Day 4: Tools for global learning

The big question for this session: how can we enhance our students’ learning experiences through the use of the latest communications technology?

We started off with a brief discussion about the tools other teachers have been using such as Skype classroom, Montage, Safari Montage, Canvas and google hangouts. There was a sense in the group that there’s a need to choose the tools carefully rather than using them because the school policy dictates that teachers need to use these tools. 

Andrew Field from the Cambridge International Examinations came to share more tools available for global learning. He also emphasised the need to have guiding principles when using technology in the classroom in order to ensure meaningful learning happens. Some of his suggestions are listed below:
  •       Todaysmeet This tool allows for a digital classroom where a virtual conversation can take place using any tool. Students simply log in and contribute to a conversation (with guidelines from the teacher presumably) and the teacher can track the transcript of the conversation. This is a possible platform for students who may not contribute to class discussion and may find it easier to share their ideas with the interface of technology.

  •      Quizalize: This programme helps create quizzes in class as a form of formative assessment. Students are also able to create quizzes to test each other. This is a programme that can make assessment fun.

  • This website allows students to create and share presentations. I’m not truly convinced by it but the presenter emphasised that it’s not just a powerpoint equivalent.

  • Socrative: This is one we have used before at my school but I didn’t realise there were more features to use. It’s also helpful for tracking assessment through open-ended questions and MCQs.

  • Kahoot: The website has a lovely image of two boys engrossed by a computer trying to work something out and when they’ve cracked the activity there’s great example. This suggests yet another programme to make assessment fun for students. However, the website shares that there’s more to the fun element as students can collaborate as social learning is enhanced. This suggests more applications are available.

  • Skype classroom: This is an interesting option I’ve never considered. The idea is to connect with other students, teachers and speakers across the world in real time in your classroom. Skype makes the world smaller.

  • Moodle: I first came across Moodle when I was still a student. It was an interesting tool but never made much sense to be (it wasn’t user-friendly) but I think many institutions have a good experience with Moodle.

  • Mahara: This sounds like a better version of Moodle as the website promises  that it’s “a fully featured web application to build your electronic portfolio. You can create journals, upload files, embed social media resources from the web and collaborate with other users in groups. “

The session was concluded with a discussion about “technology fatigue” most teachers face in the school because of IT policies that are top-down from management rather than giving teachers the autonomy to choose the programme that suits their subject. I think my school has a healthy approach when it comes to programmes as teachers choose what is relevant rather choosing the latest fad. Teachers felt that it is important for teachers to have a certain level of mastery over a programme and find one that fits with the objectives of the subject rather than use a programme for the sake of using technology.


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