Triptico: A Powerful and Free Instructional App

Harrison and Gilmartin160By Kathlyen Harrison and Michael Gilmartin

As every teacher knows, there is an overloading number of websites and tools available to educators, some free and others with registration costs. Most of these tools are geared toward specific content, and the trick can often be trying to sift through all of the different types to find the ones that suit your needs, skills, and even your personality. Triptico offers a wide variety of creative, interactive, and visually engaging apps. The best part is that you have access to numerous apps for free. Not to mention that the developer of this program is constantly creating new apps to use for free.

Figure 1 - Triptico App Launch Screen

Figure 1 – Triptico App Launch Screen

About Triptico is a web tool that allows you to create and use various types of activities, tools, and quiz makers to help improve the classroom and engage students. Triptico is a free app available for download with an option to upgrade for a small fee. There are four different categories of programs: tools, timers, selectors, and quizzes. Each has interactive apps that you can use and adapt to your class. The different interactive modes allow you to bring creativity and uniqueness into the classroom, diversifying the ways in which students learn, review, and practice various skills. Triptico is simple to use yet sophisticated in content with apps color coded to denote type and categories.


Word Magnets is a free app that works like refrigerator magnets and allows you to type in sentences, equations, paragraphs, or even phrases. The app then takes the different pieces of what was entered and creates separate magnets for each word or symbol. You then have the ability to move, rotate, and color each magnet. For mathematics, this gives students the opportunity to manipulate different parts of an equation or move along a number line, enabling students see all the moving parts of a problem. Other potential uses include helping students to learn proper syntax in an English class.

Figure 2 - Order Sorter App

Figure 2 – Order Sorter App

Another tool is the Order Sorter app, which works very similar to a game show in which one must place the events or scenarios in a particular order. You can alter the number of possible options as well as various other auxiliary settings such as background color. This is an especially useful app for social studies and history students to organize dates and events, for instance, the order of the American presidents. In mathematics, students can visualize and arrange the procedural steps to solving a particular type of problem.


Triptico offers three types of timers to add to your arsenal of time management tools. We enjoy the use of these timers because they are simultaneously quiet and interactive. They offer the ability to count up to a desired number or be used as countdown clocks. We particularly like the simple look of these timers as they provide the desired services without many complicated buttons and distractions. Timers are something we have all seen before; however, what we like most about the various types of timers that Triptico offers is the variety. The availability and usefulness of having different styles of timers in one place minimizes downtime in the classroom.

Figure 3 - Hourglass Timer

Figure 3 – Hourglass Timer


Additionally Triptico offers a number of “selectors,” which enable users to determine groups, keep score for activities, and select various types of questions or problems. Students often struggle to choose their own groups quickly or to pick new groups. On the one hand, they typically choose to be in a group comprised solely of their friends, leading them to spend more time socializing than being productive. On the other, when you try to pick their groups for them, the result can be a sizable pushback. Triptico’s student group selector effectively mixes up the groups and can be a fun way to add some surprise to the groupings. After entering the names of the students, which you can save for future use, you are able to alter the number of groups.

Figure 4 - Score Tapper (Great for class competitions)

Figure 4 – Score Tapper (Great for class competitions)

Selectors also offer the ability to keep scores on tasks. These scoring methods can be used to keep track of individual student scores during class wide “competition,” such as tournaments centered on solving equations or practicing basic skills in any subject. This can be a good way to foster healthy competition on specific content.

One type of scorer is similar to the flip selector in that it allows you to swipe the new score for each student or team. When you swipe the bar up, you add points; when you swipe down, you subtract points. Again, this is a simple way to keep score for a class.


There are multiple free quiz apps currently offered by Triptico. Our favorites are “What’s the Question” and “Find Ten.” Find Ten requires that students think critically about the 15 options given to them, then determine which 10 are correct. Students and teams can gain points by guessing a correct answer, and they lose points by guessing incorrectly. Knowing that there are fewer wrong answers than right means that the students have to develop a strategy and think more critically about the question and answers.

