At my current institution, I’ve been working with teachers, administrators and students trying to integrate technology into classroom learning. This blended learning approach expectation has led to some frustration. There have been so many promising tools,
ideas, and toys that have not met our requirements. On the positive side, we have been lucky enough to experiment with ample resources to try out a variety of edtech tools and techniques.
Leveraging students’ mobile phones
Over the past two years, instructors and students have been migrating to resources outside of our learning management system, or LMS. This has been happening naturally as more useful applications or apps and mobile friendly websites have become available. Instructors using blended learning with the LMS require a computer room and entrance credentials. This works well, but there are times when a quick jump to an activity online using a mobile device can assist with the flow of a lesson. Instructors often request solutions that involve leveraging student mobile phones.
Reasons for this include:
- the majority of our students own mobile phones
- students are comfortable with their phones
- our college has reliable wifi
- apps function as well as software programs
- apps are easy to learn
- students can repeat learning using apps/websites on their own time
- students seem to like using their devices for learning
- scheduling digital learning through a computer lab is not necessary
- apps often offer instant feedback
- students can practice until they achieve mastery of a micro-skill
- many online resources do not require logins which leads to quick access
Websites or Apps? Your choice
We have tried a variety of web resources and apps with students. At times websites are more appreciated by instructors and students since downloading apps and logging in are usually not required. The resources that we have decided to move forward with to ensure a hassle free blended learning experience are listed and described below.
Quizlet (including Quizlet Live)
In our English as a Foreign Language Department, we are responsible for ensuring that students acquire new vocabulary. Quizlet is a reliable asset for our students. Each Quizlet study set (vocabulary list) offers a menu of seven separate activities. For details see the resources referenced section below. Quizlet Live is the latest add on at Quizlet. We have had great success using it with our students and encourage you to try it with your classes. The Quizlet Live Teacher Instructions below should save you a lot of time getting your first Quizlet Live event up and running.
There is a Quizlet app and a Quizlet website. It depends on you and your students which you will use with mobile devices but access to study sets without keying in a password is the norm.
This is a free, online application for making interactive multi-choice activities. Students use their phones and the teacher projects the questions and results at the front of the class. It is simple to set up and use for instructors. Students experience a competitive game-show style activity. Kahoot positively disrupts the classroom routine and injects fun into learning. Nadeen Sullivan’s blog post, Use Kahoot! To Spice Up your Lessons is a great start to using Kahoot with your students.
This is a free online tool that teachers can use to set up a variety of different question types for student use in any subject area. Setting up the questions is simple and quick. The Space Race game is a whole class game, similar to Kahoot, that generates some competition and excitement into the classroom. Inspired Learning has a useful post, 10 Ways of using Socrative. See the link below. It might give you some ideas on how to exploit this tool with your students.
This is another free online resource that allows students to retain more from online videos. EdPuzzle projects allow instructors to insert questions, comments, prompts, and closed captioning to any online video. Students can engage with the video at their own pace, reviewing segments of the video as required. Instructors simply have to share the link and students can start the activity. For more information on EdPuzzle see the blog post Create Engaging and Interactive Video Learning Objects with EdPuzzle below.
Custom HTML learning objects
These activities are custom made for our learners. This is an adaptation of the pattern set up for the LINC edulinc system funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Many of the learning objects created for edulinc were generated with Adobe Captivate and Hot Potatoes. We are following this model as Captivate and Hot Potatoes create HTML learning objects that contain instant feedback, student tracking, multimedia presentation and gamification events.
We are placing these learning objects on an institutional web server for quick access by our students and teachers. It is agreed that there are some learning outcomes that can only be met by custom learning objects. This is especially true with our technical English programs.
Moving from a teacher-centered to a student-centered classroom is an ideal for most educational institutions. B.Y.O.D. helps you make this a reality. B.Y.O.D. offers opportunities for self-paced and individualized learning paths. We are moving forward with a blend of B.Y.O.D. and LMS based learning events to provide our students with a diverse set of learning opportunities.
If you have additional views on the listed resources or have other resources that would be useful to our community, please feel free to comment below.
Acton, Nick. (2015) 10 Ways of using Socrative (Inspired Learning)
Allan, John. (2015). Create Learning Objects Quickly with Quizlet
Allan, John. (2015). Create Engaging and Interactive Video Learning Objects with EdPuzzle
Allan, John. (2016). Quizlet Live Teacher Instructions. (SlideShare) http://www.slideshare.net/mrpottz/quizlet-live-teacher-instructions
Allan, John. (2016). Quizlet “How To” workshop Sept 2016. (SlideShare)
Sullivan, Nadeen. (2015). Use Kahoot! To Spice Up your Lessons.