Tech Roundup

A few days ago I was offered the chance to present to the entire English department, and I wanted to make sure to make the best of the time I was being given. So when I was thinking of what I wanted to highlight, I decided to focus on tools that would be diverse enough to apply to multiple situations in the classroom, and would support a wide range of instructional needs. With that in mind I decided to focus on Spiral, Flipgrid, and Formative. Here’s a quick roundup of what these tools are useful for, and how they could be used.


Spiral is a website/app that is a powerful suite of tools for collaborative learning and formative assessment. It has four main components: Quickfire (for formative assessment), Discuss (interactive presentation and discussion), Team Up (group work facilitation and collaborative presentations), and Clip (video live comment feed and assessment).

Here’s a quick video of Spiral in action:

I will go into more detail when I write a proper review, but here are the highlights:

Quickfire is good for:

  • Lesson starters
  • Introducing a new topic
  • Reviewing a lesson or topic
  • Assessing student progress
  • Reinforcing knowledge

Discuss is good for:

  • Class collaboration
  • Class discussions & building a shared knowledge base
  • Engaging all students in the class, even the quiet ones
  • Tracking student progress
  • Informing teacher planning of lesson

Team Up is good for:

  • Group work and collaboration – where you would want a shared outcome
  • This works equally well with individual devices or teams of students sharing a single device.

Clip is good for (using video to):

  • Introduce a new topic
  • Review a lesson or topic
  • Assessing student understanding


One of the best things about integrating tech into the classroom is the way it helps increase student voice. Flipgrid is a tool that amplifies student voice in the way that many of them are already comfortable with: using video. Here’s a quick overview of from the company:

What makes Flipgrid really cool is it allows teachers to take the concept of classroom discussion and blend it with some of the social media tools students are already using, and engages them in a meaningful way. Beyond the engagement piece, Flipgrid promotes discussion, and encourages students to reflect on their thinking in a way that includes everyone in the class, not just the kids in the front row.

Flipgrid is good for:

  • Class discussion
  • Peer feedback
  • Student reflection on learning and mastery


I won’t spend a bunch of time on Formative because I already wrote about it a month back. However, I will say, Formative is probably my favorite new tech tool right now because they continue to improve it, and it seems to be built with teachers in mind. Watch the video below, then go check out what I had to say last month.

Formative is good for:

  • Easy to make assignments and assessments
  • Real-time feedback and intervention
  • Standards aligned growth tracking

Hopefully this has been a useful breakdown of some transformative tech tools. I’ve only scratched the surface here, so please dig into one of these tools soon, and let me know what you think!



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