As we start this unprecedented school year, we try to ensure that students are engaged in their learning. Technology ensures engagement while offering students the opportunity to gain 21st century skills while they work synchronously or asynchronously. Technology tools also expand a teacher’s ability to reach all students, aid in their ability to communicate, and allow for extensions of knowledge outside the classroom. Here are a few of my favorite tools for online learning for the 20-21 school year:
Jamboard for Google Classroom
Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that allows educators to interact with their students via a blank space. It is another G Suite app that can be utilized alongside Google Classroom, Slides, Docs, etc. It can be wildly useful when synchronous remote learning is taking place. Teachers can use one “Jam” for the whole class (like everyone writing on the board) or can make multiple Jams for everyone to have their own. In science class, this can be great for at home laboratory experiments. Students can collect data in small groups and post the information to their group Jam for all to see. It increases scientific collaboration, especially during remote instruction.
Nearpod is a way to turn your slide decks into interactive lessons. Teachers can utilize this tool by uploading already existing slide decks and adding questions, polls, and other activities. This can be especially useful during remote learning. Teachers can use Nearpod to make synchronous lessons, as well as self-paced asynchronous lessons. In the STEM classroom, this can be great for flipped classroom lessons, at-home lab journals, and STEM sketching of any kind.
Google Meet Attendees and Breakout Rooms Chrome Extension
This is a chrome extension for teachers looking to utilize Google Meet video conferencing in their classrooms. This tool allows to you take attendance, get everyone in the meeting in a sortable list, compare with another list (e.g. a roster or lab grouping list), choose a random person from the list, and create breakout rooms and groups for students. This can be very useful in a science classroom for randomly (or purposefully) assigning lab groups. You can even send the lab groups to their own google meet breakout room (by randomly generated link) to conduct the lab before you compare data as a large group.
These are just some of the digital tools I use in my class. Of course, there are barriers to this such as student access to reliable Wi-Fi, but in the remote learning age we can all use them more. As an educator you’ll see the engagement soar with added technology. You’ve got this!
For more tech tools to help with distance and hybrid learning, check out my past blog articles: