With COVID-19 still hanging around, many of us are ready for 2021 to end and we look forward to a healthy 2022. At this time of year, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout 2021. A great resolution for 2022 is to integrate at least one new tool into your classroom environment.
With Chrome’s market dominance, many of us use the Chrome browser on a daily basis. To improve your productivity and efficiency within your classroom environment, Cathy and I suggest exploring a few of the many Chrome extensions. We recommend starting with the following innovative extensions:
Momentum is a free extension that can help add focus to your day. Join over 10 million users who are utilizing Momentum as an all-in-one productivity tool. Momentum sends friendly reminders of your important tasks, links, daily focus, and more. Momentum will help you start and end each day focused on the task at hand.
Kami is the world’s number one digital classroom tool with complete assignment workflow. Kami allows you to annotate and transform any document into an interactive learning space. You and your students can collaborate in real-time through live annotations, video and audio recordings, drawings, and more. Kami provides tools to support many learning styles, helps increase student engagement, and helps improve learning outcomes. Teachers can spend more time with their students and less time on grading. Kami allows you to provide feedback, grade, and push student work straight from your preferred LMS, including Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, and Microsoft Teams.
InsertLearning allows educators to insert instructional content on any web page, which can save teachers and students time while helping keep students engaged. Instructors have access to insert questions, sticky notes, discussions, and videos directly into any website. When students go to that website, they can respond to those questions and discussions, see the videos, and take their own notes. Also, InsertLearning has a feature that will allow students to engage each other in real-time. Use InsertLearning to turn any website into an interactive learning experience.
Google Keep –
Google Keepis a free, simple, and effective productivity and collaboration tool for both students and instructors. If you want to be more organized, productive, and collaborative, Google Keep captures your notes and ideas, provides a collaborative sharing resource, and offers a great To Do List feature. See our Google Keep(March 2019) Tip of the Month for more information.
Just Read –
Just Read is a feature-packed and customizable reader view app. With Just Read, you can reformat cluttered websites into cleaner, easy-to-read documents. Just Read allows you to easily eliminate advertisements, popups, comments, and other web clutter when you pull content from web pages. The finished product is a simplified, clean, and readable document that can be distributed to students.
At this time of year, we as educators begin to organize ourselves and make plans for the upcoming semester. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many educators to utilize technology to deliver quality education. This a great time to reflect on what worked well in a virtual environment and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year. Where should you start? Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.
To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage. In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone. Other cloud storage services that we recommend are GoogleDrive, Microsoft One Drive, and Apple iCloud.
In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity. Both Notability and Evernote are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis. Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Google Keep, Notion, Microsoft OneNote, and Apple Notes.
Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment. Doceri allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures. Zoom has also become a great presentation tool for Cathy and myself. Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Jamboard, Stormboard,Camtasia, Tegrity, Snagit,Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Whiteboard.
To increase student engagement in the classroom environment, Cathy and I utilize several polling and gamification technologies. Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Piazza, Sli.do, Socrative, Ziplet, Peergrade, and Mertimeter are a few of our favorite polling options. These student engagement technologies work great for on campus or online learning environments.
Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculums. Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are: Canva, Soundtrap, Mural, GoSoapBox, Google Keep, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.
Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures. Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Wakelet, Kahoot Challenge, Flipgrid, Google Slides, and Recap.
We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year. We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty. Many technologies provide similar benefits; therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above. We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources. Good luck and have a great academic year.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou~
Since the shift toward remote learning, Markus and I have been asked numerous times about ideas and tools to bring more collaboration, critical thinking (creativity), and engagement to courses. This month we are sharing Canva, a technology tool that allows students to creatively collaborate, and instructors to create appealing course materials that support engagement. Canva for Education provides numerous free resources for instructors and students, such as images, fonts, graphics, videos, animations, and visualization and educational templates. Canva also provides students with a dedicated and safe workspace to share, review, edit, and comment in real-time. For instructors, Canva helps enhance the visual design of your course to create a more engaging learning environment.
While Canva is ideal for enhancing online learning, it also works well with in-person, hybrid, or hyflex course delivery methods. Canva activities can be shared through your LMS or through applications such as Microsoft Teams. Canva allow students to work together whether viewing, editing, or sharing feedback. Canva’s real-time functionality will enable students the flexibility to work synchronously or asynchronously as needed. Canva also helps students stay connected and engage in any course.
For remote learning, instructors can create a lesson with voiceover, then share it as a video link in their LMS or by email. Students can also create videos or record themselves speaking in an assignment or project. Every student in the course has a voice using Canva, whether submitting original work or providing feedback for classmates.
There are numerous ways to use Canva, and it is adaptable for every type of course. The following are just a few ideas that Markus and I would like to share:
Design Thinking: Are you looking for a way to implement and manage design thinking projects? Canva allows students to collaborate on design thinking activities and then provide their insights in an infographic.
Portfolios: Canva is a great tool to help students create learning portfolios, reflect on their learning or store information to create a resume or CV.
Student Learning Plans: Student learning plans can help students become more aware and engaged in learning. With Canva, students can set personal course goals, create self-study guides, plus highlight newly discovered interests from the topics covered in their course(s). In addition, asingle student or group of students can use Canva to share their portfolios, allowing for peer-to-peer feedback, which improves the learning process.
Group Projects: Canva makes group projects more appealing. Groups of ten (10) can be created for free. A Canva group makes it easier for group members to create, share, comment, and revise projects. Students can also engage by liking a group member’s work when no other feedback is required.
Visualizations: Canva allows students to create text-or-image-based graphics, which can often illustrate formulas or problems found in accounting, mathematics, statistics, and the sciences better. For students who find quantitative subjects challenging to grasp, adding a creative, visual aspect to the activity can help these students more easily “connect the dots”. Canva alsooffers various templates that help students turn numbers into visuals that are easier to understand.
