I love the beginning of the school year. It’s when we’re all full of creative, new things that we want to try in our classrooms. Then as October turns into November the day-to-day of the school year seems to sap some of the excitement and creativity from some of us. It gets harder to come up with new ideas for practice and assessment activities for our students. This is when I appreciate services that provide ideas and templates for online learning activities.
One of the services that I now turn to for ideas and templates for online learning activities is BookWidgets (disclosure, they advertise FreeTech4Teachers.com). BookWidgets offers more than thirty templates for online learning activities for students of all ages. Some of my favorite templates include image hotspots which make images interactive, split whiteboards, timeline assessments, and a half-dozen games that can be played as graded or ungraded assignments. And many of the templates can be used for offline activities as well online activities.
It was at about this time last year that I tried BookWidgets for the first time. Back then it only worked on their own website. Today, BookWidgets offers a Chrome extension and a Google Classroom add-on. With the Chrome extension and Google Classroom add-on installed you can create and distribute online activities without having to leave Google Classroom at all. Furthermore, you can view all of your students’ submitted work as well as their work that is in progress by simply clicking on BookWidgets Chrome extension.
Watch this video to see how the BookWidgets Google Classroom add-on works.
As I previously mentioned, the split whiteboard activity template is probably my favorite of all of the templates that BookWidgets offers. That template lets you put a prompt on one side of the screen and a blank whiteboard on the other side for students to type or draw responses. Take a look at my screenshot below and you’ll notice that the prompt I included in my split whiteboard activity included a video for students to watch. You can find many more examples of BookWidgets activities right here.
For my friends using Microsoft Teams or another LMS:
The BookWidgets activities templates and online platform can be used without a Google account. You can create your activities on BookWidgets.com and then share them in your LMS (Learning Management System) of choice. BookWidgets creates unique URLs for all of the activities that you create. You simply need to post the URL that corresponds to your activity in your LMS. Jump to the 8:45 mark in this video to see how that’s done.
Whether you use Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Canvas, another LMS, or you don’t use an LMS at all, BookWidgets can automatically score activities that you give to your students. About half of the templates offer that option. Look for a little checkbox next to the name of the activity template to see if it offers automatic scoring.
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