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
During 2020, many educators, including Cathy and myself, were displaced from our campus classrooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us were required to quickly adopt technologies and create virtual learning environments. As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the possibility of returning to pre-pandemic classroom environments, we would like to reflect on some improved lecture recording practices utilizing Zoom.
For several years, Cathy and I have used Docerihttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/10/ as an affordable classroom lecture recording technology tool. We both have been avid users of the Doceri software while utilizing our Apple I-Pads and Microsoft Surface Pros when we lecture in our classrooms. Throughout the pandemic, Cathy and I began experimenting with Zoom to record our lectures for students to view on their own time.
Before someone begins recording classroom lectures, we encourage them to view the following two prior Teaching and Learning Toolbox “Tip of the Month” posts. In the first post, we discuss many organizational tips to aid in delivering a quality video lecture. The second post addresses the basic Zoom safety and security functions.
In addition, we always recommend using the most current version of Zoom. This will insure that you are using the most secure version and that you have access to all updated features.
Now, let’s examine the steps to using Zoom to record a lecture.
After you start your Zoom meeting, you will need to test and make sure that your microphone and video are working properly. The microphone Mute and Start Video buttons are available in the bottom information bar on the far left side.
If you want to record a PowerPoint presentation or other documents, you will need to click the Share button located in the bottom information bar. You need to have the document that you want to share open on your desktop. You will have the opportunity to choose the document to display during the lecture after you select the Share button.
To begin recording your lecture, click the More button at the top of the Zoom window.
Choose the Record on this Computer option from the drop-down menu. NOTE: If you did not share your screen, the Record/Pause/Stop Recording buttons will be located in the bottom Zoom information bar.
You have the option to Pause Recording or Stop Recording throughout the lecture. Cathy and I utilize the Pause Recording function to avoid extensive idle time when students are working on group exercises or if there are sensitive subject matters being discussed. Many times we will un-pause the recording and then summarize the discussion that just took place in the live classroom environment. NOTE: Pausing the recording and then resuming the recording will result in one video recording. Stopping a recording and then starting a recording will result in multiple videos. Every time that a recording is stopped, it completely ends that video recording.
When you are finished recording, click on the More button and then choose End from the drop down menu. NOTE: If you did not share your screen, the End button will be located in the bottom Zoom information bar.
After you select End, you will need to select End Meeting for All.
Your recordings will automatically begin converting to .mp4 formatted videos.
Zoom automatically saves your recorded lecture files in a folder named Zoom within your computer’s Documents area. This location should automatically open when the recordings are finished processing. In addition, the files will be sorted by recording date. We suggest renaming the video files before you post them into your Learning Management System.
Additional Note: Cathy and I Share documents in Zoom and mark on them utilizing our I-Pads and Surface Pro’s pencils. These marked up documents are captured within our classroom session recordings. Furthermore, Cathy and I upload our .mp4 Zoom recordings into our YouTube channels as unlisted videos and then we share the YouTube link in our Learning Management Systems. This allows our students to view the videos outside of our Learning Management System, resulting in less buffering issues and increased compatibility with our student’s mobile devices.
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.
Are you looking for a collaboration tool which will allow your classroom teams to work remotely by brainstorming, designing, and planning project ideas using visual tools and flowcharts? If so, then MURAL may be the tool for your classroom environment.
Teachers and students can use MURAL as a dynamic way to present material, encourage class participation and increase student engagement. MURAL can be used for solo or group project organization and presentations. MURAL is an interactive planning and mind mapping software, which encourages collaboration and creativity. Think of MURAL as a blank canvas or whiteboard where users can draw or type ideas and add visual images or videos. MURAL works across many desktop, iOS, and mobile platforms in both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. During project collaboration, many ideas can be shared with the group and then the individual group members have the opportunity to choose their favorite idea.
MURAL provides the opportunity for faculty/student interaction and student/student interaction. Faculty have the ability to visibly monitor the progress made on and the individual contributions to group projects. MURAL has greatly increased the comfort level of our students working within team environments. This virtual team experience skillset transfers easily into other courses and into the workplace.
In addition, MURAL provides a safe space to be creative. Your data is safeguarded with state-of-the-art security practices. This environment provides users the ability to share data and ideas in a safe online space.
