Are You Ready for Remote Learning? Technology Tools to Quickly and Effectively Shift Your Lecture Courses Online.

When teaching with technology, Markus and I always promote having a Game Plan B and sometimes even a Game Plan C.  This same mindset can apply to having a contingency plan for taking lecture courses online.  This plan might be the result of weather or as we are seeing right now the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  If you are in the process of shifting your lecture courses online or facing this prospect in the future, here are some tips and technology resources that may help.

Transition Strategies

  • First and foremost, it is important for you to remain calm. Making this transition can be stressful for instructors and students.  How you present yourself with students will set the stage for a successful transition.  Strive for a smooth transition, not perfection.  Remember you aren’t perfect in your lecture classes, and you don’t need to be perfect in the online classroom.
  • As part of the planning process, try to mirror your online course as closely as possible to your existing lecture class. This will help your students adapt and provide everyone the best transition and learning experience. Check out your publisher’s materials first.  They are already prepared for online delivery, including content being accessibility approved.  When you have the time, create your own lecture videos.  Being able to see the instructor in the course, keeps students engaged.  For online learning, be sure to keep videos short.  Five minutes or less is ideal.  Having more short videos is better than one long video for both the students and the instructor.
  • Make yourself “present” in the course through Discussion Boards, collaborative tools, etc. It is important for students to feel connected.  Remember, many students believe they learn best in a lecture environment.  It is essential to make them feel comfortable in the online course too.
  • Set expectations immediately. Communicate what has changed in your course format and be clear about your expectations. Also, make sure to highlight the differences in online learning. In addition, revise your syllabus to reflect any remote learning expectations.
  • Include frequent feedback mechanisms or knowledge checks. Utilize your learning management system, homework management system or other assessment technology tools listed below.

Let’s look at some technology tools that can help you make a quick and easy transition from the classroom to online.  Don’t try to use too many tools at once.  Pick the best tool(s) to supplement the learning experience you are trying to achieve at the time.

Immediate Transition Tools

  • Communicate: Post an announcement in your learning management system about course changes.  Remind students to check the course and their school email regularly.  It might be helpful to have your students sign up with Remind (November 2015) as a way to stay connected.  Both Markus and I use Remind to redirect students back to our learning management systems.  This tool can be especially helpful for working with lecture students who may not regularly check their school email or learning management system course.
  • Updating Your Course: To quickly insert supplemental material into your course, look at all available publisher material.  Publisher homework managers often have various study tools and supplemental teaching tools, including adaptive learning plans, videos, etc. that can be easily inserted to help with the initial transition.
  • Campus Resources: Use any campus resources available that are supported by your IT staff first.  This will ensure that you have professional assistance available if needed.
  • Stage the Transition in Steps: Look at the activities you can easily transition to online learning first.  Then look at how you can enhance or add to your course.
  • Be inclusive: Remember that some students will not have computer access to your course.  Will the activities in your course be accessible to students on smartphones or smart devices?  Be sure to consider how you will accommodate a student who might not have access to any technology.

Video Creation Tools

  • Doceri:  Markus and I have used Doceri (October 2019) for several years as a lecture capture tool as well as a method to provide students with short tutorials.  Doceri has a free version if you don’t mind the watermark or you can pay a one-time fee of $30 for the desktop license and training support.
  • TechSmith (Snagit):  The TeachingAndLearningToolBox featured Snagit (August 2017).  Snagit is a screen capture, screen recorder that can be used to create tutorials and lectures.  TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020.  Click here for details.
  • Video Hosting:  There are several video hosting sites including Vimeo and YouTube.  Markus and I use YouTube because of the closed-captioning feature.  Click here for how to upload videos to YouTube. Note:  If you use the public setting, anyone can find your video.  Markus and I prefer to use the unlisted setting where we share a link with our students.  We would recommend you avoid using the private setting as that requires you to input/approve your student email accounts before they will have access.  Accessibility is a concern when shifting to online learning.  Click here for how to add closed captioning to your videos on YouTube.

