The dynamics of the teaching environment have changed drastically over time. This transition was very much unanticipated and it caught many educational practitioners unawares. The change, which was largely influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, has prompted teachers to come up with other ways to deliver content to students without the classroom setting. This is the year that saw many teachers borrow and beg for ideas to promote effective service delivery to learners. All established teachers understand the job you get by growth in your profession. Therefore, in line with that, I sought a variety of digital tools to aid my attempts at creating a sustainable learning environment for my students.
From a thoroughly conducted research and relentless pursuit of technological implements, I eventually settled on the following lists of tools. Some of the references I used were from my own experiences with the tools and my students’ reactions to them. I have to say that I received great amounts of advice and ideas from tutors in the US and across the globe.
I’ve managed to incorporate these tools into my teaching schedule and I’ll recommend them with disregard to educational levels as long as knowledge is passed efficiently.
TOP DIGITAL TOOLS FOR TUTORS
Sometimes there is a need to establish a space for discussions, engagement and sharing of information between teachers and students.
Parlay here provides a suitable environment for such endeavors, i.e, facilitating discussions, remotely connecting students with teachers and tracking the progress of the dialogue. The software has features that track students’ engagement and their responses, thus showing the participants and trends of the conversation. Instructors utilize the tools available within the software to determine how frequently students answer questions, even if they’re in a different room. Teachers then can assess how detailed students’ responses are and work on clarification if need be. All that can be recorded.
Flipgrid earned the trust and praise from teachers and students across the nation. This is because it is quite flexible to use when handing in digital projects and it greatly encourages students’ and teachers’ feedback.
I’ve been using Edpuzzle services even before the transition to online training. But I found it very useful and began making use of it more as I shifted my teaching platform online. Edpuzzle is effective in making interactive videos as students give easily assessable responses.
7. Pear Deck
Just as Edpuzzle makes videos interactive, Pear Deck does the same to Google Slides. It helps make the slides engaging and enables teachers to gather feedback promptly.
This is one of the few productive digital tools that I have been using for some time. They have been working on making their product better by including great features after each major update. I recently received an update that makes it possible for me to be on the same screen with the useful graphical section, hence creating a more convenient and interactive experience. Teachers are also able to record brief lessons, illustrations and any other content in a very attractive and personal manner.
This innovative tool has a unique feature of enabling learners to display their thoughts regardless of their respective working stations. I never knew about it until a Kenyan tutor recommended it to me, stating how it had revolutionized her Math tests. It has done a great job of reducing the chances of cheating during assessments as teachers can observe learners illustrating and working out problems instead of merely recording answers.
Mural allows real-time information sharing between teachers, students and other participants. It has been a key element in virtual engagements since it allows all involved parties to jot their content down on digital sticky notes and then systematically arrange them. A major determinant in gauging the success and value of an online meeting is the ability to display individual contributions within the virtual room in real-time. Mural also allows segregation of rooms to specific attendants, in cases where a combination of participants is not recommended. There is no need for post-meeting summaries or clean-ups as the system works it out itself. Several teachers are now utilizing Jamboard’s features similarly.
This tool is a result of a student’s innovative idea of wanting to develop an improved version of Kahoot! Gimkit gives teachers the unwavering liberty to design sets of questions that learners can work on repeatedly during competitive interactions. Thus it is perfect for shallow learning and evaluation. Gimkit has managed to perfectly capture the attention of competitors throughout the process by allowing them to repeat answers and get rewards in form of points.
2. Mentimeter and Slido
The above are two powerful tools developed to make online interactions within digital spaces easier and allow for feedback collection from participants. They have almost similar applications and can be used by both learners and instructors. Slido, for instance, has a feature that allows attendees to ask any questions as others upvote them. Many other tools have that feature albeit Slido charges no fees and is easy to use. Students, as well as teachers, are free to acquire data on queries they have instantaneously on Mentimeter. They enable involved parties to start discussions seamlessly and contribute fairly to the general welfare of the digital space.
1. Learning management system(LMS)
LMS is a collection of digital features that helps teachers in the proper organization of their work and projects thus boosting the effectiveness of sharing knowledge and its impact on the learners. A quality LMS reduces the complexity of work for teachers, students and parents. Having several educational instruments jumbled up within several online tools would surely make the arrangement of content difficult thus reducing the productivity of a class.
I like using Canvas and Schoology to effectively organize my platforms, although I am aware that several teachers have greatly gained from Google Classroom which is free.