Teaching Tools and Techniques

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Need some amazing digital tools to support your teaching, learning, and/or coaching efforts? Here are a few. Join us for a few amazing digital tools you can adopt and use right away.

Ready? Let's get started!


  1. Temperature Check

  2. Techniques

    1. Evidence-Based Strategies

    2. ALDO

  3. Collection of Media and Tools

1-Temperature Check

Wait, wait, before we get started!! Let's take a moment to ask ourselves, "How do I feel today?"

Acknowledging our feelings can get us feeling "meta" and assist us in moving forward in line with, or in spite of, how we feel.


Techniques are how you implement technology in the classroom or your work. Let's explore a few high-effect size instructional strategies, as well as approaches.

Matching Strategies to Digital Tools

Combining digital tools with high-effect size instructional strategies is a piece of cake. The question is, "Do you know when the right time is to use a particular strategy?"

Let's Get Started!

Amazing Lesson Design Outline (ALDO)

Get the Outline and Choice Board!

Amazing Lesson Design Outline (ALDO) (left),
a tool for guiding lesson design for diverse learners.

Use the choice board (right) to get you started on designing. It features four choices for each of the lesson design stages in ALDO. Read the blog entry, too.

STEM/STEAM Resources

Begun as a resource for those aspiring to enhance STEM-based teaching, learning and leading, this site has grown to encompass more hands-on projects and materials.

Paper Slide Videos

Do your students struggle learning new vocabulary words? If so, come learn how to make those words come alive through video. You bring a device with a camera and I will bring the paper. You will be working in groups to create awesome content, whether it's a vocabulary video or animated GIF.

3-Collection of Media and Tools

Copyright Friendly Media

Do you need resources to share with your students so they can use to take their projects to the next level?

On this page, you will find a list of great sites where you can get free resources such as graphics, music, presentation templates, gift cards and more.

Making Infographics

(a clipped compound of "information" and "graphics") are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.

Online News and Research Tools

In a connected world, there are ample research tools available.

Helping students learn how to use them grows more important with ubiquitous access.

Free Resources for Teachers

Do you need resources to share with your students so they can use to take their projects to the next level? You will find a list of great sites where you can get free resources such as graphics, music, presentation templates, gift cards and more.

3-Collection of Tools for Educators

Creativity Fun

Need to create a repository of information that features audio, video, and text with hyperlinks? Maybe an easy to digest comic one-pager or book? You can now access apps such as Canva, Bitmoji and Giphy directly from within Book Creator! Look no further than the Chromebook-friendly, or iOS app, available in Book Creator. And, TCEA offers an amazing certification course for Book Creator. Sign up now.

Get Book Creator for
FREE for SIX Months

Then get Book Creator Certified via TCEA's $29 online course with one year membership FREE! Start Your Journey of Creativity and Learning NOW

Sketchpad is a drawing, photo-editing tool that you can use to paint or enhance images. It has a wealth of built-in features you can explore and play with to create detailed line art. Visit the Sketch.io main site, and you get a multi-lingual option.

AutoDraw pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help you draw stuff fast. Made by Google. Lots of options: Fill bucket, colors, shapes, resizing, and more. Google’s Autodraw is a very nifty free tool that pairs machine learning with talented artists to draw things fast. (Check out this short fun informational video on Autodraw.)

You’ve probably heard the latest brain research. Drawing cements learning, making long-term memory retention easier, no matter what age the learner is. Brush Ninja is a completely free, online drawing site that requires no account registration or login and works on any device.

It’s incredibly easy to use and contains no tracking or advertising, something very rare today. Besides being a drawing tool, the site is also a simple animated GIF creator. Read TCEA TechNotes blog.

Word clouds constrained to a shape engage the eye in a way words never can. You learn to see the expression of words in the shape, similar to a haiku or acrostic poem. This word art tool has a simple interface, allowing you to customize each word. You can adjust size, color, angle, and font for every word that appears. WordArt.com also offers a wide variety of images and includes the option for you to add some of your own.

Remember making sand art as a kid? Now you can do it via your device. Click on the color circle and select a color. Hold down and move your mouse.

Here’s another site to help you create some art. Move your mouse around, click, and watch the magic start to form. Press new to erase and begin a new piece of art.

Make images out of a small grid with a limited number of colors. As with any creative activity, pixel art can have many applications for education. What will you and your students create with Pixel Art?

Rainbow scratch-off paper in Jamboard is a fun way to create pictures or write words. Eric created a dozen templates with a different rainbow pattern on each template. Eric says, "It is a fun way to be creative and is motivating to discover the colorful pattern underneath."

