We live in the world of Zoom, Google Docs, and screen shares. One day, historians will speculate how much of this is to blame on the COVID-19 pandemic and how much on digital transformation across the board, in every industry.
Regardless, this is where we are.
Remote learning is nothing new. But with the recent increases in the number remote students and technological advancements, the pool of learning tools widened. Another challenge is remote student motivation, which can suffer as remote learning lacks social interaction, familiar structure, and interactive practices many students are used to in a traditional setting.
How can educators and students decide which tools are best for them? More importantly, how can they select tools that not just efficiently support remote learning, but also aid engagement and motivation, the two factors crucial to student success?
We put together a list of tools that can do just that.
Quizlet is a global learning platform that provides engaging study tools to help people practice and master whatever they are learning through fun, interactive quizzes. Every month, over 50 million students, teachers and everyday people use Quizlet to study any subject imaginable for school, work or as part of their personal interests. Combining cognitive science and machine learning, Quizlet guides students through adaptive study activities to confidently reach their learning goals. The company offers a combination of free and paid subscriptions for both students and teachers that enable further customization.
Quizlet recently launched an integration with another tool, TikTok. The integration allows TikTok creators in the education space, including teachers and subject matter experts, to link Quizlet study sets directly to their videos. This way, students can interact with the content and learn more about the topic, enabling modern learning in an entirely new way. With the current challenges of remote and hybrid learning during COVID-19, this is another opportunity to improve the accessibility of Quizlet learning products and offer new ways to make learning exciting and engaging.
“The integration with Quizlet is an important step in our commitment to assist creators in the production of learning content, provide resources for learners, and introduce emerging teachers to the TikTok platform,” said Sean Kim, head of product, TikTok. “2020 forced everyone to find new ways to educate and learn, and we believe bringing together the Quizlet and TikTok platforms can help build human connection, promote creative learning content and inspire enriching ideas.”
Speaking of TikTok…
While this video platform was not created as an educational tool, educators have recently adopted it as one. TikTok allows its users to create and edit videos of three to 15 seconds or string together videos of up to 60 seconds. The platform is a great way to engage students and incorporate it as a fun, creative way to appeal to younger audiences.
Image Source: Getty Images
“Teachers are using TikTok as a way to set digital assignments. A very useful feature in the classroom, but even more so for remote learning and home-based assignments. These videos can be created by individuals or as group-based tasks,” says Luke Edwards of Tech and Learning. “From creating videos in lieu of written assignments to making videos as part of a presentation – the creative ways to use this platform are many. The key is for teachers to keep an eye on students to make sure they’re focused on the task at hand while using their devices.
One thing online classrooms might be missing is the good old-fashioned black-(or white) board. That is where this virtual tool can come handy.
Writing on walls and taking pictures of whiteboards doesn’t solve the pain of collaborating from home, but Miro does. A canvas feels like a real whiteboard and allows limitless collaborators. Handwriting, sticky notes, and task boards are all in one work-from-home tool. Best part? Miro offers the whiteboard tool for free!
Skillshub has been designed with the end goal of improving student performance. Teachers and instructors have the ability to upload any type of content and in any format, without restrictions. Skillshub’s dynamic interfaces and design provides an experience rather than a system. Skillshub offers webinars, over 500 off-the-shelf courses, hundreds of infographics, images, articles, audios and blogs, as well custom-built courses, videos, quizzes and more. This comprehensive online learning platform can support any virtual learning environment and fit the needs of both students and their instructors.
“Skillshub’s content and platform is of the very highest standard. The CPD Certification Service is proud to support and partner with this innovative and modern approach to learning and development,” says Martin Rowe, Head of Operations. “In our view Skillshub provides an effective solution for today’s time poor workforce which is focused on taking action and implementing learning”
While live chat is not the first tool that comes to mind in educational space, it can greatly improve communication in learning environments. While widely used in the eCommerce space, recently live chat has been becoming quite popular among universities. According to the 2019 International Student Survey 75% of students utilize real-time chat after accepting an offer. Additionally, 58% use real-time chat at all stages. In addition to students, universities serve staff, faculty, high school counselors, outside college counselors and community members. As many universities have been forced to limit their in-person course offerings due to the pandemic, more of them saw the need for good remote communication tools such as live chat.
“We launched our live chat program in early February 2020. When we were forced to close our in-person services in March due to COVID-19, we were already set to tackle new challenges,” says Pang Thao, Admissions Customer Services Team lead at Fresno State.
In the world of visual communication and stimulation, video plays an important role. That is why creating visual aids for presentations using tools like Loom can serve as a motivational and engaging strategy in online learning environments. Loom allows users to screencast and create video with narration. It’s accessible on Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, and iOS devices. It allows for easy recording and audio, which can then be downloaded, embedded, and/or shared out via a URL.
“I like that it is intuitive and user-friendly, and it allows different types of recording and sharing options,” says Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown, Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University. “Loom can be used in a variety of ways to increase understanding of content, as well as nurture creativity. It may be used to support digital storytelling, flipped classroom pedagogical approaches, informative presentations, and collaborative communication. I have found this unique tool to be a wonderful resource as it is versatile and can actively support learning for diverse learners.”
Motivation and Engagement in Online Learning Environments
Learning remotely can be a lonely and isolating process. Student motivation and engagement are key in successful online education. It’s important to pick online learning tools that support these goals for both students and instructors in remote environments. Using a variety of fun, creative, hands-on, collaborative tools can really help students and educators to reach their goals.