Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019

Gynzy

Create and customize full-featured lessons for interactive whiteboards

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Grades
K–8
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Ready-to-go K-8 lessons and activities cover all core subject areas, and there are tons of built-in classroom management tools.

Cons: Lessons are largely teacher-led and not assignable to students, so some of the interactive features will be tough to implement.

Bottom Line: Take advantage of the site's hundreds of standards-aligned lessons and classroom management tools to create engaging learning content.

Take advantage of Gynzy's resources, tools, and lesson libraries to create whiteboard lessons that both inform with content and engage with interactive components. To establish classroom routines and expectations, use timers or stoplights while students work collaboratively or independently. Pair content with games, skill-based activities, social and emotional learning (SEL) lessons, or videos to enhance lesson flow. Or make short stories and nonfiction pieces come alive by breaking up longer texts with images, video clips, and interactive components. During a longer lesson, pause every once in a while for a brain break via a game or quick SEL activity to help students see the importance of self-care and recharging their brain. Finding yourself with extra time at the end of class? Practice skill reinforcement using the Sum Machine tool or a vocabulary-based game of Hangman. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find the assortment of resources and tools will allow you to create or remix high-quality lessons and activities for your students.

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Gynzy is a web-based interactive whiteboard site where teachers can modify existing lessons or create from scratch using a vast library of tools and resources. Teachers can search for existing lessons by grade level, subject area, and topic; lessons boast Common Core-aligned content, and teachers are free to save and use them as they are or make them their own by adding additional resources and tools. When teachers find something they like, they can use the built-in folders to organize material for easy access later on. Gynzy allows up to three free accounts per school, but for more than three, a paid plan is required.

The current version of Gynzy requires Adobe Flash Player, which is phasing out in 2020. With that in mind, a new version is available to try out via a link on the site. There aren't as many features available as on the original, but teachers can get an idea of how the future site will operate. Plus, since the developers welcome user feedback, teachers can suggest ways to improve the platform and contribute lessons.

Gynzy offers teachers a chance to build interactive lessons fairly easily, and while some teachers may prefer starting from scratch, most won't attempt to reinvent the wheel. Hundreds of customizable lessons make it easy to mix in activities that students will enjoy while still meeting students' needs and learning goals. High-quality content is available for students in grades K-8, so elementary and middle grade educators in all subject areas should have no problem finding activities. However, the lessons are largely teacher-led. Since there's no way to assign lessons to individual students, you'll want to be deliberate in the content you choose and be conscientious of the lesson flow. Failure to include components that engage in a meaningful way risks subjecting students to a sit-and-get-style lecture. To avoid this all-too-common scenario, teachers can create QR codes that link to student response tools such as Padlet or Flipgrid. This will serve to increase student buy-in and provide opportunities for formative assessment and feedback.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Student interest will vary with the types of lessons teachers choose or create, but with thoughtful planning, it's easy to design lessons that will engage.

Pedagogy

Lessons are Common Core aligned and designed by educators, but teachers will want to put their own touches on each one to ensure it fits their students' learning goals.

Support

It's easy to scaffold content, so teachers can support students at varying levels of readiness. Features such as text-to-voice and screen shades allow for differentiation.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

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