Avatar Maker lets you create your own avatar for free in four different styles. An alternative to Bitmojis.

Turn logos, photos and portraits into brick mosaics made with LEGO® bricks! This website will make a virtual mosaic that you can share with your friends.

Want to make one with real LEGO® bricks? You can do that, too.

Classroom Helpers

This online teacher's helper has fourteen tools to speed classroom procedures! They can assist in tracking time on tasks and behavior. You can how tools like traffic light, timer, stopwatch, and clock can be in helping students pace themselves during activities.

Make stop motion videos easy with this tool. Use it to "make thinking visible" as students communicate their learning. This tool works on a variety of devices, such as computer, tablet or smartphone.

Alternative: Stikbot Animation

A quick and easy to use quizzing tool with multiple-choice and short answer options. User account creation is not required, making it easy to get on and use. It includes icebreakers, games and more.

Dicebreakers and Dice Debrief

Explore how to engage students in self-judgement and reflection using dice debriefing activities and dicebreakers. Get some templates, too!

Digitize It!

An easy to use app that allows you to digitize anything, including student work, paper, whiteboards, and more. Use it for collaborative checklists, as well. Take a picture, then you can grab the text from it or save it to Google Docs.

An easy to use app that allows you to digitize anything, including student work, paper, whiteboards, and more. You take a picture, then you can grab the text from it (Google Keep does the same), but if Office Lens can READ it to you in a variety of languages.

Scan, save to the cloud, and much more. This is a great app for digitizing content. Give it a whirl if Office Lens doesn't do enough for you.

There may be times you need a digital fax machine that you can use to send faxes to an old-fashioned fax machine. Yes, those times are rare, but there's no reason why you shouldn't have one. Give HelloFax a try.

It works great, is free, but you can pay for more features. It's a teacher's best friend, and may be your's, too.

Digital Mail Merge

Learn three easy ways to provide personalized parent communication using Gmail and some great add-ons that will make connections a breeze.

Image Editing Tools

You may know about some popular digital tools featured in the TCEA TechNotes blog. Those tools could include background removal tools (e.g. Remove.bg, Cleanup.pictures), note-taking tools, Bitmoji editing, video editing tools, and more. These are all fantastic tools that I keep close, but there are more than can make your life easier.

Green Screen Classroom Ideas

This page tries to capture a variety of great ideas I've seen online about using green screen in the classroom. I hope you will find the ideas shared inspirational.

An easy, browser-based image editor that supports layers. You won't be confused by its amazing array of features (not that complicated!). Give it a go.

This cross-platform and browser-friendly app makes capturing and annotating images easy. It empowers you to:

  • Fast screenshot of selected area

  • Edit screenshots instantly when taking them

  • Copy images to clipboard or save to computer

  • Works on Windows, Mac, and Chromebook

  • Save images to an online account (but you don't have to)

This is a Windows-only program that can:

Open, view, save and convert image and video files, Scan images via a connected flatbed scanner, Create a slideshow of a folder of images (great for meetings), Edit images and adjust color, brightness, contrast, saturation, gamma, resize image, canvas size, crop, add text, paint – adjust brush size, color, shape, type, fill, sample color, replace colors, flip, rotate, mirror vertically or horizontally, straighten, draw lines, arrows, shapes, add borders, frames, convert to grayscale, adjust color depth, invert to negative, show histogram, fix Red-Eye, sharpen, clone Stamp, and lots more!

Meet in Your Virtual Office

Set up exciting face to face coaching with this no-cost to low-cost tool. It supports multiple users for just-in-time connections. Sure, there are other options, but how much more do you need?

Teach or meet online with Zoom.us. Alternatives include tools like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, but Zoom.us offers scalable simplicity. That means, it will work fine for coaching. What's more, you can connect to a 2nd device (like a Hue digital scanner, your smartphone with Zoom app on it) to take learning on the go.

Note It!

An easy to use app that allows you to digitize anything, including student work, paper, whiteboards, and more. Use it for collaborative checklists, as well. Take a picture, then you can grab the text from it or save it to Google Docs.

This simple app makes it easy to scan information to a post-it note. Once in digital format, you can sort, organize, and save as a PDF or image. You can export content in various formats.

Create your own opera inspired song with Blob Opera - no music skills required! A machine learning experiment by David Li in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture

Project Management and Content Curation

Keeping track of who's doing what, when, and how can be difficult. Trello makes kanban boards a cinch, and eases your pain. Give it a shot for easy project management. A kanban board helps you visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize efficiency (or flow). Kanban boards use cards, columns. Alternatives include Cryptpad., Taiga, and others.

