visually impressive word cloud. These words are individually sized to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text. ( This is an application to create and share visual ideas. It is an infographic. You can customize the work. (

Pixton: This application empowers the world to communicate graphically with comics. Click-n-Drag Comics™, a revolutionary new patented technology that gives anyone the power to create amazing comics on the web. (

Digital storytelling

Flipsnack: This is an excellent digital flipbook maker. Create, share, and embed online magazines, transforming your PDFs into online flipping books. (

Storyboard That: Create a powerfully visual communication through a storyboard. (

Buncee: This is a creation and presentation tool with unlimited possibilities for bringing learning to life. Transforming people of all ages into creators, storytellers, and future-ready digital citizens. (

Manage and organize

Symbaloo: You can customize this application to create a personal learning environment that fits perfectly with your teaching style. (

Padlet: This is a virtual bulletin board, where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures, in a secure location. (

Sugarcane: You can make your own cross-curricular games or use the ones that are already done. This web tool lets you easily create many different learning games, as well as access ones that others have created. (

Baamboozle: You can create, search, play and learn. Only minimal preparation is required and no student accounts needed. Baamboozle provides a platform for creating and playing games that can be used as topic introductions, lesson review and assessment at all grade levels. (

Cite This For Me: You can automatically create bibliographies, citations, and works cited lists in the correct format using the APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, or Harvard referencing styles. It is easy to use and incredibly convenient. Appropriate for grades 4-12, use this online tool with your next information literacy training or scavenger hunt. (


PDFCandy: This is a document and picture converting site. (

Incredibox This is for beatboxing, which is the imitation of a drum machine using your voice. Incredibox can be used with beatboxing to introduce rhythm and music mechanisms to students. (

Button Bass: This application can mix many different types of beats in different genres of music. (

WeVideo: This online video editor makes it easy to capture, create, view and share your movies at up to 4K resolution for stunning playback anywhere. (

Do Ink:  This site has two areas: Animation and Drawing, which was designed to be easy for beginners and young animators, but with powerful tools for creating advanced animations and Green Screen, which makes it easy to create incredible green screen videos and images right on your iPad or iPhone. With Green Screen by Do Ink, you can tell a story, explain an idea, and express yourself in truly creative and unique ways. (

I want to thank you for taking this journey to discover some wonderful and engaging possibilities for you and your classroom. Remember, technology is only a tool and your teacher toolbox should have an assortment of many different tools to inspire your students every day.

Lori E. Lalama is a computer technology teacher at Christopher Columbus Middle School in Clifton. She is the Legislative chair and PRIDE chair for the Clifton Teachers’ Association and represents Passaic County on the NJEA Technology Committee. She can be reached at

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