Tech Tools

So...you are keen to shift your classroom but don't know where to start? The curated content on this page is intended to help you take that first strategic step to shift your classroom into the 21st century...one-application-at-a-time.

So many tools...so little time. Whichever one Web 2.0 application you first choose to use to support a particular learning outcome or develop a specific skill, you have more chance of an effective implementation if it is fit for the learning purpose. So if the purpose is to give each student a voice, then design a learning activity that provides a space for every one of your students to speak or write. This could be audio in the form of a podcast, or a back channel tool for microblogging, or a short written piece of creative, collaborative or reflective writing. The mind boggles at the endless possibilities here.

We encourage you to explore that first 'app'. As you start to integrate technology into the learning process,  your experiences (warts and all) of changing roles and fit-for-purpose applications can be shared in and with the VC CITL community as we learn together.

SAM Discussion Board - A How-To Video Guide

Using SAM as a form of communication or even as a teaching tool has never been easier.  The two new functions available to lecturers this year are the discussion board and the uploading facility.  These two are an addition to the new supplementary material available to lecturers and students.  However, it should be noted that the supplementary material is only available on certain modules.

For those of you interested in using the discussion board functionality, please have a look at the following video clip that shows you how to use this simple yet effective reflective tool. - Enjoy!

Mindmapping at its best!

mindomo for citlHave you ever found yourself in a situation, where you have tried everything barring standing on your head, to get students to understand a concept or the interrelatedness of various concepts? I know I have, and at times like that I have often resorted to getting them to do a mind map.

No longer are the days of hunting down enough A3 size paper for the students to do their mind maps, which get lost anyway after only one or two days. With Web 2.0, there is now a variety of such tools available.

Click here to read more and watch a video...

Sync your life and manage your time with Google Calendar

As the year draws to an end and summative assessments are creeping closer I have seen many stressed faces on campus, as students scurry around to fit everything into their (already) busy schedules.

Google Calendar offers a fantastic solution to managing one’s time, complete with e-mail or sms reminders.  The added bonus is that Google Calendar synchronizes across all devices, including your desktop, iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices. The following presentation looks at the various functionalities this application has and includes a short video tutorial available on YouTube.


40 Web2.0 applications for the classroom

As lecturers we regularly wonder how to effectively incorporate Web2.0 applications in our lecturing design and often we randomly throw an app into the mix, without really knowing why. A valuable lesson I learnt in the classroom is that it is not about the tools but the outcome we would like to achieve with the aid of the tools. 

Below is a Slideshare presentation that categorises 40 tried and tested applications by their various purposes to aid digital learning design. 

Paper.li - Social Content Curation

Paper.li is described by its creator (@SmallRivers) as “the curation platform that enables you to turn Twitter, Facebook and RSS into online Papers and to treat your readers to fresh news, daily”.

I found this specific site whist desperately searching for ways to encourage my journalism students to read.  Paper.li seemed promising because it looks and feels like a newspaper (perfect for my journalism students) and it allows you to curate on any topic you find interesting based on your social media network and other online content. I quickly realized that it would be much easier to encourage my students to read if they can curate information that is relevant to them and, well, interesting.  One student created an entire newspaper on Lady Gaga, not quite what I had in mind, but she was reading and, as a bonus, students started sharing their papers with other students and more reading happened. The real delight, for me as lecturer, was that they seemed to really enjoy it too.  

Want to know more? Click here

Dipity - Interactive Timelines

Taking the yawn out of studying dates
I decided to spent some time exploring Dipity, because, according to their website, "Dipity is the fastest and easiest way to bring history to life with stunning multimedia timelines".  I decided to put this to the test, and I found myself getting carried away, wanting to add more and more information and resources to my timeline: 


Thinglink - Creating Multimedia Images

Thinglink is a great application that enables you to create multimedia images.  It is really a fantastic tool that can be used across most subject areas. These would be wonderful for students to create to demonstrate their learning (and accessing of credible information on the Web) on the topic studied. Alternatively, you could prepare a lesson using this tool to create a single image with multimedia links inserted into it fit for the particular learning objectives in that teaching session. (It would require connectivity as live online.).

Read more to explore actual examples...

HootCourse - Twitter/Blog for your module

HootCourse is an application that enables you to create a twitter stream and blog posts exclusively for a particular class group on the module you are teaching. 

New Picture 94

Read more for video tutorial...

Virtual Connected Classroom?

There are many applications that provide you with a tool to extend your classroom and student engagement beyond the face-to-face contact teaching session. CourseSites, Edmodo, FaceBook and ClassConnect are just some of the free tools available for you to create a new engaging learning space with your students.


Visual Prompts - Great Questioning Technique!

We all know what great value VISUALS add to the learning design and student experience. 

Here are 5 sites with examples of great visual prompts I have found:

1. ABCinema - animations that quiz your movie knowledge (FUN! How many of the 26 movie titles can you and your students identify?)

ABCinema from Evan Seitz on Vimeo.


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