Monday, November 28, 2011

19 Pencils - A Review #EdChat #ElemChat

I first heard of 19 Pencils from Kelly Tenkely's amazing site It intrigued me and I signed up to see everything it had to offer and was impressed. That was months ago and I got caught up in other tech endeavors and let it sit for a while. The creators of 19 Pencils asked if I would come back to the site and take a look at their new features and share the site with my readers if I liked what I saw. I went back, liked what I saw and am here to share it with all of you.

19 Pencils is a customizable site for teachers that allows them to share websites, quizzes and videos in one location. The best part is that the links are shared visually on 19 Pencils. Instead of a page filled with URLs, 19 Pencils presents the uploaded links as icons students can click.

Once a student clicks on one of the links, they are not taken from the site, a separate box opens on the page that opens the link.

I love this feature because young kids can quickly get lost on the web if they are constantly taken from one page to the other. This allows all of the students to stay on the teacher site and freely and easily move from one resource to the other.

19 Pencils also allows for teachers to upload assignments for students to follow and provide links to the sites they want students to access to complete the assignment. I posted a question for my students on Transcendentalism and provided 8 sites for them to reference. After their research, students can post their responses on their blog. It was very easy to quickly create the assignment and upload the site links I wanted the students to access. The UI is great for beginners to website creation. 

Another little feature I think is very cool is the teacher's note. There is a little spot next to the class title, that is a note from the teacher. I think it can be a great place for reminders for the students. It could be a note to remember to bring their book to class or get a permission slip signed. Little touches like this really make 19 Pencils a nice tool for classroom teachers.

19 Pencils also offers a quiz feature that teachers could utilize. A teacher can enter in questions and answers to a new quiz. Then, the teacher would load their student's first name and last initial to create login and passwords to give the students. Once the student has the login and password, they can access the site and take the quiz. What the login and password allows the teacher to do is track the student's use of the site. There have been more than enough times where students are not accessing my site for materials they need, but insist they are on the site all of the time. This feature allows the teacher to track the site's use by students. This information could prove very valuable during parent conferences. 

The last feature I want to mention is The Playground. The Playground is a place on the class page that allows students and teacher to communicate. These could be longer messages left by the teacher or questions left by a student. They could even be messages left by parents using their child's login. 

In a class setting, questions could be quickly asked and answered using The Playground. The 19 Pencils website also looks awesome on iPads which is great news for teachers that have class sets of iPads. Students could do a complete backchannel using The Playground feature. The best part of that, is that the conversation will be saved on the site for students go back and check and students who were not in school that day could follow along with the conversation from home. 

I recommend 19 Pencils to teachers that are looking to easily and effectively:
- integrate a website into their classroom 
- save websites and videos with visual representations
- monitor their students online activity
- create assignments with references to relevant web resources
- add a teacher's note so that students have a clear understanding of what's expected of them
- create quizzes from scratch or use pre-made flashcard quizzes
- get instant feedback from your students with the social media Playground feature

Here's a link to the full set of features at 19Pencils:

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at @TheNerdyTeacher.

19 Pencils is a paid sponsor of The Nerdy Teacher


  1. Looks great, but you should also take a look at Free site that does all of this, but so much more. Sort of like Edmodo, but with quiz features, professional development, and more.

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