Figure 5 - "Find Ten" Quiz App

Figure 5 – “Find Ten” Quiz App

“What’s the Question” is a Jeopardy-style app that gives an answer, and the students have to come up with a corresponding question. You are able to create 12 answers/questions worth 30, 20, and 10 points (4 for each level), where each level of questions is represented by a different colored circle. This app is a great way to test student understanding since working backwards to come up with the correct question means that students truly understand the information.


Triptico, we believe, is a useful tool for the classroom because it has a multitude of apps and activities that can help teachers engage their students. It enables teachers to create challenging, fun, and interactive activities that help students to learn and develop a more intrinsic sense of the material. We have found that the more students enjoy the activity, the more likely they are to engage in the lesson or activity, and Triptico promotes precisely this increased level of engagement.

Upsides and Downsides

Among the upsides of this program are: it is easy to use, free, interactive, and supported by customer service (even for free members) that is reliable and speedy. There are even training session options for this app should you need a tutorial to learn how to use the program and its features. The CEO and maker of the program runs the training session as well as the customer support.

Tripitico is an interactive tool that runs off personal computers so, for teachers with interactive whiteboards, this is a fantastic app that enables them to take advantage of whiteboard capabilities. For those of us without such technology, the app can still help to facilitate interactive and engaging lessons.

The only drawback that we have found so far is that you must have an Internet connection to run the program, even after it has been installed. For most of us using this program in the classroom, this is not an issue, but it is a feature that could affect instruction should the school’s network go down.


In conclusion, we highly recommend this program for teachers that want to improve interactivity, foster competition, and engage students in the learning process. It’s an effective resource for promoting learning, and, for this alone, it has earned a place in our classrooms. We encourage you to give it a try in yours as well.

Figure 6 - Group Selector

Figure 6 – Group Selector

Figure 7 - Circle Timer

Figure 7 – Circle Timer

Figure 8 – Sliding Scorer

Figure 8 – Sliding Scorer

Kathlyen Harrison: I attended the University of Kentucky where I received my bachelor of science in mathematics. I am completing my master’s degree from the University of Michigan in secondary mathematics education. I am also a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow for the 2012-2013 year. I am a teaching intern at Ypsilanti High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Currently, I am working toward learning more about the Algebra Project and how it works in high need schools as well as how technology in the classroom can play a role in differentiating instruction and creating an interactive environment.

Michael Gilmartin: I am a 2012 graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor of science in pure mathematics and a bachelor of science in comparative religious studies. I am completing my master’s degree in secondary education at the University of Michigan and will be certified to teach both mathematics and history at the secondary level. I am currently a teaching intern at Washtenaw International High School, an IB school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and working toward developing a differentiated and interactive classroom through the incorporation of technology.

5 Responses

  1. Thank you very much for taking the time to write about my app and resources – it is very much appreciated and I am very pleased that you have been able to suggest so many innovative ideas for making use of my work in the classroom.

    It is amazing to think that resources I created for use in my own classroom are now being used by teachers around the world.

    For info, I have recently put together a video which provides more information about my ideas and resources – it is available on YouTube:

    Thank you again for your support – it is very much appreciated,


    • I just tried to download this app to my iPad and apparently there is a problem because of Flash. Is that the case?

      • My app will not work on the iPad yet – but, if Triptico Plus is a success, then an iPad version is certainly something I would like to develop.

        At the moment, the app works on PC / Mac and some tablets.

        Hope this helps, David.

  2. […] is a web tool that allows you to create and use various types of activities, tools, and quiz makers to help improve the classroom and engage students. Triptico is a free app available for download with an option to upgrade for a small fee. There are four different categories of programs: tools, timers, selectors, and quizzes. Each has interactive apps that you can use and adapt to your class.  […]

  3. […] & Gilmartin, M. (2013). Triptico: A powerful and free instructional app. Retrieved from […]

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