Illuminate eLearning with a Lightboard In 2013 Northwestern University professor Michael Peshkin created the Lightboard to…
Top EdTech Tools for a More Interactive and Collaborative Learning Environment
What can be gained by using EdTech tools? According to the National Social Science Association, there are three main ways technology can be used to benefit students.
[The] uses of technology fall into three broad categories: using the technology to teach and share information, using the technology to foster collaboration, and using the technology for individual learning, information access, and skill demonstration.
The following EdTech tools are innovative, online platforms that enable custom, interactive course materials, student collaboration, student skill development.
Versal is a course creation platform where educators create full courses that exist online, using any combination of text, video, downloadable PDFs, multiple choice quizzes, and short response questions.
Versal offers a drag-and-drop menu of items including interactive diagrams, Thinglink images, Quizlet flashcards, timelines, LaTeX math equations, and music tools. The big innovation here is that normally, these functions would require advanced coding, but in Versal, they don’t.
Educators also have the ability to track the progress of their students by seeing which students have taken which lesson, how far along they are, what scores they are getting on quizzes.
Once courses are designed and edited, they can be published and shared via a link or embedded into websites, blogs, or LMS.
This a inventive EdTech tool that solves the problem of bored, distracted, and unengaged students. Top Hat is a teaching platform that works on any device, allowing educators to move about the lecture hall freely.
With TopHat, instructors can ask questions, take attendance, annotate slides, and more, from any personal device. This interactive content and the ability to assess how students are progressing in real time keeps students involved and engaged.
The lecture platform is equipped with various types of quiz questions, discussion forums, attendance trackers, presentation slides, feedback mechanisms, and sharing tools. It is complemented by Interactive Texts, which are reading materials that can be edited, rewritten and adapted to give every professor control over their course content.
When using Interactive Texts, instructors can pull additional content from Top Hat’s Content Marketplace, into which professors and professionals are continuously contributing.
Canva is a powerful and easy design tool that allows students to design infographics, marketing materials, blog graphics, social media images, presentation documents, book covers and more. Canvas is equipped with millions of stock photographs, vectors, and illustrations, and students can upload their own photos as well.
The tools and resources in Canva include various photo filters, icons, shapes, fonts, and thousands of layouts. These tools enable seamless and professional design that is easily accessible to students and teachers.
Instructors can use Canva to create custom infographics and images for lectures, and let students work individually on design skills. Additionally, instructors can use Canva’s design school for lesson plans, workshops, and activities.
ThingLink is a leading platform for creating interactive images and videos for web, social, advertising, and educational channels. It allows educators and students to easily enhance images and videos with notes, photos, audio, video, and other multi-media content.
Educators can customize images and videos with annotations to improve materials and foster deeper engagement, and students can acquire visual presentation and digital storytelling skills.
The software is made up of a 360° photo editor, iOS and Android creation app, and an integration with 3rd party websites and services that allow for image layering with things like Google forms.
Acquiring EdTech Tools
All of these EdTech tools are easily accessible to students and instructors at relatively low costs.
Versal is free for teachers and $7 per student annually for schools. Top Hat is $36 for 1 year of access and $72 for lifetime access. Canva’s basic services are free; if you want to upgrade it is between $9 and $12 per month. ThingLink is also free for the basic services and $35 a year for instructors, and $1 per student when purchased by the university.
It’s easy to make teaching and learning streamlined and engaging with these EdTech tools.