Reflections: Markus and I both provide students with opportunities to reflect in our courses. Use Canva to perform a quick reflection, similar to a one-minute paper, or to create a more in-depth reflective course examination.
Pre-Class Activities: Encourage students to be prepared by visually summarizing a chapter or topic in Canva before class. Remind(November 2015) or LMS Announcements help reinforce when the Pre-Class Activity is due so it gets completed.
Data Analytics: Charts and graphs help to demystify numbers. You can add data analytics visualization to any course using Canva’s easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blank, visualization templates. Canva is also a great way to have students explore visualization in a user-friendly environment before moving to more sophisticated visualization tools.
Flashcards: Create flashcards using Canva that can be used on a device or printed for additional practice.
Resumes: Resume creation is made easy with Canva. Students pick a layout and enter their data. Canva formats the document, selects the font, and suggests a suitable design.
Signatures: Many documents previously submitted in person prior to remote learning now require electronic signatures. Teach students how to create their electronic signature using Canva.
For instructors, consider using Canva to create engaging and interactive presentations and assignments. Canva provides a wide range of assignment templates, including writing prompts, journal entries, book review designs, and word problems. In addition, create eye-appealing calendars, schedules, and anchor charts to help students stay on track during the course. Canva also lets you link created graphics to a webpage, in order to make the graphic interactive. Simply, download your file as a PDF or webpage rather than as an image. QR codes can be added to any design to make it easier for students to access web content.
Canva is entirely COPPA and FERPA compliant, ensuring your student’s privacy and safety. Canva is also easy to use, and to get started. Just send your students an invitation link through your LMS or email. Feeling a bit tech challenged? There are numerous resources available to help you explore Canva as you look for new and exciting ways you can utilize this tool in your course(s).
Whether you want to utilize Design Thinking, incorporate Data Analytics, enhance project-based collaboration in your course, or create more engaging lectures and activities, Canva provides you the tools you need. To explore what Canva for Education offers or set up your account, go to https://www.canva.com/education/. You can also check out a brief summary about Canva for Education in the following video: https://youtu.be/3Axs47FT1-s
If you are looking for a technology tool that will engage students and bring your course content to life, Wakelet is the tool! Unlike some apps, there is only one version of Wakelet. The free version! Additionally, there are no limitations or required upgrades; instructors can create unlimited collections and spaces, invite an unlimited number of participants or contributors, and users can create multiple accounts if desired.
Wakelet is easy to use and works seamlessly with most learning management systems. It also works with multiple other educational technology tools, such as Flipgrid (February 2018), Kahoot (November 2017), and Microsoft Teams (March 2018). It is accessible and inclusive. Partnered with Microsoft, Wakelet utilizes Microsoft’s Immersive Reader, which enhances accessibility and inclusivity in your courses. The text-to-speech reader is as simple as clicking an icon. The Immersive Reader also provides language translation.
There are multiple ways to utilize Wakelet in a course. For instance, do you currently use student resource packets? You can easily convert these manual resource packets using Wakelet into engaging, online content. Do you utilize Microsoft Teams with your students or colleagues? If so, you can share WakeletCollections with team members. You can also bookmark or save links to your WakeletCollections directly from Microsoft Teams.
Do you encourage students to become self-directed learners? If so, you can embed videos into Wakelet to explain a topic, allowing students to rewind and repeat the concepts as often as needed. You can even embed a self-assessment Kahoot quiz after a Wakelet learning activity. Allowing students to repeat assessments until they have mastered the concepts or have reached the assessment deadline.
Flipgrid can also be used with Wakelet to create an engaging activity that facilitates class discussion. Create a discussion Q&A session or enhance your discussion board activities. This type of interactive engagement helps students improve their critical thinking and communication/collaboration skills. It also helps students learn to be concise with their responses.
WakeletSpaces helps instructors get organized. For instance, you can organize your Flipgrid discussion responses by activity. This arrangement allows instructors to build a collection of discussion responses that students can use for future reflection activities. Additionally, today many students learn better when they can communicate verbally rather than in writing. Wakelet, combined with Flipgrid, provides a simple way to give students oral formative assessments to showcase their knowledge.
Since many students use various mobile devices, Wakelet’s mobile app is convenient for students in remote learning environments. Mobile access allows students to collaborate across devices and from any location. Students can join a Wakelet Collection by scanning a QR Code, entering a Collection’s code, or pasting a Collection’s URL. Students can also utilize the app without creating a Wakelet account.
From enhanced resource sharing, assessment, project collaboration to eFolios, Wakelet is a versatile tool that will enhance your teaching toolbox and improve your students’ learning experience.
Are you ready to use this engaging technology tool? To get started, you can sign up for your free account at https://wakelet.com/. Be sure to check out Wakelet’s free templates and learning resources (blogs, guides, videos).
Many of us are ready for 2020 to end and to turn the page to 2021. As our semester and 2020 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 2021 is to integrate one new tool into your classroom environment.
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” ~Bill Gates~
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed when you hear or read about disruptive technology changes coming to the field of Accounting? If so, you are not alone. We hear terms like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), RPA (Robotic Process Automation), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), Mixed Reality, Blockchain, Big Data, Data Analytics, Data Visualization, 3-D Printing-Additive Manufacturing, and IoT (The Internet of Things). We are told that these disruptive technologies will impact the future of accounting, but do we really need to worry about this now? The answer is yes! Changes in technology is going to disrupt the future of the accounting workplace and the time to adapt is now. The future is here!
Download to read the remainder of our article that was published in the July/August 2020 edition of the MOCPA Asset Magazine.
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.
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: Zoomis 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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.