Virtual Collaboration Connections

Many learning management systems have a collaboration feature (Blackboard Collaborate, Canvas, etc.), or your school may have technology such as Adobe Connect or WebEx.  Check with your school resources first to see what type of collaboration tools may be available.

  • Zoom:  Zoom is a virtual collaboration tool that is available for most devices.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.  Zoom is an easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.  To learn more about Zoom, click here.
  • WebEx: WebEx has just extended its free plan to 90 Days.  WebEx allows you to record meetings, share files and it also has a whiteboard feature.  It also accommodates up to 100 attendees and can be accessed through both computer and mobile devices.  To learn more about WebEx’s extended free plan special, click here.
  • Logme.in: Logme.in is part of the GoToMeeting family.  It provides similar features to Zoom and WebEx.  To learn more about Logme.in’s free plan special, click here.
  • Microsoft Sway:  Microsoft Sway (December 2017) is a virtual collaboration tool that is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”. This tool is an alternative to PowerPoint that lets you share video, text, images, and any other media to “tell the story” to your students.
  • Evernote: Evernote (March 2016) is a great tool for remote group work collaboration.  It allows students to easily share with their classmates and instructor.  Evernote is also a great tool for student portfolios.
  • TechSmith Video Review:  This is a collaborative feedback tool that records presentations as well as allows students to interact with the videos and provide comments.  This tool lets you keep a meaningful conversation going in an asynchronous environment. TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020. To learn more about TechSmith Video Review, click here.
  • Microsoft Teams:  If your school has Office 365, Microsoft Teams (March 2018) is another great collaborative tool you can use to create classroom teams.
  • Slack:  If you want to bring classroom collaboration and teamwork together online, check out Slack (January 2018).
  • GoogleHangouts Advanced (Gsuite):  Normally, Markus and I talk about GoogleHangouts for virtual office hours; however, Google has just announced free access to their Advanced GoogleHangouts/Gsuite as a response to the needs of organizations affected by the Coronavirus.  Gsuite will allow users to hold meetings up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and record meetings that can be posted to Google Drive.  To learn more about GoogleHangouts, click here.  To learn more about free access to Gsuites, click here.

Virtual Office Hours

In addition to some of the virtual collaboration tools listed above, below are some technology tools that can help you streamline your virtual office hours.

  • Calendly:  Calendly (November 2016) is a simple way for students to sign up for virtual office hours.  This is a tool I use regularly and couldn’t live without.  Simply set up your office hour schedule in the application and provide students the link.  They can pick the best time to connect with you based on your availability.
  • Google Voice:  Many schools are asking faculty to provide some type of phone number to their students.  To avoid giving out your personal phone number, Google Voice offers a free number that you can link to your home or cell phone.  Markus and I both use Google Voice with our students.  This allows you to separate your personal and work life calls. To learn more about Google Voice, click here.
  • Skype:  While Markus and I have talked about using Skype for virtual field trips, it is also a great tool to connect with students during virtual office hours.  To learn more about Skype options, click here.

Interactive Assessment

  • Peergrade:  If you do individual and group evaluations, Peergrade (August 2018) is a great online tool to use with your students.  While there is typically a charge, Peergrade just announced that they will provide this application for free for the next four months. Use the code COVID19 when prompted.  Click here for details.  What a great time to give this assessment tool a try!
  • Quizlet:  Quizlet (January 2017) is a great tool to reinforce basic learning outside of the classroom.  The free version allows for the creation of study tools, including flashcards, learning activities, practice tests, and games.
  • Kahoot Challenge:  Bring the gamification of Kahoot from the classroom to online with Kahoot Challenge (November 2017).
  • Poll Everywhere Competition:  If you are using clickers or other polling devices in your classroom, try Poll Everywhere Competition (September 2018) with your online learners.

Enhanced Discussions

  • Flipgrid:  Create a vibrant learning environment by bringing your discussion boards to life with Flipgrid (February 2018).  Students create short videos for discussion posts from their cell phones.  Flipgrid gives every student a voice!

