Online Education’s Top Learning Tools
Around the world, school districts went online this week to prevent pandemic contagion. For most students, this involved listening to their teachers teach frontally on Zoom or some other video conferencing platform and then completing assignments based on the information that the teacher presented or assigned
Some students, however, found that their 2020 school year was as fruitful as winning at the Grande Vegas online casino. Those students studied with teachers who knew how to use various Internet tools and resources to make their online learning more interesting, more compelling and more enjoyable than ever. The material that the students covered was as much as, or more than, that presented in the Zoom online learning sessions.
But through the use of innovative and creative online learning tools, the students who were in more technologically-advanced classrooms were more successful.
Regardless of whether you’re a teacher whose looking for ways to spice up your instructional model, a parent who is involved in homeschooling your child or a community member who wants to see the local schools function on a higher level, check out the Internet’s top online learning tools.
Google Docs is a free set of tools from Google that allow students to create documents with text, images, comments, hyperlinks, citations, audio, drawings, charts, footnotes, links to video content, drawings, special symbols and characters and more.
Everything is shareable which means that documents that the teacher creates can be shared on the students’ screens and students can create documents that they can share with their teacher and their peers. The document can be set so that comments can be added by others which gives students a chance to receive teacher and peer feedback.
Google spreadsheets work like Google Docs but instead of starting with a blank page, everything is on a spreadsheet. All of the symbols, links and audio and visual content that can be added to a document can be added to a spreadsheet but in different format. For instance, if you’re learning about Kenya, you can create a spreadsheet with all the students names listed on the sheet.
As the lesson begins, each student can be asked to write something that they already knew about Kenya. As all the students write, all the other students who have access to the spreadsheet can see their peers’ comments. Then, after presenting information, all of the students can be asked to write something of interest that they learned that day about Kenya, or something that they’d like to learn about Kenya in the future, etc.
Google Presentations offers all of the elements of a PowerPoint but with the added perk that it’s online. Meaning, once again, everything that you or your students create can be shared online. After the teacher has presented material s/he can create a Google presentation and prepare a blank slide for each student.
With the “shared” tool enabled the students can find their own pages and complete assignments – adding in information that they learned in class, learned through independent study, etc. The teacher can assign the students to find textual information, pictures or videos to illustrate the information that they’ve added.
Once all of the students have finished and the presentation has been “published” to the web, students can comments on each other’s pages and the teacher can add his/her own comments to the material has been submitted.
Google Docs, spreadsheets and presentations can be shared with parents so that the parents can be kept abreast of what’s happening with their child’s education. The presentations can be downloaded into a powerpoint presentation and then uploaded to YouTube to create an engaging YouTube video.
Instead of handing students a worksheet to do, you can create a Wizer worksheet that the students can complete online.
Worksheets have been a feature of classrooms for many years but both teachers and students hate them. In general, worksheets, which teachers use to help students review material that they have supposedly learned, are traditionally boring, static and uninspired. The faster students finish their worksheets before the slower students, leaving teachers struggling to keep the quicker students busy.
Wizer offers teachers the chance to give their students online worksheets that don’t just review material – students can express themselves in multiple ways, work at their own page, learn as they work and have fun. The teacher sets up the worksheet with a variety of interactive media – questions, embedded videos, audio content, images and more.
As the student works his/her way through the worksheet, s/he can expand on material already learned, present new material and have fun along the way.
After students submit their work the teacher can assess the answers, add written or recorded feedback, and share the worksheets among the class.
There are a variety of task options on the worksheet which include multiple choice questions, open-ended questions, matching activities, read a text, drawing activities, fill in the blanks, complete a table, watch a video, fill in an image, sorting tasks and follow a link.
The Quizlet tool allows teachers to facilitate review of material using the fun, interactive and engaging Quizlet platform. You can create a quiz about any type of material from biology and chemistry to calculus, history, geography and other subjects. You can make your own classroom quiz or use a quiz that was created by another teacher has created – quizzes are archived and available to be used by others.
Playing games is as valuable a method of acquiring and reviewing material as any other. Through the quizzes students learn and retain information in an engaging learning atmosphere.