7 Tools For Your Digital Classroom

Using The Right Tools For Your Digital Classroom

Some see blended learning as a transition stage between the traditional classroom and eLearning. However, it has its own unique benefits. Of course, online learning is accessible and practical. At first, it was primarily seen as an option for students with geographical barriers learning remotely. Later, the teaching community saw the new opportunity to include and reach students with time and financial limitations, full-time jobs, special family circumstances, and personal commitments. Whereas the traditional educational model still has a lot to offer, so I do not think that the traditional classroom is absolutely outdated and we should ditch it in the nearest future. Combining the best of both worlds, blended learning prepares your students for a virtual future while still equipping them with solid traditional skills (think of the heated discussion on whether we need cursive or not). Today I give my fellow educators the list of the essential tools for your digital classroom, the ones you need to transform your traditional classroom into blended-learning or a digital one.

1. HotChalk

Opening this list is HotChalk, an online learning environment where educators can interact with students and their parents. This is among the essentials because, whichever platform you prefer, there must be a place where you can keep your curricula, lesson plans, handouts, tests, grades, etc. Although HotChalk does not provide as many options as other teaching management systems, it is free, and comprehensive enough. It offers a vast library base, grade books, assessment quizzes, customizable lessons and other tools that facilitate interaction and provide feedback.

2. Pumpic

When we say eLearning, we think about adults and college students first. However, with a growing popularity of the trend, digital classroom extends to schoolchildren as well. Tablets, smartphones, VR/AR gear and other internet-connected devices are a native medium for a modern pupil. Such connectedness, however, has its downsides, so experts advise guidance and close monitoring of online activities to avoid any adversities, such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, excessive screen time, and psychological addiction. Pumpic is a versatile monitoring tool that allows iCloud tracking and GPS monitoring and some other unique features.

3. NYT VR – Virtual Reality

When it comes to an immersive learning experience, nothing compares to virtual reality. The technology that has been around for a couple of decades is finally living up to the hype it created back in the nineties. It existed and matured for some time in the area of surgery simulators and military training. Now it is ready to enter your classroom.

Although the official slogan of this free app says “All it takes is a smartphone”, you also might need some VR gear, at least Google Cardboard. However, once your students are fully equipped, this is a great tool for immersive storytelling. The app places them in the center of the story, wherever and whenever it takes place. History and cultural studies will benefit the most from this visual enhancement.

4. Teachem

Video resources are great tools as they are. Think of Khan Academy, TED Talks, HowStuffWorks, and many others. However, you can get even better than that. Although videos are the main vehicle of eLearning, they are not as engaging and compelling as face-to-face interaction. Teachem provides a solution to this dilemma. It is a web-based service that helps you to turn YouTube videos into customizable exciting lessons with quizzes, flashcards, and notes pinned to videos. It is an interactive online school where anyone can create their own class with various videos.

From history to music to math – any subject will benefit from this entertaining and creative tool.

5. Kahoot!

While some may be skeptical about gamification, one can hardly overestimate its benefits. It inspires creativity, motivates students to self-learning, keeps them motivated and focused – all thanks to fun and the flow state that games naturally induce.

Kahoot! is a platform for game-based learning, where students are in control of the process and teachers are assessing their progress through quizzes and enhance responsiveness. You can choose games from thousands of pre-existing options or create your own. There is a variety of subjects and modes, making this tool very flexible for individual or group eLearning and blended learning.

6. GoClass

This is another tool created for blended learning, that you can use to enhance the engagement in your classroom. However, you can use for eLearning as well. GoClass enables teachers to broadcast content, videos, handouts, and much more directly to a student’s device, while students can bookmark anything for later view or save their notes. The lessons go in sessions and students can join from anywhere. Teachers can create lesson playlists and various assessment activities to individualize learning experience for each of their students.

7. Socrative

Grading is hardly topping the lists of favorite things to educators and students alike. However, it is essential for assessing progress and identifying points that need improvement. Socrative is a service that takes the strain making the whole process streamlined and automated. It connects teachers and students at the moment when the learning happens, so you can give them prepared assessment quizzes or ask questions on the fly – no matter where you or your students are. What is more important, the service allows you to track the progress of each student and gives suggestions about a personalized approach for better mastery of the skills and knowledge.

Final Word

eLearning provides opportunities for everyone. Special needs students, students living in remote locations or constantly traveling benefit from technology and distant learning immensely. In fact, even a traditional classroom today hardly happen to have no digital tools at all. Therefore, it is essential for modern teachers to discover and master new tools and stay on top of things.

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