For this post I decided to focus on some of the more common tools that can be especially effective in transitioning to online learning using more familiar instructional strategies found in all types of classrooms and content areas. It’s just a quick overview of a few essentials that are easy to use, free or very inexpensive, and typically only require the teacher set up an account (not students) which makes it very easy to implement quickly. Some tools, primarily those that are focused on assessment, do require student accounts for tracking purposes.
G Suite for Education and Google Sites – perhaps the most well-known of all the tools, Google products are easy to use. The collaborative aspects of their tools are what makes them especially useful in remote learning where it can be challenging to find ways to bring students together. I do not include Google Classroom here because it is not freely available to everyone.
- Scavenger hunts
- Writing roulette
- Journaling and reflecting
- Creating presentations
- Shared findings and projects
- Reaching a larger audience
Padlet – no login required for students. Nothing to download. Lots of good privacy options. The only downside is that they charge a subscription fee. Generally speaking, students don’t need their own accounts but for an extra few bucks it might be worth it to have the option.
- Building a Word Wall (vocabulary)
- Thinking and research notes
- Writing an outline
- Brainstorming or sharing a project idea
- Shared findings and projects
Flipgrid – a free and easy video recording tool. Grids are created by the teacher and shared with students so no student accounts are needed. Flipgrids can also be embedded directly into some LMSs.
- Online discussions
- Project presentations
Diigo – a resource sharing site. It’s easy to use and moderate. Set up a group, designate permissions, and share away. You must download a special tool for your toolbar but this just makes it that much easier to save and annotate shared documents.
- Note taking
- Synthesis of ideas
- Critical evaluation of resources
Tricider – I don’t see this tool used much and I’m not sure why. It’s a great tool for supporting high level thinking and decision-making.
- Taking a poll
- Debating a topic
- Generating ideas
Teacher Productivity Tools
EdPuzzle – This tool is different from the others in that students won’t necessarily interact with the tool itself. Instead they interact with the product created from using the tool. Edpuzzle is a teacher tool that allows you to adapt any video by integrating questions or narration.
- Formative assessment
- Direct instruction
- Remediation and enhancement
Screencast-o-matic – Another teacher productivity tool. This is a screen capture tool that is easy to use and very inexpensive for what you get. You can use it for free but you are only allowed one saved recording at a time – beware, in the free version new recordings will overwrite the old ones. Loom is another option that can be conveniently integrated into your Chrome browser for easy and quick video sharing.
- Video feedback and assessment
- Recorded lectures (please keep them short)
- Enhancement or remediation of content
Here are some other helpful resources…
- Bubbl.us concept mapping tool
- Quizizz for fun assessment challenges
- Learning Menus using Google docs are an easy way to provide choice
- ReadWriteThink has lots of free and useful interactive tools
- Phet simulations are helpful for science and math concepts
- Mathalicious offers math lessons based on real-world scenarios