75 digital tools and apps teachers can use to support formative assessment in the classroom

There is no shortage of formative assessment strategies, techniques, and tools available to teachers who use formative instructional practice in their classrooms. Here is an extensive list of 75 digital tools, apps, and platforms that can help you and your students use formative assessment to elicit evidence of learning. We didn’t just add any old tool to this list. Here are the criteria we used for those that made the cut:

  • Supports formative instructional strategies and ways to activate learners to be resources for themselves and peers
  • Is free or awful close to it (under $10 per year, where possible)
  • When possible, both students and teachers can take the activator role (sometimes teachers need to get things started)

Before you dig into the tools, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about exactly what you want to accomplish with your students. “How to pick the right digital tool: Start with your learning goal” by Erin Beard can help you wrap your head around goals and guide you in picking the best tool for the task.

The tools

  1. Animoto Gives students the ability to make a short, 30-second share video of what they learned in a lesson.
  2. Answer Pad Allows teachers to capture data from students using the web or the app. Ideal for the flipped or blended classroom.
  3. AnswerGarden A tool for online brainstorming or polling, educators can use this real-time tool to see student feedback on questions.
  4. AudioNote A combination of a voice recorder and notepad that captures both audio and notes for student collaboration.
  5. Backchannel Chat This site offers a teacher-moderated version of Twitter. An extension of the in-the-moment conversation might be to capture the chat, create a tag cloud, and see what surfaces as a focus of the conversation.
  6. Biblionasium This online, safe, and simple book network allows teachers to view books students have read, create reading challenges, and track progress. Students also can review and recommend books to their peers.
  7. BrainPOP Use videos on countless topics to shape your lesson plan, then rely on BrainPOP quizzes to see what stuck.
  8. Buncee A creation and presentation tool that helps students and teachers visualize, communicate, and engage with classroom concepts and ideas.
  9. Chatzy Use Chatzy to support back channel conversations in a private setting. These live chats make great companions to classroom discussion, provide exit tickets, or keep a discussion going after the class is over.
  10. ClassKick This app allows teachers to post assignments for students, so both the teacher and peers can provide feedback on the assignment. Students can monitor their progress and work.
  11. Coggle A mind-mapping tool designed to understand student thinking.
  12. Conceptboard This software facilitates team collaboration in a visual format, similar to mind mapping, but using visual and textual inputs.
  13. Crowdsignal Quick and easy way to create online polls, quizzes, and questions. Students can use smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide their answers, and information can be culled for reports.
  14. Dotstorming A whiteboard app that allows digital sticky notes to be posted and voted on. This tool is best for generating class discussion and brainstorming on different topics and questions.
  15. EdPuzzle Use video to track student understanding.
  16. Educreations Whiteboard A whiteboard app that provides students the tool to share understanding and comprehension.
  17. Edulastic Allows teachers to create standards-aligned assessments quickly and get instant feedback from students to adjust learning.
  18. Five Card Flickr Designed to foster visual thinking, this tool uses the tag feature from photos in Flickr.
  19. Flipgrid This tool lets students use 15-second to 5-minute videos to respond to prompts. Teachers and peers can provide feedback.
  20. ForAllRubrics This software is free for all teachers and allows you to import, create, and score rubrics on your a tablet or smartphone. You can collect data offline, compute scores automatically, and print or save the rubrics as a PDF or spreadsheet.
  21. Formative This online, all-student response system provides teachers the opportunity to assign activities to students, receive the results in real time, and then provide immediate feedback to students.
  22. FreeOnlineSurveys Allows teachers to create surveys, quizzes, forms, and polls quickly and easily.
  23. Gimkit A handy resource for creating real-time quizzes. It was created by a high school student!
  24. Google Forms A Google Drive app that allows you to create documents that students can collaborate on in real time using smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
  25. GoSoapBox Free for less than 30 students, this all-student response system works with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, so no charge for a clicker. One of the most intriguing features for me is the Confusion Meter.
  26. iBrainstorm This app allows students to collaborate on projects using a stylus or their finger on screen.
  27. IXL Personalize learning and get real-time diagnostic information on what students understand and where they could use more help.
  28. Kahoot! A game-based classroom response system, where teachers can create quizzes using internet content.
  29. Kaizena An online tool for providing students with real-time feedback on their digitally uploaded work. Teachers can highlight or speak to give verbal feedback and attach teacher-created, reusable resources.
  30. Lino A virtual cork board of sticky notes so students can provide questions or comments on their learning. These can be used like exit tickets or during the course of a lesson.
  31. Mentimeter Allows you to use mobile phones or tablets to vote on any question a teacher asks, increasing student engagement.
  32. Micropoll A great tool for quickly creating polls and analyzing responses. Polls can be embedded into websites as well.
  33. Miro Teachers can invite students and collaborate with the whole class in real time.
  34. Naiku Teachers can easily and quickly create quizzes that students can answer using their mobile devices. Great for checking for understanding before and after a lesson.
  35. Nearpod This tool is nice in that you can not only gather evidence of student learning, like an all-student response system, but also create differentiated lessons based on the data you collected.
