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.

WebVideoFetcher - Embedding video into ppt

Many of us have experienced the embassment and frustration of live streaming a video in class only to find that poor connectivity causes buffering.  To avoid live streaming of video via the Internet, you need to download the video clip onto your computer harddrive and embed it into your PowerPoint presentation. I have created this screencast to show you exactly how I do that using a great application called WebVideoFetcher. Hope you find it helpful.

Glogster for Creating Interactive Online Poster

A glog is an interactive online poster. Glogster allows you to create a digital poster with interactive features by using text, images, videos, music and much more. It is a great tool for creative user generated content in poster form. It can be used to replace your usual Power Point presentation and your students can use it to demonstrate their learning on a particular topic/concept. Would be great if you got your students to summarise key concepts in the form of a glog.

Read more to see actual VC example

The Twitter Experiment

Here is a lecturer who has taken the first step to try and use Twitter as a learning tool. She shares her experience of this experiment with the world through this video - fantastic!


Socrative - a student response app

Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

This is a great application that gets students engaged from any smart device through a range of short assessments such as MQCs, short answers to name a few. Ideally it is best suited for those quick "mini" assessments though which you wish to get student responses and feedback. Explore the Socrative site to learn more.

Evernote: note-taking with a difference


Evernote is an excellent productivity tool voted the best of the top 10 productivity applications of 2011 by the global audience that knows it and uses it daily. TNW Editor, Courtney Boyd Myers explains that Evernote is far more than a note taking application.


Screencasting: broadcast yourself


Screencasting enables you to broadcast yourself.  You will need a microphone and Java installed on your computer. Quite simply it enables you to add your own voice to content such as Powerpoint Point presentation, web pages, documents - in fact anything on your computer screen! 


Blogging and reflective writing

New Picture 30A weblog or blog is designed for individual reflective writing and many institutions have already embedded this digital activity into the curriculum. You can find many examples of student blogs here and here.

It is suggested that you start small and the perfect application to take this first step is PageOrama


TodaysMeet : Backchannel for 'short writes'

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A backchannel is a microblogging tool that enables you to give each student a voice. You are able to see your students thoughts through a 'short write' of 140 characters and use student ideas or questions for further discussion. TodaysMeet is a good tool to start with as it allows you to create a private "room" for the students in a particular class group.


Podcasting for the listening culture

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Nik Peachey is an ELT Consultant, Writer, Teacher Trainer. Lecturer in Media & Technology at Westminster University and Associate Trainer at Bell Educational Trust. He has a particular interest in combining pedagogy with technology. He has recently started a brand new series of articles on Technology Tools for Teachers with Podcasting the first focus. 


Creating Blogs, Wikis and Websites

Many who start using technology as a tool to enhance learning, often ask what is different about blogs, wikis and websites and what learning purpose do they each best serve. In short, a blog is best used for individual reflective writing that others may comment on. A wiki is best used as a collaboration tool which allows all members to edit and add content and knowledge as it builds on the wiki.

Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) is well known for his awarding winning resource website Free Technology for Teachers. In this post he shares all of his presentations on how to create blogs, wikis and websites.  Do check out all the training videos on how to create blogs, wikis and websites. Awesome resources that I am sure will be helpful to those starting out.


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