Today’s students are experiencing education through more than just books, lectures and note taking. They’re using social media and other online tools like never before. This connectivity and access to information anytime, anywhere creates many educational opportunities that can be embraced by educators as a way to promote learning.
Teachers everywhere are using social media to collaborate, engage and even conduct research. Take, for instance, the story of school counselor Julie Culp. She posted a selfie on Facebook® holding a sign asking viewers to like and share the image. Her goal was to show students how quickly content spreads on the Internet. In the first week, the image was shared more than 16,000 times and liked more than 600,000 times. The power of social media can be amazing! And a recent survey cited by Mashable reports that of those asked, 72 percent of teachers say they or their students use mobile phones in the classroom to assist in completing assignments. If you’re looking for online tools you can integrate into your classroom, you may want to keep reading.
Top tools educators can use
The online trend is certainly here to stay. Here are some tools educators are using to harness its power.
- Moodle®: Moodle is one of the most widely used learning platforms. It can be used to assign homework, submit assignments and hold online discussions and chats. It also has a calendar feature. Moodle, unlike some other platforms, has a filtering system that can be set to auto-link related course activities, create documents in multiple languages and censor words with a blackout list feature.
- Classroom: Classroom by Google® is a new app from Google Apps for Education. Available in September, this tool will allow teachers to create and organize assignments, collect homework and provide feedback. It can also be used as a communication tool for announcements and other important information. And because it is a culmination of Google Docs, Google Drive and Gmail®, many teachers will already be familiar with its features.
If you’re incorporating a tool like Moodle or Classroom into your learning model, you’ll want to make sure users know how to navigate it. You may want to print some commonly used features and login procedures on an iPad® sleeve, laptop sleeve or backpack for quick reference.
- Edmodo®: Edmodo is a hybrid of sorts. Not only can teachers post assignments, create homework calendars and share lesson plans, there is also a social aspect where students can collaborate and practice reading aloud and speaking publicly with others around the world. It also has a voting feature called Edmodo Votes that can be used to poll students’ views on debated issues, upcoming elections or even lesson plan preference. Post a poll and reward participants with a small trinket, like a logo’d school supply kit or sport bottle bag.
- TED-Ed: You may have heard of TED Talks® (TED is short for technology, entertainment and design). These online talks are best known for their quality educational lectures. TED-Ed is geared toward students and offers a host of short videos organized by topic, including science, math, health and more. TED-Ed also includes online tools to assist instructors with lesson plan creation.
- Socrative: Socrative is a smart student-response tool that uses educational exercises and games to engage with and interact in the classroom. Use this tool for anonymous Q&A, to administer short quizzes and to gamify learning. For instance, the space race feature allows students to compete in a rocket race game by correctly answering quiz questions.
Remember, students are using the Internet and social media like never before. Successfully incorporate these tools into your classroom and you may just find new and exciting ways to reach your audience. Give it a try!
Hosler, Aimee. “6 Pros And Cons Of Social Media In The Classroom.” TeachThought. N.p., 28 Dec. 2013. Web. Retrieved 04 July 2014.
Bautista, Camille. “73% of Teachers Use Cellphones for Classroom Activities.” Mashable. N.p., 27 Feb. 2013. Web. Retrieved 04 July 2014.
“Moodle.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 07 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 06 July 2014.
“Filters.” – MoodleDocs. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 06 July 2014.
Gayomali, Chris. “Google Reveals Classroom, A Tool That Lets Teachers Collect Assignments Online.” Fast Company. N.p., 07 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 04 July 2014.
Fort, Adam. “5 Online Tools Every Teacher Should Try at the Classroom.” ELearning Industry RSS. N.p., 11 Feb. 2014. Web. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
Byrne, Richard. “Three Good Ways to Use Socrative In Your Classroom.” Free Technology for Teachers. N.p., 25 Apr. 2013. Web. Retrieved 22 July 2014.