Document Submission

  • Office Lens:  You may have students who don’t have access to a computer while off-campus.  While most students can access class materials with their smartphones, they may not be able to electronically complete or submit work. If you have students who need to submit manual assignments, suggest that they download the Office Lens app by Microsoft (May 2018). Office Lens lets students take a picture with their smartphone, then convert it to a PDF.  This app provides more clarity than a regular smartphone picture and the PDF file is easy for the instructor to grade.

Markus and I know we have given you a lot of information.  You may feel a bit overwhelmed.  We recommend that you only pick one or two items to start.  Remember to use technology that serves a pedagogical purpose.  That may help you narrow down your selection.

Markus and I are closely monitoring free or low-cost technology options that may help you provide a better learning experience for your students.  As new information is available, we will post it to the blog.

Best of luck!  Remember this transition will be an evolving process.  You and your students will be adjusting together. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to stay positive.  You’ve got this!

If you have questions during your journey, feel free to reach out to Markus or myself at info@teachingandlearningtoolbox.com.  You can also sign up for automatic notifications for future posts by clicking on the link on the bottom right corner of the Tip of the Month home page.

©2020 TeachingAndLearningToolbox

Create Interactive, Engaging Presentations with Real-Time Feedback Using Mentimeter.

Markus and I have discussed several polling and assessment apps over the years including Socrative (February 2016), Kahoot (June 2016), Google Q&A (April 2018), Polleverywhere (September 2018), Sli.do (May 2019), GoSoapBox (September 2019) and Formative (November 2019).  If you are looking for something different that seamlessly combines interactive, engaging presentations with real-time feedback, consider MentimeterMentimeter allows you to create interactive presentations by embedding polls, word clouds, quizzes, and Q&A slides.  Like other polling applications, students use their smartphones to respond.

What makes Mentimeter different?  Primarily, their free version allows unlimited participants.  This single feature can be extremely useful for those teaching larger classes.  Other benefits of the free version are unlimited presentations and access to the Mentimeter Help Center.  However, the free version does have some limitations.  For instance, it only allows 2 questions per presentation and no more than 5 quizzes.

Mentimeter’s paid upgrades also have some useful enhanced features, including (1) Smartphone presentation control; (2) Easy navigation between presentation slides, student voting, and Q&A monitoring; (3) PowerPoint import feature, which allows you to use existing PowerPoints with Mentimeter assessment features.  In addition to PowerPoint, users can also upload PDF or Keynote files.

For those who prefer to present from a podium, both Windows (PowerPoint 2016 – Office 365 with the Mentimeter plug-in) and Mac’s users can easily toggle or swipe to move between a presentation and the Mentimeter application.

Mentimeter as a single app easily supports interactive lecturing.  Use Mentimeter to start class with an icebreaker activity, encourage discussion between concepts, assess learning, and monitor student questions in real-time.  Mentimeter is also a great reflection tool at the end of an activity, a class or the course.

Most of all, Mentimeter is inclusive, fun and a great way to increase learning.  It is a tool that helps engage everyone in the course while providing the instructor with real-time feedback to quickly assess and correct gaps in knowledge.

To learn more about Mentimeter or set up your free account, go to https://www.mentimeter.com/Mentimeter also has a blog that shares various presentation and teaching tips https://www.mentimeter.com/blog.

©2020 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

2019 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2019 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2020 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Doodlyhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/01/

Integrating Data Analytics https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/

Google Keephttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/

Piazzahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/04/

Sli.dohttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/

Identity Guardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/06/

Integrating Data Analytics #2 https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year – https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/08/

Go Soap Boxhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/09/

Doceri (Revisited)https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/10/

Formative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/11/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2020.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Formative: A Real-Time, Robust Assessment Tool To Improve Learning!

