5 Tools for Effective Online Learning

The last few months have had many ups and downs across the globe. Many of us have had to move our teaching practice to online platforms for all age levels. Some of us had to do this overnight and have had a learning journey in implementing different tools and strategies to best serve our students. My personal journey has been a lot of trial and error in the last 6 weeks. Let’s try this and see if it works and then refine it. In this post, I have selected 5 tools with the help of Sean Forde that have proven to be incredibly helpful in the last 6 weeks of online learning. Huge shout out to Sean and all his help with tech and trying new things! Go check out his work, you won’t be disappointed.

Below are some examples of how I have used some of these tools so far during my time teaching online.

Seesaw:

The first and most universal platform has been Seesaw. It allows teachers to deliver instructions with text, voice notes, videos, and templates. It is a catch-all platform that has allowed for student ownership and creativity amongst this global pandemic. The different features of selecting skills for assessment purposes and the ability to attach videos, templates, and links to activities allow for further interactive online learning for our students.

Zoom:

With many of us self-isolating and social distancing, human interaction has never been more important. Zoom has given us the ability to interact with each other while recording and screen sharing to show our learning. It also gives the ability to do breakout rooms for smaller group discussions, very similar to what we would do in the classroom.

Flipgrid:

How can we share our thoughts or ideas and also reply to others? Flipgrid! Flipgrid allows individuals up to 10 minutes of record time depending on settings. It also allows for creativity with different filters and items to place on top of your photo. Even for our shy students, they are able to blur out their faces to feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.

Students using Flipgrid integrated within Seesaw to share Body Percussion Melodies with other students and provide feedback to each other.
Students expressing emotion without using words but only using sounds that they could create in their homes.

Book Creator:

Book Creator allows students to take photos, edit them, and record sound over them, creating their own book. This allows for a creative way to show their learning while also working on several academic skills including, literacy, digital citizenship, and time-management. When finished, they can save their book as an MP4 and upload it to a platform of their choosing.

Screencastify:

Screencastify allows for mini-lessons to be recorded from your own screen while giving examples. It comes as a Chrome extension so it does not take up that valuable space on your computer. This lets students watch and rewatch instructions further developing their ownership of their learning.

Recording the video and explaining the body percussion pattern with examples to attach to a Seesaw activity.

Online learning has been difficult with a steep learning curve for many of us. It has pushed a lot of us out of our comfort zone and into a zone of learning. This pandemic pushed us to rethink how we might teach a concept with technology purposefully. This has been a journey of serving our students the best we can. So what have you taken from online learning so far? Is there something you want to know more about? Comment below and let’s chat!

As always, share your learning,
Levi


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8 thoughts on “5 Tools for Effective Online Learning”

  1. Hi Levi,
    Thanks so much for sharing these resources! I agree that these have been invaluable over the past few months of online learning. You are doing incredible things with your students! My biggest tip for online learning: know your students and trust yourself. If your kids are struggling and it is too much, pull back. Good mental well-being is crucial for students and teachers alike. So it is important to have some fun and keep the mood light. If that means making a silly video and posting it on Flipgrid, do it. Love your work!

  2. Chandrani Banerjee

    Wonderful, Levi! How beautifully detailed information about each learning tool, really appreciate your work. I know many teachers who want to know how these tools works? For them, your blog post is a great resource. I will suggest my group of friends to read your post.

  3. We are using Msteams at our school, is that similar to seesaw? Can I use the other apps in Msteams? I have already used flipgrid with my class. Thank you for this info, starting to prep lessons to go live 14 April.
    Vicki

    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I am not sure about Microsoft teams. I have never worked with them but if it works for Flipgrid that is a good sign. Let me know if you need anything!

  4. I keep seeing Seesaw Seesaw Seesaw!! I’ve seen it many times prior to “remote learning days” and have been interested, but now I’m seeing it even more and am even MORE intrigued. I’ll have to ask our elementary teachers about this – seems as if they’re used to it in elementary, it could come up to middle school easily! Thanks for the post, Levi – I have loved Zoom and Screencasting (I use Loom and Zoom now, too), yet TODAY is officially the start of my own remote learning, so I’m actually kind of busy – YIPPEE!!!! Enjoy connecting with your students once again!

    1. Thanks, Joy for commenting! Yes, Seesaw has just been incredible for student learning and agency this year and specifically with distance learning. It is so exciting to see the students commenting and owning their learning in their own environment. If you need anything, just let me know. 🙂

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