MURAL for Education provides a free starter account for teachers, which can aid in the delivery of course content, promote collaboration, and increase student engagement. In addition, support help is built into each feature. Furthermore, free templates and tutorial guides are available to spark your creativity. To get started or learn more about MURAL visit https://www.mural.co/education.
“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.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been communicating fully or at least partially within a virtual environment. Virtual delivery has allowed us to continue to connect and collaborate with students and co-workers while maintaining social distancing practices. Throughout the past several months, we all have encountered good and poor virtual experiences, including meeting and screen fatigue. Cathy and I have reflected on our personal experiences and we decided to identify some virtual delivery best practices.
First, make sure that you have the correct equipment to effectively deliver your course or meeting content. This includes having a reliable web camera, and luckily, most laptops and tablets have adequate built in web cameras. If you prefer a higher quality camera or if you have a desktop, many external web cameras are available at very reasonable price points. In addition, sufficient internet speed to support streaming content and video is required. Many households have implemented a family internet usage calendar to avoid too many devices streaming content during the same time of an important virtual meeting. To improve privacy during virtual delivery, Cathy and I suggest using a headset or a pair of earphones. Many listening options are available depending on how much someone wants to spend on this option. Cathy and I prefer wireless options like Apple AirPods or the Anker Liberty Air. The final piece of equipment that we have invested in is a quality microphone for recorded presentations. Cathy and I prefer the Blue Yeti microphone, which is available with a desk stand or a boom arm. To further reduce microphone noise and acoustic transparency, an optional pop filter can be placed in front of the Blue Yeti microphone.
After you are assured that your equipment can support the delivery of your meeting or course, there are other great practices that should be observed.
Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time and Incorporate Some Transition Time – Make sure to mindfully transition from all other tasks before you deliver or participate in a virtual meeting. Make sure to close other apps and browsers to increase internet speed and to help reduce distractions. In addition, it is important to get into the correct mindset before the virtual meeting begins. Cathy and I suggest reviewing the course topics or meeting agenda for a few minutes before the start of the virtual meeting. Decide if you are going to stand or sit during the virtual presentation. If you normally stand when you teach, we suggest that you stand during the virtual presentation. Also, make sure that your lighting is adequate for others to see you during the presentation. Test your video camera and the lighting before your meeting begins. Furthermore, make sure that all screens that you plan to share during the meeting are ready to view on your device.
Don’t Do Too Much at Once – Typically, it will take longer to cover material in a virtual environment compared to when we meet in person. Consider covering less material and allowing more time for questions and conversation. Online delivery models require more repetition and additional time for discussion. PowerPoint can work well with presentation organization and delivery, but we should avoid putting too much material on individual slides. PowerPoint can help facilitate keeping meetings and classes on track, but the slides should include only the main discussion items. In addition, try to avoid having long virtual meetings or classes. We as humans can only stay engaged virtually for a certain period of time.
Set Some Ground Rules – Participants should develop a habit of muting themselves when they are not talking. To avoid everyone talking at once, a process to ask questions or contribute to the discussion should be in place. Utilizing the chat or raising your hand features are great practices to insure a fair an equitable process for everyone to have a voice during the meeting. Decide ahead of time if all participants will be required to have their camera on during the entire meeting or only when they speak. Cathy and I like the human element in our virtual classroom environments and it is more engaging when students have their cameras are on. At a minimum, everyone should introduce themselves at the beginning of the semester (or meeting) and then state their name when they ask questions.
Increase Engagement – Cathy and I cannot stress enough that engagement during virtual delivery is essential. We utilize polling software to insure that our students are participating and understanding the material being presented. Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Mentimeter, Socrative, GoSoapBox, and Nearpod can be used for virtual meeting polling activities. In addition, we use online breakout rooms to promote smaller group discussions.
Finish Strong– We should always end our virtual meetings with either an overview of what was covered or what still needs to be completed. Many times, we can ask everyone for closing thoughts, what they learned, or what they still are confused about before they exit the meeting. The online chat feature or polling options can help facilitate the end of the meeting discussion.
Cathy and I are always trying to improve our classroom delivery and student engagement. Our goal is to provide others the techniques and technology tools that have been successful in enhancing the student learning experience within our on-campus and virtual classroom environments. Hopefully, our best practices will help with your virtual meeting and course delivery planning process.