Wish you had an easy way to create a collection of resources to share with students and staff? Come along as we explore Wakelet as an easy resource.

It's the end of the day, you have a million tabs open in your web browser. You need to keep them all for tomorrow, but how do you save them? How do you organize them in a way that makes sense? OneTab is the answer to your question and helps you maintain your sanity.

Video and Audio Recording

Interactive video tool to facilitate asynchronous video chats and reflections. Get a free teacher account. Lots of incredible uses. Be sure to explore the TCEA TechNotes blog to find more.

UnScreen.com makes it easy to remove video backgrounds, which can be handy in a busy environment (like a classroom). Some features:

  • With Unscreen you can record your footage anywhere, then simply get rid of the background.

There are tons of great Google templates available online. In this walkthrough, learn how to make a copy of those Google documents for your own use.

Use Google Workspace for Education? Mote can make leaving voice notes easy! You can add a Mote voice note to any comment box, Google Form, and include emojis.

Some alternatives (free to paid) to Mote include:

RecordCast.com is an amazing FREE screen recorder. It's main features include:

  • Browser-based, no extensions/add-ons required

  • Lets you record webcam, desktop screen, or both at the same time

  • Up to 7 minutes of video recording and editing

  • Records system audio

  • Requires an account for saving; use Facebook or Google authentication for account creation

  • Allows you to have up to EIGHT projects you can work and save

  • Saves videos as WEBM without editing or MP4 with editing, and includes a full-featured video editor

Loom Pro is a fantastic screen recorder for educators and students since its features are free.

  • Add-on/extension required

  • Lets you record webcam, desktop screen, or both at the same time

  • Unlimited video recording, including system audio

  • Requires an account for saving; use educator organization account to get free Pro account

  • Saves videos as WEBM without editing or MP4 with editing

  • Includes a full-featured video editor

Record audio quickly via your browser, then share the audio as an MP3 file or a link to others. Easy to use for quick, public notes.

Get a free account for yourself and your coachee/mentee via the Voxer web site. This is also available as an Android or iOS app that you can load on your mobile device. Learn more about it via these TCEA TechNotes blog entries.

Kapwing Collaborative Video Editor

Kapwing offers browser-based (Chromebook friendly) green screen. You get seven minutes of green screen goodness before having to upgrade. All you need is an image or video captured with a screen that is green behind it. You can get a green background (ie., green plastic tablecloth) for $0.99 from Dollar Tree store, and you’re set to go.

It works great, is free, but you can pay for more features. It's a teacher's best friend, and may be your's, too.


Infogram and more

Need to create an infographic to show off how much coaching you've been engaged in? There are many tools available, but give Infogram a try. There is a free and paid version of this tool. Also consider Canva and MockoFun as additional tools in this category.

MockoFun (Free for Teachers)

MockoFUN is a virtual platform for innovative, image design. You can create backgrounds, business cards, greeting cards, Facebook posts, and flyers. Each category is replete with templates that you can start with and make your own. Want to design an infographic with a different look? MockoFUN is your creative design buddy.

Wait, Wait, I Almost forgot the Kitchen Sink!

This free resource features a series of experiments that let anyone, at any age, explore how music works. Designed by musicians and coders (what a fun conversation that must have been!), the site is designed to help you learn, understand, and have fun with rhythm, chords, arpeggios, sound waves, harmonics, and more.

  1. Chords
  2. Arpeggios
  3. Sound waves
  4. Strings
  5. Piano Roll
  6. Voice spinner
  7. Spectrogram
  8. Kandinsky
  9. Song maker
  10. Rhythm
  11. Melody maker
  12. Harmonics
  13. Oscillators
  14. Shared piano

Frank Murray, Wichita Falls ISD offers up Clap Motion to use with Chromebooks. "Easy to use and has great onion skinning tool. "

If the Wordle craze has captured you and your students' attention, then here is a great tool with many classroom uses. Make Your Own Wordle allows you to create a wordle and then get a link to share with your students. No registration or log in is required and it's absolutely free.

A Few Rules

  • A five-letter word is selected.

  • You then have six tries to guess what the word is.

  • After each guess, the color of the tiles will change to show how close your guess was to the word.

  • A hint from the Wordle experts: Type in starter words that knock out common letters. “Adieu” is packed with vowels. Others swear by “stare” and “tears.”

In the Classroom

  • Use it as a warm-up either with a random word or a word from the day's lesson.

  • Have students create a wordle for their classmates.

  • See if students can develop a mathematical formula for which letters and in what position are the best first plays.