EdTech Tools to Support Online Learning

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a number of lockdowns and heightened alert levels in a number of cities and countries around the world. This has led to long suspensions of classes which disrupted the learning cycles or academic terms in schools, affecting the youngest learners until to the graduate students in the universities in many countries.

As of March 10, 2020, 32 countries in three continents have announced or implemented school and university closures per UNESCO report. “Sixteen countries have shut schools nationwide, impacting almost 363.1 million children and youth. A further sixteen countries have implemented localized school closures to prevent or contain the spread of COVID-19. Should these countries also order nationwide school and university closures, it would disrupt the education of more than 500 million additional children and youth. Countries affected by COVID-19 are putting in place national responses in the form of learning platforms and other tools. “

To be more specific, online distance learning has been the main response of most schools. Distance learning, in its simplest description, is remote learning where the teacher and the learner is separated by geographical distance. To facilitate interaction between the teacher and the learner, online platforms are employed and structures are put in place to foster and promote interaction and facilitate learning.

Benefits of online distance learning include:

  • Own pace of learning in the comfort of one’s home
  • Study anytime, anywhere (may include synchronous or asynchronous learning activities)
  • May save time, effort, and cost if done in the long-run (or social distancing to avoid spread of sickness)
  • Online learning tools can be easily accessible and use, with proper guidance and training

Challenges of online distance learning include:

  • May not be appropriate for young learners, especially for those who have minimal or irregular adult supervision at home during scheduled study time
  • Learners may easily be distracted because of other online sites that may be accessible during learning time
  • May lose track of schedule, if not followed well
  • Limited interaction or delayed feedback from teacher
  • Unreliable and unstable access to the Internet

EdTech Tools that Support Online Distance Learning

Learning Management Systems (LMS) for communication, creation of online or virtual learning environments or classes, upload and share materials, post assessments, and give feedback

  • Schoology
  • Google Classroom
  • Edmodo
  • Moodle
  • Canvas
  • Blackboard
  • Seesaw – for young learners
  • GoBubble – for young learners

Live Streams Virtual or Online Meetings for online lectures or synchronous discussions:

  • Google Hangouts Meet: Until July 1, 2020 – “…free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including: Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive”
  • Microsoft Teams – The free version of Microsoft Teams includes unlimited chat and search, group and one-on-one audio and video calling, and 10GB of team file storage along with 2GB of personal file storage per person. Users also get real-time collaboration with Office apps for Web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • FaceTime
  • YouTube Live

Collaboration Tools for productivity (documents, slideshow, spreadsheets, video presentations, posters, or ebooks).

  • Google Docs, Slides, Sheets
  • Office 365 Word, Powerpoint, Excel
  • iCloud Pages, Keynote, Numbers
  • Book Creator for Chrome: “…offer everyone the ability to collaborate together on books in real-time. This is a premium feature that is usually only available with a paid subscription, but we’re offering 90 days free use of this tool, to help keep students and teachers connected.” (Book Creator Team)
  • Canva
  • Padlet
  • OneNote
  • Flipgrid
  • Anchor for podcasting

Formative Assessments to check for understanding

Coding or Virtual Creation

  • Minecraft Education – To help keep classrooms connected during school closures, #MinecraftEdu is now available for teachers and learners with valid O365 Education accounts through June 2020. Learn more: https://msft.it/6016Tjevw #MicrosoftEDU
  • Tynker – Tynker will be freely available to all schools worldwide facing closure due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. We are also scheduling free webinars for T’s on how to leverage the @GoTynker platform to support at-home learning by S’s. More details at https://gotyn.kr/SchoolClosureSupport

Resources for Contents and Instructional Materials/ Creation of IMs

  • NumberBender Youtube Channel for Math tutorial videos
  • Khan Academy free online courses
  • BrainPOP – “ICYMI, we’re offering free access to BrainPOP for schools affected by #coronavirus closures. Learn more here: http://brnpop.co/3bOUY3u
  • Buncee – Classrooms who are experiencing school closures will be able to gain free access to Buncee Classroom, that way teachers/students can connect virtually and continue learning together. Contact us at support@buncee.com
  • Discovery Education – To help U.S. schools and the communities they serve maintain continuity of learning in the event of prolonged school closures due to the Coronavirus, Discovery Education has created a three-pronged response.
  • Classwork Zoom – Free Access for closed schools
  • Screencastify – “If your school has temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus and is looking for a solution for remote learning, please have an administrator contact us at sales@screencastify.com. We’ll do whatever we can to help at no cost.”
  • Explain Everything – This is a FULL service screencasting whiteboard app. The company is offering FREE subscriptions to schools closed due to the virus. For ipads, androids and chromebooks

See more at: Coronavirus Virtual Learning Offers, EdTech companies offering FREE support and/or access to schools affected by COVID19 closures.

2 Comments

  1. How can I download your articles so I can share legally to those of my teachers who have slow or no connectivity? Thanks so much. I am learning a lot from your work. God bless! Stay safe and healthy!

    1. Hi Sr. Aileen, I have a primer on online distance learning that contains a lot of my articles here. It will be published this week. You may wait for down since it will be shared digitally for FREE. Thank you for reading my blogs. Please stay safe and healthy, too.

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