Problematic situations create the need for creative minds to come together and formulate short-term or permanent solutions to them. That being said, I deem it paramount that new and innovative means of connecting and bringing students together need to be fabricated. The need to engage students with teachers too cannot be ignored, putting all factors into consideration.
Within the online market, there exist tons of implements that are easily accessible anytime. They would surely come in handy at such a time when the new academic calendar has been unveiled and instructors are busy arranging their classes, trying to catch up with the syllabus, establishing ways of improving students’ performances and advocating for rapid adoption of SEL skills.
Personally, this year I am committed to working on improving the quality of communication and involvement of students in my classes. This is especially because there are students I never saw in person in the past academic year and others had problems they wanted assistance in. Therefore, I have been longing to have better knowledge of my students and for them to know each other too. Surely, the pandemic taught us the value of interpersonal relationships and communication. Finally, I won’t hide the fact that it’s nice to be back physically. Getting the chance to communicate and perform tasks together with my students in person would prove crucial in the real-time determination of a student’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, improvements and general students’ welfare.
Therefore I decided to creatively draft ways of directly interacting and engaging with my students. Among them were playing games, being arbitrarily inquisitive and preparing Google forms with questions on their individual goals, and their new year resolutions among many others. In the responses, some students asked if they could write down their answers on paper or record videos instead of talking in front of the class. Some students are naturally shy and I understand that. There’s a pool of opinions and suggestions that will help drive us towards the goal of absolute ease of intermingling, interaction and free communication throughout the year.
Let’s go ahead and explore our options:
This platform has useful features for questions and discussions. Generally, students are more free and confident to talk in the company of their peers unlike when an elderly person is in the picture. They discuss ideas and write their responses to each other. Therefore, this platform is well suited for student-to-student communications, mainly because it’s free of charge and you don’t need login details or downloads to start.
Mote can be described as one of the most user-friendly tools in existence. It bears quite remarkable features and provides genuine and prompt feedback to its users. It is useful in engaging students and teachers in and out of the classroom. Mote is packed with numerous utilities. For instance, it offers transcription of documents in several languages and also it records voice notes and adds them to Google Slides, Google docs, Gmail, websites among others.
Google has been working tirelessly to improve services, especially in the online platform. Google Jamboard has consistently proven to be a powerful tool when it comes to fostering participation and promoting communication in or outside the classroom. Using the product is effortless, free of charge, easy to set up and has no regard for academic levels and specifications. It is simple. Engage your students in a small task where they answer your Jamboard by sending you an image or text. Group them and let them work together on their own. This eventually boosts their communication skills among them.
Following frequent updates and service improvements on its platform, Padlet has managed to attract many new visitors by introducing captivating features. It has made communication and engagement within its platform easier and systematically organized. It offers a digital notice board that serves both students and teachers. Students can use it to work together among themselves and organize online forums with students from other countries where they discuss and share meaningful ideas and opportunities. The platform also serves groups of students working on a project to share videos, progress, audios, charts, images, information and new discoveries without necessarily requiring physical presence. The communication between them happens in real-time, thus promoting seamless transfer of data and information between the students.
Yoteach allows its users to choose from a wide variety of features that technically make the journey of learning unbelievably easy. Its versatility has enabled students to enjoy working together and hence promoting cohesion among them. Teachers can create spaces to interact and share information with students. This process is interesting and makes participants develop a keen interest in the subject. In addition, pictures, texts and other pieces of information can also be shared within the platform.
This tool, unlike the rest, is generally used for live audio discussions between students and teachers. Students can also utilize the platform to hold essential discussion sessions among themselves, hence fostering interpersonal interactions, communication skills and better ways to access and grasp knowledge. It generally assists in the development of good relations, SEL skills and social understanding among students.
7. Space EDU
As the students and teachers embraced digital learning environments, the development of assistant features proved important in ensuring fast and reliable access to information. It also helped reduce the monotony of online learning processes. One tool that served the above purposes a great deal is Space EDU. Apart from coming up with a digital room to ease communication between students and teachers, it also has features through which information can be shared within the space. Generally, it has made teamwork easy and effective.
Teachers and students should embrace these tools fully to achieve the ultimate goal of efficiency of learning.