Mobile Learning Tools

4 Thought-Provoking Tools for Persuasive and Argumentative Writing

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy icon

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy
Grades: 6–8
Pricing: Free
Concepts: Forming arguments, using supporting evidence, decision making, writing, thinking critically

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy is a slick iPad role-playing game that illustrates the purpose of making a solid, evidence-based argument.

The game follows Zodiac Flynn through his first days in a colony on Mars. Zodiac's task is to learn the art of using Mars' argubots, special robots armed with argument cores who engage in argument duels. There are several argubots: Authoritrons (who appeal to authority), Consebots (who cite consequences) and Observatrons (who offer observations).

As students progress through each mission, they consider important STEM-themed issues while learning key insights about the components of a valid argument. The game teaches ELA standards through a STEM-themed story line and, as such, is fundamentally interdisciplinary in all the right ways. Argubot Academy adeptly uses its amusing story line to highlight difficult cultural, technological, civic, and other STEM-related issues while keeping kids engaged with its immersive gameplay. icon
Grades: 6–12
Pricing: Free
Concepts: Civic engagement, analyzing evidence, investigation, thinking critically is a Web site that provides users with unbiased information on controversial issues ranging from the death penalty to alternative energy. The site's primary goal is to promote critical thinking and educate citizens so they can make informed decisions about important issues.

All the content is freely available and meticulously sourced and cited, and each issue is presented in a pro/con format.

For each issue, users will find a question, background information, pro and con arguments, top pro and con quotes, a video gallery and user comments. In addition to the extensive content, there's a Teacher's Corner that includes Common Core-aligned lesson plans and other suggestions for how to use the site to teach the standards. With so much misleading, biased and inaccurate information in the news, is a welcome gold mine of objective content that promotes independence and critical thinking.

Your Commonwealth icon

Your Commonwealth
Grades: 7–12
Pricing: Free
Concepts: Cultural understanding, global awareness, making conclusions, thinking critically

Your Commonwealth is a site created by young people for young people who are interested in addressing global concerns such as injustice, poverty and the environment.

On the site, students from the 54 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations submit articles and videos to share their stories, experiences, and opinions. U.S. students can read about global social issues from a personal point of view and from someone around their age.

Kids will have the opportunity to make up their own minds about pressing topics and, through discussion with parents and peers, learn how to express opinions.

Young people from all over the world contribute articles and video to the site, which are then posted in a news-like format. Offsite, kids can get involved in Twitter chats and Facebook discussions on "the present, past and future of the planet." Your Commonwealth offers a wide range of voices from passionate global youth, whose writing is sure to hook their peers on civic engagement and global awareness.

ISideWith icon

Grades: 9–12
Pricing: Free
Concepts: Civic engagement, analyzing evidence, perspective taking, thinking critically

ISideWith is a nonpartisan site that lets students explore political views and different perspectives on important issues.

Its main feature is a political quiz that lets kids weigh in on a range of topics to see how their views align with various political parties. The site also has an extensive collection of resources ranging from news stories and heat maps to discussion threads.

Students can search, view geographic data and participate in online discussions about hot-button topics. Instant quiz results and opportunities to compare political views are sure to pique student interest. The site also is updated regularly to reflect the most current and relevant election issues. Created as a way to increase voter engagement and education, ISideWith is a perfect fit for a classroom studying current events and the political spectrum.

About the Author

Common Sense Education helps educators find the best edtech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Go to Common Sense Education for free resources including full reviews of digital tools, ready-made lesson plans, videos, webinars, and more.