Markus and I have been a fan of Kahoot (June 2016) and Kahoot Challenges (November 2017) for some time. While Kahoot is a fun way for students to learn and instructors to easily assess learning, there are times when a more robust assessment tool is desired.  Formative is that tool.  Formative is an easy to use, web-based, real-time student response and assessment tool that works well with any device and any type of delivery method (traditional lecture, flipped classroom, hybrid or online).  It allows you to track student learning over a period of time, rather than a single activity.  Formative offers closed and open-ended question options, plus provides immediate feedback, if desired, to support deeper learning.

Formative connects in-class and out-of-class activities together.  It also gives students the opportunity to try, fail and try again.  Markus and I both feel that providing students an opportunity to fail in a safe environment is essential to the learning process.

Formative is a multifaceted tool.  You can use it for assessing student pre-work, supplement interactive lecturing, collect class exit ticket data, enhance reflection activities or simply reinforce class concepts outside of class.  Formative gives students the chance to demonstrate their understanding of concepts through closed-ended questions (Multiple Choice or True False) or open-ended questions with written and/or show your work responses.

As an instructor or program assessment coordinator, you can use the data collected with Formative to improve course delivery immediately or over a period of time.  Formative eliminates the guesswork involved in traditional methods of teaching.  It provides real-time feedback to both the student and the instructor.

The basic version of Formative is free and works quite well for a single instructor. When upgrading to the premium version, you will receive several other features such as cheating detection, enhanced questions with audio, auto-grading, class lock, emoji feedback, randomized questions, and results, answer images, printing for non-tech environments, student to instructor feedback, unlimited progress tracking, unlimited PDF/Word Document uploads, unlimited report exports, default points, customized assignment options, batch scoring and feedback as well as the ability to add answers while grading.

Student access to Formative is also easy.  Students can join your Formative class with a class code or URL.  For schools that use Clever or Google Classroom, Formative integrates easily with these applications.

Formative has a few different ways to monitor student progress, including real-time formative feedback or a student growth tracker. If you want to add learning scaffolding to your course, Formative allows you to provide as many or as few resources as desired.  For instance, when a concept is introduced, you may want to provide students with more supporting resources.  However, as concepts and students evolve, you may decide to use fewer supporting resources and let students work and think more on their own.  Formative is ideal for course or program assessment as it allows you to track by standards or learning outcomes.

To learn more about Formative, go to https://community.goformative.com/videos to view any of the free tutorial videos or you can go to https://goformative.com/ to set up your free account!

©2019 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

 

Poll Everywhere Update: Poll Everywhere Competitions Now Available

Poll Everywhere Competitions-1

As we have previously written (August 2015), Poll Everywhere provides “free” polling to educators, which allows you to poll up to 40 students at one time.  It only takes a few minutes to set up a poll and students can respond to your poll in numerous ways, including by texting from their cell phones.  But now you have the capability to create Student Competitions within Poll Everywhere.  When you create multiple choice questions in Poll Everywhere, you now have the option for the students to play for points.  You determine the number of questions to include in the Competition and the students respond from their devices.  Points are earned for correct answers and for how quickly they submit their answer.  The leaderboard is updated after each question, which creates competitiveness and excitement in the classroom.  You can have students compete individually or in teams.  Typically, Cathy and I prefer utilizing a team environment within the classroom, which avoids having students being left out if they do not have a device with them to submit their answer.

This is a great way to introduce gamification into your curriculum.  Cathy and I use Poll Everywhere for first day of class activities, in-class exam reviews, homework responses and ethic case responses (to name a few).  Poll Everywhere has increased student engagement and classroom attendance within our courses.

For more information on how to use this “free” resource, go to the link below and watch the “Introducing Poll Everywhere Competitions” video for a quick demonstration:  https://www.polleverywhere.com/competitions

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Kahoot Update: Now available…..create out-of-class assignments with Kahoot Challenge!

The June 2016 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com blog introduced Kahoot as an engaging in-class gamification technology tool; however, the value of Kahoot now extends beyond the classroom.   Using the new Kahoot Challenges feature, you can now create interactive out-of-class assignments too.  To assign a Kahoot Challenge, simply (1) create or select an existing Kahoot, (2) select challenge, (3) set a deadline, (4) share the link or pin, and (5) then wait for students to accept the challenge on their smart devices, using the mobile Kahoot app (kahoot.com/mobile-app).

