Tools for Efficient Teaching

SSISD Secondary Education Technology Conference

What are we doing today?

Technology is an invaluable tool in student engagement and efficient teaching. Today we will be exploring and creating accounts for three different websites, EduCanon, PollEverywhere, and Smore, that have helped me work smarter and promoted student growth and engagement.

This Smore will be available to you whenever you need it by visiting or

If you ever need a refresher on how to use these resources or have other tech related questions, please feel free to email me at

What is it?

EduCanon is a tool that lets you embed questions in an online video. It takes what is normally a passive activity (watching a video) and turns it into an active experience by letting the teacher add questions in multiple formats (multiple choice, reflective pause, etc). Students can move at their own pace throughout the video.

Most of its features are free. Some of the question formats (free response and feedback) are paid features.

Click on the title above to experience EduCanon as a student. After you finish the video, scroll down to find instructions on how to create your own.

Setting up EduCanon

Go to and click "Signup" at the top left corner of your screen.

Choose "I'm an Instructor!" and fill in the appropriate information.


Instead of trying to edit the questions in the "bulb" provided, click on the teal dachshund in the top left corner of your screen and design a new bulb. Paste the URL of an online video. If you feel comfortable enough to do your own thing, go ahead! If you need more help, I'm here to help guide!


What is it?

PollEverywhere is one of my favorite school tools. You can create online polls that can be answered via phone, twitter, or web browser. It's free with some paid features.

You can customize question format, response layout, and how many times a student can submit a response. Kids like it because they get to use their phones. I like it because it's a super quick assessment and can be used on any type of device.

Setting up PollEverywhere

Go to and choose "Create your first poll!" This will allow you to create a poll and "play around" with it without setting up an account. Watch the instructional video.

If you feel comfortable creating a poll without guidance, carry on my wayward son! If you'd like me to walk you through it, I'm here to help!

What is it?

Smore is an online flyer creator. I use it all the time to create flyers for concerts and other events. It's a quick and easy way to get pertinent information to a large audience.

Smore can also be used to compile multiple online resources for your students. You can choose to have students move at their own pace or follow you throughout the class period. The templates and color palettes are very appealing, and it's very user friendly. Click the title above to see a sample lesson from 8th grade science teacher, Lisa Anderson.

Setting up Smore

Go to and click "Try Smore for Free." Fill in appropriate information.

Click on "Design New Flyer" on the right and choose "Class." From there Smore guides you through the creation process. If you feel comfortable working on your own, GO FOR IT! If you need some guidance, I will be your sensei!

What else do I use on the regular?


What is it?

Online forum and discussion. I use it as an exit ticket strategy most of the time, however I've seen it used during a lesson to guide discussion and check for student understanding. It's not as versatile as PollEverywhere since students need a device connected to the internet.


What is it?

Dropbox is file storage similar to Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and your SSISD X drive. Initially you start with 2 GB storage, but you can pay or refer others for more space.

You can create shared folders between your colleagues, administrators, and students. It has cut down on paper usage since students can download and type on a word document and then email it to me to grade.

If you have oral testers, you can use Dropbox to read tests to your students. Save sound files in Dropbox and share the link with your student. I rarely make CDs for choir student rehearsal anymore.


What is it?

MBCurl is My Big Campus' link shortener and can make your teaching life much easier.

Instead of relying on students' ability to correctly enter a 46 character URL like this one, trust that they can enter, which takes them to same YouTube video.

I prefer MBCurl over other shorteners like and because it's easier to use and the students have access to MBCurl on the school's network.

Prezi, Tackk, Canva

What is it?

All are great tools for presentation.

Prezi is Powerpoint from the future. It can be more difficult to get a handle on, but once you figure out how to it works, it can be fun to use.

Tackk is a simple way to create a multimedia poster. You can link websites and embed videos. Design and templates are limited, but it's way more user friendly than Prezi.

Canva is the least versatile of the three, but it allows for users to be as creative as they want. I use it all the time to make posters and flyers. Basic shapes and pictures are free. More elaborate pictures are $1, but you can upload any image from the web/your computer into your design.