The shift to online learning came so abruptly in the Spring of 2020 that to many it felt like jumping off of a cliff into an abyss. Engaging with digital classroom tools became an absolute necessity. Prior to the COVID pandemic, most schools were incorporating some online instructional technologies into their classrooms. But paper was still the predominant medium for learning, practice, and assessment. Now, all of a sudden, schools needed digital worksheets because paper wasn’t going to work for practice during remote learning. Even all those free worksheet sites on the web didn’t offer editable PDFs.
Top Interactive Worksheets Reviewed
This article discusses the top interactive worksheet makers available today. It takes a look at specific features and costs for:
- TeachersPayTeachers Easel
Going Paperless Because of COVID
At the beginning of the pandemic, many teachers spent hours upon hours scanning paper worksheets to make PDFs to email to their students. And what was a student going to do with this PDF? Print it out, of course. Then complete the work, take a photo of it, attach it to an email, and send it back to the teacher. In March of 2020, there were few alternatives. Every teacher needed a digital interactive worksheet maker but there were very few to be found. Kami and Liveworksheets were around, but that was it.
Fortunately there are now many resources to help make worksheets digital and interactive. Teachers can take paper assignments and convert them for online access by using interactive worksheet applications. Most of these educational apps offer a free, limited use plan as well as purchase options with additional features. Using these apps, you can go paperless and never be caught unprepared for online learning again.
Popular Interactive Worksheet App Features and Costs
These educational apps allow teachers to make worksheets interactive by adding answer areas for students to enter their responses on a computer. Many apps also let you upload videos, place links, and add audio. These apps can usually convert PDFs, PNGs, DOCX and paper documents into editable materials that can be worked with onscreen. These instructional technologies enable educators to gather their established curriculum or free worksheets on the
web and transform these materials for online learning. Each one does it differently, however. It’s up to the user to decide which one is right for them.
Kami is a Chrome extension used for interactive learning. With a variety of online classroom uses, this tool is marketed as “your digital pen and paper.” The company’s headquarters are in Auckland, New Zealand. It can be used to annotate and collaborate on PDFs. It’s a good tool for discussing reading materials, especially at the higher grade levels where this type of learning activity is common. The free version is limited to a PDF viewer, highlighter tool, adding notes, and auto-saving to Google Drive.
To get the full version of the program, which integrates nicely with Google Classroom, you have to pay $99. Then you get more tools, multimedia features, and up to 150 students can be assigned via Google Classroom. There are other LMS integrations, too. More expensive plans are also available for schools.
This program helps you create “self-correcting interactive exercises.” Students can use it to complete worksheets on the site and send them to their teachers. If the teacher has programmed the right scripts, the worksheet will be graded for them. You can take worksheets in doc, pdf and jpg formats and make them into interactive online exercises. You upload images, then add items such as boxes, text and answers. Worksheets may include sound,
drag-and-drop, video and more.
Liveworksheets is headquartered in Spain. The site has a large library of interactives created by other teachers. That’s because their free version only allows you to keep 30 worksheets private. After that, you have to pay or the worksheets go into the shared library. Free users are also limited to 100 students and there are ads for both teachers and students. English and Spanish translations of the website are available.
Subscriptions start at approximately $120 dollars per year (10 Euros per month) for a single teacher with up to 250 students and 125 private worksheets. There’s no subscription level where all of your worksheets can be kept private, so beware. The app is not integrated with Google Classroom or any other LMS.
Teachers Pay Teachers
TpT is the premier online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell original educational materials (usually PDFs). Located in New York City, they advertise that they are the world’s largest catalog with over 5 million listings of educator-created content. The TpT community is primarily comprised of PreK-12 U.S. teachers.
During COVID, TpT launched a free tool for making PDF worksheets digital. TpT Easel supports the uploading of PDFs only. Once the worksheet is loaded in the application, the app operates similarly to the free version of Kami. Students can type in responses and use some drawing tools.
On the TpT marketplace, teachers can buy worksheets and other curriculum materials premade for Easel delivery. Even though the app has limited features, it should be considered because it is free with no restrictions on use yet. Easel integrates with Google Classroom.
This educational app is designed to convert worksheets and other curriculum materials into digital activities. It includes easy-to-use auto-grading to save teachers time. You can use it to convert your paper worksheets into digital or start from scratch and make a completely interactive activity. The app was built by teachers for teachers and the company is located in the Jacksonville area of Florida.
TeacherMade does have a free version, allowing you to easily build digital worksheets. There are 13 question type tools and it’s really great for math worksheets. Teachers and students can add images, too. You can have any worksheet auto-scored. There are lots of nice grading and feedback options, too, like resetting your answer key after you already started grading. The free version has no limit on the number of students. Worksheets are limited to 12 pages, which is very generous.
In the Pro version, teachers and students can also add video, links, and audio in addition to all the free features. Worksheets can also be up to 25 pages long, more like the length of a workbook. Teachers can assign via Google Classroom, Canvas, and Schoology. The Pro Teacher option is $49 per year.
For the price and features, TeacherMade is the best value of all of the tools. The app launched during COVID and the company has a good reputation for responding to teacher feature requests quickly.
Making Interactive Worksheets with Ease
Learning to make worksheets with Kami or LiveWorksheets can take an extensive amount of time. Without prior coding experience, it will take some effort to use. Unless you’re a digital expert, developer or designer, you may struggle with creating usable worksheets using these apps.
TpT Easel and TeacherMade are applications designed specifically for teachers. This means that the user interfaces are intuitive and do not require coding expertise to get started. When
you start using them, you know what to do without having to read a lot of help files or watch videos. Users can convert PDFs into interactive assignments with only a few clicks.
Auto-Grading is Key
Kami and Liveworksheets apps are also limited as these do not provide auto-scoring features. You can set up auto-grading in Liveworksheets, but it’s very hard and requires you to write code. TpT Easel doesn’t auto-grade, either. But because auto-grading is an essential component of evaluating assignments online, not to mention a huge timesaver for teachers, you should consider apps that have this feature.
TeacherMade has an auto-scoring feature that makes grading student work easy. For this feature alone, TeacherMade would get the highest marks. But it also offers a generous free version, an inexpensive Pro version for really taking your interactive worksheets to the next level, and super inexpensive pricing for schools and districts.
Make the Switch to Interactive Worksheets Now
Many teachers struggled to transition to the digital world. Those with years of experience have notebooks and cabinets crammed full of lesson plans, but converting it to digital was difficult. Now that there are good choices for making online, digital, interactive worksheets, it’s much easier to do. And since students love to work on the computer, it’s a no-brainer to make this upgrade to your classroom to increase student engagement.
Getting your legacy materials into the digital classroom can take a lot of work, as most of us now know. Interactive worksheet apps can make the chore much easier and the results much more engaging. By choosing the best one, you can preserve years of curriculum, quickly prep your next assignment, and save hours with auto-grading.