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.
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