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In the next thirty years, more students will be graduating through our education system than all of history combined! Because of this, our labor force will become flooded with identically qualified individuals with identically qualifying degrees. If our ultimate goal is to create students who are helpful and significant members of society, then we must push for more than just a degree. We must help them all to realize their unique talents and how those talents can be utilized to better our world.

We need to rethink the way we think about academic success.

Human resources, or talents, are what we must tap into for this vision to be realized. And, like natural resources, these talents are buried deep within the student and must be cultivated. These human resources, just like plants, all require different environmental conditions and must be treated uniquely. Education is the environment we use to mine these resources. Technology can be the machination used to help their talents bloom.

Here are five excellent pieces of technology to help you identify which “plant” your student is, and how you can help them realize their own natural resource.


  1. FlipGrid

We have all encountered the shy student. We know they have the answers. We know they are capable of grasping the concept, but their fear of public speaking causes them to avoid asking the vital questions they need to succeed. Insert FlipGrid!

This app allows a teacher to pose a question, and then the student responds with a short video. Once the student has finished their video, they can then respond to other videos. At a time when students prefer communicating through text rather than in person, this app brings our real voices and our real questions back into the fold!


  1. Book Creator

Book creator is a beautiful, flexible tool that allows students of any age or skill level to create, publish, and share their own stories. Students who prefer more structure and guideline can choose a “comic book” layout, and insert Google images straight into the panels. The more adventurous students can choose a completely blank page and customize it with their own artwork.

This tool is perfect if you’ve gotten stuck in the dreaded “quiz loop” and are searching for a way to help your students find their identity, while also engage them with the content.


  1. NewseumED

Have students who just don’t like history? Produced by Newseum (a news museum located in Washington, D.C.), NewseumED is an incredible resource of news articles, primary sources, and lessons to help every teacher give their students an up-close look at history. Want to know how German newspapers covered Jesse Owens’ win at the 1936 Olympics? They’ve got that! Want to see Abe Lincoln without a beard? They’ve got that, too!

Whatever it is you’re looking for, this resource is excellent in helping every student understand who they are by showing where they came from.


  1. Autodraw

One of the most difficult learning styles to introduce as a teacher is the visual learner. It’s not enough to simply show pictures on a screen. A visual learner must be able to internalize and mold the picture around the concept associated with it. That’s exactly where AutoDraw comes in!

AutoDraw is a tool that uses artificial intelligence to guess what you’re trying to draw. You start with a blank screen, begin sketching, and AutoDraw will give you professionally illustrated options to choose from. If you have students that doodle on their notes, or who get frustrated with their own drawing skills, this tool is perfect to help them enhance their own unique learning style while providing a fun and creative way to engage with the lesson.


  1. Socrative

As a recently reformed shy-kid, I’m probably most excited about this app! One of my greatest fears growing up was asking a question that I “knew” everybody else already knew the answer. It was embarrassing. But, because of that fear, I missed out on a lot of concepts that I would have otherwise understood IF I had asked the question.

That’s where Socrative comes in! This web-based platform (also available as an app!) allows the teacher to receive instant feedback on their lesson, check for immediate understanding, and adjust the lesson based on the needs of the class. Even more, it’s done anonymously! A student can click on the “needs more explanation” button after a lesson, and the teacher will immediately be alerted. It’s an incredibly effective way to help a student understand the content while also allowing them to overcome their fear of embarrassment. It’s only when they can overcome their fear that they will understand what they are capable of becoming!


What resources have you found most effective in helping your students realize their own natural resources? Share your story with us @edvergent and #iTeachDigital!

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