Free Web Tools…one of my favorite things! I love finding and trying out new tools and learning how they can be beneficial to students and teachers…at NO COST!
After struggling to make creative, pretty signage in Word and taking a very long time to download fonts and try to format everything and nothing ever looking quite the way I wanted, and they all came out looking the same, I was introduced to Canva and will never go back to Word! It’s amazing. It is format friendly (you click & move something where you want it and it goes there), you can upload your own images or use the pre-loaded ones, pre-made layouts make you look like a pro, and it’s fun! I was introduced to Canva a while back and played with it, but didn’t learn to love it until I stopped trying to only use the pre-made layouts. While they are really awesome, I found myself removing nearly all the elements to make my own, so I finally tried starting with a blank canvas and building on my own. I have used it this year more than ever and you can be sure that every sign and display I’ve made has been made with Canva. I created a library logo using it too. See?
#2 Adobe Spark
This tool is a new find as well. I heard about it in my librarian PLN this year and went back to work and used it the next day. It is very intuitive, drag and drop, easy! This is a video creator that allows you to create slides, add text and images, music, and voice recording. Below is an example Spark I created for a class here at AHS. They were going to use it for an upcoming project. The only criticism I have about Spark is that it doesn’t allow for much creativity with the images you can add to the slides. But that’s where Canva comes in! I was able to get more creative with Canva, save the file as an image and use it on my Spark project. Win!
This is not a new tool, but it’s a good one. The idea is simple…a grid of tiles you can organize however you like, that will take you out to sites you want to have collected. I use this on this website for tools I’d like to be available to students in a very visual way. You can make multiple boards and easily update them. Embedding them onto your website is super easy, or sharing a link works just as well. I like the visuals so I always embed mine. Here’s an example:
Finally….Smore. This is a free tool, but I have paid for the upgrade because I was using it so much and wanted to keep my past designs. Smore is an digital newsletter. It’s great for sharing announcements, new tools, upcoming dates, etc. It would even be great for teachers to use to highlight a new topic or resources to try. I create a S’more for my staff each month with things I find that I would like to show them. A S’more can hold links, pictures, text, embedded videos, and it’s all drag and drop. I think with the free version, you may only be able to create and save 3 before you reach the limit? The paid version is $59 a year I believe. For me, and with how much I use it, it was worth the investment. Once you create a S’more you can share a link or embed it. On this website, I save all the links of old S’mores for my teachers, and embed the most current.
Feel free to check out my S’more page.
There are certainly many more tools that I’ve enjoyed using, but these four that I’ve shared here are the ones I use regularly and rely on for much of what I do.