In just one year, online education went from being the exception to becoming the rule. In this transition, educational institutions had to adopt digital tools that were available to them, although these were not always the ideal ones. In some cases, the tools for online education adopted were not made to offer a learning environment, but allow the creation of the group and collaborative activities.
These are some of the digital tools that teachers can adapt for their virtual classrooms, even though they are not designed for distance education.
Slack for education
Slack was designed to create a collaborative environment for work and avoid unnecessary email messages. However, the versatility of Slack has allowed educational institutions to also adopt this tool for distance education.
In fact, Slack offers a discount for educational institutions and promotes the use of its platform to create a digital campus.
Advantages of Slack
- It allows organizing teams or information through channels that can have a title and description visible to the participants.
- Increase transparency and provide equal access to information. All participants can quickly observe the information that is available in each of the channels.
- It allows sharing files giving accessibility to all the members of a channel to the information contained in different formats.
- The tool has a manual that can be consulted permanently by users. It has a guide for higher education.
- The tool works with any browser, it does not require the installation of other software.
- It has methods to add texts, images and make links to files that are in Google Drive in an agile way.
Collaborative murals with Padlet
Padlet is a digital platform that allows you to create collaborative murals, which allows you to present multimedia resources such as videos, audio, photos, and documents. Resources are added as sticky notes as if they were “post-its”. The success, usefulness, and productivity of Padlet are highly dependent on the mediating role of teachers.
- It can be used directly on your website; no need to install any software on the PC.
- Responsive: can be used on a mobile device or tablet.
- It is a tool that strengthens the cognitive presence of teachers in their interaction with students.
Share content for your class with Scoop.It
Scoop.it is a tool that allows you to curate, filter, group, and share content in an orderly and simple way. The contents can be organized into relevant topics. Each topic is made up of scoops.
Teachers can use Scoop.it to create thematic resource boards or collections for personal or professional use, in addition to grouping topics by subject, blocks, or teamwork. The tool also allows students to develop skills to search and select information online.
Advantages of Scoop.it
- Creation of communities interested in sharing common themes
- Showcase to display interesting resources or links for students.
- Allows interaction on social networks by linking with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Available for both mobile and desktop devices.
Choose your weapons
Despite these tools haven’t been designed for e-learning, their versatility fits well in the activities inside a virtual classroom. Teachers can bring a more engaging e-learning environment by adopting some of them.
However, their usage needs to be reflected cautiously for achieving the goals in an online course.