  36. Obsurvey Create surveys, polls, and questionnaires quickly and easily.
  37. Padlet Provides an essentially blank canvas for students to create and design collaborative projects. Great for brainstorming.
  38. Pear Deck Plan and build interactive presentations that students can participate in via their smart device. It offers unique question types.
  39. Peergrade A platform that allows teachers to create assignments and upload rubrics. Students upload work and are anonymously assigned peer work to review according the rubric.
  40. Piazza A platform that allows teachers to upload lectures, assignments, and homework; pose and respond to student questions; and poll students about class content. This tool is better suited for older students as it mimics post-secondary class instructional formats.
  41. PlayPosit An interactive video and assessment tool that allows teachers to add formative assessment features (pauses and questions) to survey what students know about the topic. Teachers choose from a library of video content from popular sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and others.
  42. Plickers Allows teachers to collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices. Perfect for the one-device classroom.
  43. Poll Everywhere Teachers can create a feedback poll or ask questions. Students respond in various ways, and teachers see the results in real-time. With open-ended questions, you can capture data and spin up tag clouds to aggregate responses.
  44. Pollmaker A popular polling tool that has some unique features, such as allowing multiple answers to one question.
  45. ProProfs Build and test knowledge with quick quizzes, polls, and surveys.
  46. Quia Teachers can create games, quizzes, surveys, and more, and they can also access a database of existing quizzes from other educators.
  47. Quick Key Helps teachers with accurate marking, instant grading, and immediate feedback for better student engagement.
  48. QuickVoice Recorder Allows you to record classes, discussions, or other project audio files. You can sync your recordings to your computer easily for use in presentations.
  49. Quizalize A great tool that allows teachers to easily create quizzes and homework for students. Teachers can then see how the students did and identify areas for improvement.
  50. Quizizz Create quizzes to assess learning—and include your students in the quiz-writing process.
  51. Quizlet Create flashcards, tests, quizzes, and study games that are engaging and accessible online and via a mobile device.
  52. RabbleBrowser An app that allows a leader to facilitate a collaborative browsing experience.
  53. Random Name/Word Picker This tool allows the teacher to input a class list and facilitates random name picking. You can also add a list of keywords and use the tool to have the class prompt a student to guess the word by providing definitions.
  54. Remind A tool that allows teachers to text students and stay in touch with parents.
  55. Seesaw This tool helps teachers improve parent communication and makes formative assessment easy, while students can use the platform to document their learning.
  56. ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard Another whiteboard tool that students and teachers can use to check understanding.
  57. Socrative Exercises and games that engage students using smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
  58. Spark This app from Adobe allows teachers to add graphics and visuals to exit tickets.
  59. Spiral A quick tool that gives teachers access to formative assessment feedback.
  60. Survey Hero A tool that allows teachers to quickly and easily build questionnaires and surveys.
  61. SurveyMonkey Teachers can create and deliver online polls and surveys.
  62. SurveyPlanet Another survey creation tool that teachers can use to gauge student learning.
  63. Tagxedo A tag cloud generator that allows you to examine student consensus and facilitate dialogue.
  64. Triventy A quiz game platform that allows teachers to create quizzes students take in real time. These live quizzes provide teachers with real-time data on student understanding of classroom concepts. Students need individual devices to respond to quiz questions.
  65. Typeform A poll creation tool that lets teachers add in graphical elements.
  66. Verso Described as a feedback tool, this app allows teachers to set up learning using a URL. Space is provided for directions. Students download the app and input their responses to the assignment. They can then post their comments and respond to the comments of others. The teacher can group responses and check engagement levels.
  67. Vocaroo A service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need for software. You can easily embed the recording into slide shows, presentations, or websites. Great for collaborative group work and presentations.
  68. VoiceThread Allows you to create and share conversations on documents, diagrams, videos, pictures, or almost anything. This facilitates collaborative student discussion and work.
  69. Voxer Consider using this voice recording tool as a way to let students listen and self assess their ideas and assignments. You can send recordings to parents so they can hear how their students are doing, let students chat about their work, or provide feedback to students.
  70. Wordables The Word Cloud Guessing Game. This app allows you to elicit evidence of learning or determine background knowledge about a topic. These word clouds are pictures composed of a cloud of smaller words that form a clue to the topic.
  71. WordArt This word cloud generator has an added feature that allows the user to make each word an active link to connect to a website you determine.
  72. Wordle Generates tag clouds from any entered text to help aggregate responses and facilitate discussion.
  73. XMind A mind-mapping software for use on computers and laptops.
  74. Yacapaca Allows teachers to create and assign quizzes with ease.
  75. Zoho Survey Teachers can create surveys that students can access and take using a mobile devices. Teachers can see results in real time.

Learn more

To get the most out of formative instructional strategies, also check out our formative practices workshops. You’ll gain a better understanding of the role formative practice plays in your instruction and the four foundational practices to use in the classroom.

And download our e-book “Making it work: How formative assessment can supercharge your practice.”


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