First, before we get into our tools below, we must first focus on relationships with our students, families, and communities. As teachers, we are educators of excellence no matter if we are teaching online, face-to-face, or a hybrid model. As educators, we need to show up for our students each day and be there or them. Once we have the relationships formed, we can go and learn more about their stories. We can get to know and learn about which technology tools they have access to, when, and where. Trying to understand where students are accessing their materials for an online course, how they are accessing the materials, when they will have access to the technology could be very helpful as well.
Let’s get some terminology down:
- Synchronous – Learning and teaching happens at the same time. For example, teachers and students meet at a certain time / date / place (virtual or face to face). Lessons are taught in real time with the students in the virtual space.
- Asynchronous – Learning and teaching happens on the students’ own schedules. This type of learning is flexible and can be more self-guided.
Please know that online learning is not one or the other, or that one method is better than another. At times you can be using both methods of content delivery with your students.
The tools that I am going to share with you are free (there are paid versions) and easy to use. Another reason why I am sharing these tools is because they can work across the curriculum and grade levels. You can use these tools during synchronous or asynchronous learning opportunities with your students. The tools listed below have extensive libraries and resources for you to use too – don’t reinvent the wheel unless you have to, right?
Nearpod adds some sparkle to your presentations. You can upload your own content and add in formative assessment pieces such as fill in the blank, multiple choice, matching, Flipgrid, time to climb, drawing options and more. You can also add in activities for students to engage in such as website links, virtual field trips, 3D models, & graphing calculators. What is nice about Nearpod is that it offers both teacher and student paced modes. With the teacher paced mode you know that each student is on the same slide that you are.
Peardeck is very similar to Nearpod but it provides students with interactive content and formative assessment pieces. Just like with Nearpod, you can upload your own content into Nearpod and embed activities into it such as fill in the blank, drawing options, draggable points, and more. What I really enjoy about Peardeck is their support for social emotional learning, templates for before, during and after lesson content delivery, and content for specific grade levels, subjects, and topics such as critical thinking.
Buncee works double duty. As a teacher, you can use it to create and share content, and engage students in learning. It can be used across a variety of teaching methods – large group, small group, and station rotations. In addition, students can use Buncee to show what they know in a unique way. You can use Buncee to reach students by incorporating audio, text, links, animations, and images. And it is a tool that you can implement across the grade levels and subject areas.
These are just a few tools that can help drive your instruction forward in the online learning space. Friends, this school year is going to be unlike any other. There wasn’t a pandemic 101 class in college but know that you can do this. You are strong – you are an educator of excellence.
Looking for more technology resources to support your teaching online? Check out our unique list of the best education technology resources on the independent EdTech reviews platform EdTech Impact.