Top 5 Tech Tools for the Social Studies Classroom

This week, I had a teacher ask me how she could integrate technology into her Social Studies Curriculum. While there are so many different ways to engage students, I have come up with a list of my top 5 recommended tools for students of all ages.

#1 Google’s Tour Builder

Tour Builder: Although still in Beta, Google Tour Builder is an amazing digital storytelling tool originally created for veterans to share their stories. Students of all ages enjoy using Google Earth within Tour Builder to pin placemarks and tell a story about each location. Students and teachers may add pictures, videos, links, and text to truly engage their audience. Students may share their completed tours by sharing the link or creating a screencast. (Currently does not work on tablets.)

Resources: Click here for tutorial, directions, lesson plan, rubric, examples.


#2 Mystery Skype Session

Many teachers enjoy using Mystery Skype as a guessing game to determine locations around the world. Microsoft describes Mystery Skype as “The global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.” Check out the website to join and find other classrooms that are participating in a Mystery Skype.


#3 iMovie

iMovie makes it incredibly simple for students to create a quality presentation. There are two popular ways that teachers are integrating iMovie into their classrooms:

  1. Green Screen Footage

Create green screen footage using the Green Screen Doink app on the iPads. Then allow students to add photos, narration, captions, and animation by editing the footage in iMovie.

Example from YouTube:

     2. Book Trailer:

Create a trailer for a historical event! Make it exciting using a variety of themes. I am very excited to begin creating these trailers with a 5th Grade teacher this month. We are going to make trailers for historical events and battles during the Revolutionary War.

Example from YouTube:


#4 Powtoon

Powtoon is an amazing free resource (with premium features if desired) that will allow students to create animated cartoon presentations about their topics. Powtoon really engages students with an intuitive interface that promotes creativity.



  • Mrs. Ashley’s World: TONS of information about integrating Powtoon including tutorials, rubrics, and storyboards.

#5 BrainPOP

BrainPOP has released a fabulous new feature called Make-A-Movie that allows students to create their very own BrainPOP style movie. After trying out this feature with students, there is no doubt that this tool is highly engaging! (Disclaimer: This feature is only available for paid subscriptions.)

Resource: BrainPOP Make-A-Movie Tutorial Blog

What are your favorite tools?

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