Making Learning and Thinking Visible

Today, I ran a workshop called Digital Tools: Making Learning and Thinking Visible. Often when we ask questions in class, we hear from the same students. There are many active learning strategies that we can use to get students to think about and engage with the course content (e.g. Think-Pair-Share).

In the workshop, I introduced 3 digital tools

  • AnswerGarden
  • Formative
  • Seesaw

I chose these because they all work well on mobile devices, are easy to use, and free (Formative and Seesaw also have paid versions). They generally work on multiple platforms.


What is it? "AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback."

When could you use it? Anytime you want to pose a question to the class.


  • Students do not need to sign up for accounts; students answer anonymously.


  • Students answer anonymously (yes it is con as well, but check out the Moderator mode)
  • Answers have a maximum of 40 characters

What is it? Formative is similar to Responseware, Kahoot, Socrative, etc. It is a student response system.

When could you use it? When you want to quiz your students, review unit concepts, etc.


  • Good formative assessment tool


  • Takes time to create question sets

What is it? Seesaw is a great tool for easily a variety of submissions (images, audio, video, and text) from students. Ever tried asking students to submit a video to you? You know that road is fraught with lots of potholes. Seesaw makes that easy.

When could you use it? This is great if you want students to show you their work in process (e.g. stages in baking a cake), demonstrate a skill, etc.


  • Once set up, it is very for students to use
  • Great feedback tool


  • 10 minute limit on videos (which is actually a good thing)

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