Kahoot Challenges are a great way to connect with student between classes.  Use Kahoot Challenges to increase pre-work completion, make homework activities engaging or supplement exam reviews.  With Kahoot’s auto-grading feature, you save the participant’s Kahoot Challenge scores in Google Drive or Excel, using the My Results feature.

To learn more about using Kahoot Challenge for out-of-class activities, go to

https://kahoot.com/blog/2017/09/18/how-to-create-challenge-new-kahoot-mobile-app/

2017 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com

Kahoot!

Kahoot Logo

Have you ever wanted to add Gamification to your courses?  Gamification has become popular in education and business as a way to use game design elements and concepts in areas that are not typically thought of in a game context.  Gamification is a way to encourage collaboration and team work as well as build leadership skills, jump-start a discussion or simply check-the-pulse of your class.  Gamification can include non-technology related activities, but there are technology tools, such as Kahoot! that make incorporating gamification into your courses easy!

Kahoot! is a free gamification cloud-based application (and the creators have promised it will always be free), which lets you set up  games (known as kahoots) in just minutes.  These kahoots work on any devices with an Internet connection and can be saved privately so they are available for your future use or you can share kahoots with other instructors.  Players do not have to set up an account and kahoots are simple to play, using a single click response.  Instructors have control over the response time, which makes this application useful for introducing a new concept as well as measuring understanding and mastery later in the course. Kahoots also let instructors insert videos and diagrams to make games dynamic and engaging.

Recently Kahoot! introduced their team-play concept, which works  great in a group learning environment.  The team-play concept also eliminates the need for every student to have a device.  Only one member of the team needs to respond for the group.  Additionally, the team-player application lets the instructor identify individual team members, which simplifies assigning points to a kahoot, if desired.  Points are assigned based on the correct answer and response time.  Therefore, if multiple teams respond with the right answer, the team with the quickest response time receives the most points.  This adds a fun/competitive element to the learning process.  The results for each kahoot can be exported and saved in a spreadsheet format, making future gradebook updates simple and convenient.

While Kahoot! is typically used in a classroom setting, you can also use Kahoot! with virtual meeting applications for your online classes. Create a kahoot for a live exam review and add a new dimension to your online courses.  Kahoot! works whether your students are in the same room or across the globe.

Are you excited about the possibilities of easily adding gamification to your courses with this application?  For more information about how to start creating your own kahoots or to search for existing kahoots you can use in your courses, visit:  https://getkahoot.com/how-it-works.

 

Socrative

Socrative Logo

Socrative is a free polling application, which allows you to poll your students and track the results.  Socrative is easy to use and customize.  Polling questions can be created in various formats, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer or open-ended responses.  Instructors can use Socrative to gauge a student’s basic understanding or assess higher levels of learning, such as the student’s ability to analyze concepts.  Socrative delivers real-time results and reports can be processed by individual students, the entire class or by question.     One of the best benefits of using Socrative as a polling application is its compatibility with numerous devices and browsers.  Students can find Socrative apps for  IOS, Android, Chrome and Kindle, plus it  works with all browsers.

While I typically use other polling devices for quick “Check the Pulse” activities in my classes, when I want to track results by student; Socrative is a fantastic tool.  For more information about Socrative or to sign up for your free account, go to:  http://www.socrative.com/

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere provides “free” polling to educators , which will allow you to poll up to 40 students at one time.  It takes only a few minutes to set up a poll and students can respond to your poll in numerous ways, including by texting from their cell phones.

Cathy and I use Poll Everywhere for first day of class activities, in-class exam review, homework responses and ethic case responses (to name a few).  Poll Everywhere has increased student engagement and classroom attendance in our courses.

Go to the link below and “watch the engagement magic” video for a quick demonstration (again this is “free”):  https://www.polleverywhere.com/

© 2015 Teaching and Learning Toolbox