The future – digital learning tools and strategies

End arrow

INF532 is almost at an end. The final forum thread asks us to share six strategies and tools I will take with me in the future. I thought them worth sharing here as well as on the forum.

Flipping teacher professional learning: with my newly acquired and/or enhanced skills in creating videos using tools such as Powtoon, Screencastify and Audacity I will provide further support and resources for the teacher professional learning workshops I regularly present at my school. Taking advice from Flip your PD for Extra Flexibility and Support I will create videos which give explanations and step by step instructions which teachers will be able to view beforehand thus minimizing the time needed for direct instruction in the workshop, freeing up time for hands-on activities and personalised support for individuals. Indiana Jen (author of the post) suggests that teachers often don’t find time to flip (ie view) before the lesson/workshop so the videos could also be provided in addition to direct instruction, allowing those slower to learn to revisit the instruction without holding back those who are ready to move forward and apply their new skills. The best “Flipping in advance” for teachers, suggests Jen is to have them ensure they can access and login to any tool you are using, prior to the session, by providing written or video instruction to assist – this can be a great time-saver, I’m sure we’ve all met teachers who need their hand held at every stage and who can dominate proceedings when things don’t work perfectly for them first time. The videos will also allow “flipping after the fact” enabling teachers to revisit the instruction as and when needed, or for a catch-up for those who missed out.

Blended Learning is a strategy that I would like to support our staff in exploring with their students. My school is working toward a BYO device model for years 6-12, with sets of iPads and Chromebooks for years P-5. Currently in the senior school (9-12) BYOD is on an ad hoc basis. There is a computer lab, 12 desktop PCs in the library, and several trolleys of aging laptops available. In the middle school (3-8) there is a set of iPads exclusively used by years 3-5, enough desktop PCs for one class in the library and three sets of Chromebooks. There is a strong focus on extension for capable students alongside significant learning support for those with difficulties. Most (if not all) students have adequate access to internet-connected devices at home.

Blended learning will best suit this audience, and their teachers, particularly as the availability of technology in the classroom increases. Using online environments such as Google Classroom already enable some teachers to provide opportunities for socially constructed learning through discussions and collaborative projects. Teachers are keen to provide enrichment for the capable and more support for those who need it; well-constructed online environments, in conjunction with face to face teaching, can support both.

Pearltrees has been a revelation in terms of new tools explored in this session. Curating is a big part of what I do both for my personal learning needs and for students and teachers through the library. Pearltrees is very flexible and easy to use, I’m absolutely loving the way any link I tweet is waiting in my “in tray” ready to be organised into a collection the next time I visit. I also appreciate the ability to organise material into sections within collections and being able to customise the background image and editorial header text for each collection. Starting new collections and saving links couldn’t be easier either, as is creating embeddable widgets to display collections on other sites which I will use extensively as our LibGuides site develops. I’m even on the verge of upgrading to a paid subscription so that I can add annotations to individual items. Love, love, love it! Check out my growing collection of Pearls:

Hbailie

Arrow image: Free for commercial use / No attribution required from Pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/arrow-button-end-final-finish-157495/ 

New tool no. 3 – eduCanon

The latest tool I have evaluated links closely with module 5.3, Flipped Classrooms, as it is a tool that could be used to create lessons in a flipped classroom environment.

eduCanon is an online tool for creating and sharing interactive video lessons. Start with a clip from a video platform (YouTube, TeacherTube, Vimeo, Khan Academy, TedEd and more), crop to just the selection you wish to show, add questions at the time you wish them answered, save and share. You can register your students so that you know who has viewed and whether their answers were correct or share anonymously. The completed video lessons (known as bulbs) can also be embedded in any website or LMS.

Like similar websites and tools, this is a commercial enterprise so the free version has limitations. With it you can:

  • have up to 8 classes
  • monitor an unlimited number of students
  • create unlimited lessons
  • share with colleagues

but your question types are limited to multiple choice, check all that apply and reflective pause.

Upgrading to premium (US$89 per year) gives you

  • fill in the blank and free response question types
  • ability to skip to a time point in the video
  • autograding
  • copying and editing public lessons
  • ability for your students to create lessons
  • worksheet printing
  • downloadable grades

There is also a “Blended school” version with even more functions starting at US$990 per year.

Free accounts offer three ways to share:

  1. With students – ie those you have registered. This will record their responses
  2. Share unique list code – students don’t have to be registered. Responses will be recorded but not linked to an individual
  3. Share with colleagues – for teachers to copy. No login needed to view but no tracking.

Each version includes a different link and embed code.

I have used the embed code from Unique list code to share a bulb I created for a lesson I created about one of my pet hates. You might not show this one to students but it’s a bit of fun:

This the Unique List code link – if you use it you are asked to enter your name and email address before being taken to the video.

I haven’t yet used this with students so it’s difficult to comment on how well eduCanon is works from their perspective but even the simple facility to easily crop a video to just the section you wish to show and share the link or embed is appealing. I can see applications for this not just in the Flipped Learning environment but also in situations where you want students to be able to view and answer questions at their own pace.

Word of warning: when this was demonstrated to me by our media studies teacher he was using a clip from a movie that his students were studying. There were some inappropriate ads showing at the bottom of the screen. Today I turned off my Adblock Plus and Adblock for YouTube extensions but didn’t see any ads appear at all. I’m not sure when or why advertising will appear, whether it is related to the video being shown or something from eduCanon itself (I certainly hope not!) but it’s something to be aware of.