The uptake in remote teaching may have been born of necessity but there’s growing recognition it’s opened a clear pathway to effective learning and collaboration outside the classroom. There are many ways teachers can harness existing and emerging technology and resources to support online education . . . but we’ve chosen 8 of the best.
There are myriad online platforms available designed to encourage dialogue among students and boost the power of collaborative learning. One of the most innovative is Kialo, which allows users to host classroom debates and set discussion assignments using a unique ‘argument-tree’ structure. This is an easy-to-follow visual aid that inspires students to develop their reasoning and see how different concepts fit together.
Mathematics has come a long way from geometry protractors and wristwatch calculators and one of today’s most popular tools for remote number crunching is Zearn.
Allowing students to work comfortably at their own pace, this has excellent scaffolding features that allow teachers to build core mathematics lessons then gradually evolve these by creating and refining content.
As well as hundreds of free TED Talks videos and animations for students to click on and enjoy, teachers can create bespoke videos and lessons, share these and track the results. The Student Talks program, meanwhile, is designed to help students present their own ideas and essays as TED-style talks. Teachers can also explore their own professional development in the Masterclass programme.
With its interactive digital planbook Planboard can be used to create lesson plans with bespoke files, photos and videos – all aligned to international education standards. Being able to use the lesson templates means less work and shortened preparation times, while there’s a facility to record students’ progress using digital portfolios.
With a library of around 25 million resources created by more than eight million members, this really is a world-class resource. The Groups feature, in particular, means you can share knowledge with like-minded users all over the world.
Gamification is increasingly employed in education at all levels and Kaboot! is a free, game-based learning platform. Pioneered in 2013, it now has more than 40 million monthly users across 180 countries. For remote teaching it’s played via video conferencing tools, such as Microsoft Teams Zoom or Google Meet, to create games based around multiple-choice questions. Students use any home device to sign in to the game room using a code to complete lessons and compete against classmates. Group discussions are promoted via ‘campfire moments’.
This has cool features such as the ability to turn any video into a live chat with questions and quizzes. Students connect using a code and their lesson answers appear live so they can learn in real time from one another. In the Quickfire Lite feature you can ask a verbal question and rather than just one hand going up the whole class can respond from their devices. Not everything has to happen in real time, however, as you can review and grade assignments and give feedback offline.
EquatIO from TextHelp offers the ability to handwrite or dictate mathematics problems directly into a device to create equations and formulae digitally.
The aim is to help make STEM subjects and mathematics more accessible and fun, a process aided by the Desmos graphing calculator, which helps students visualise their work.