After the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, teachers all over the world have been faced with considerable challenges. Teachers used to teach in physical classrooms, but the epidemic has forced everyone to teach in a more flexible way. Sometimes it may be remote teaching, or it may be a combination of classroom and remote teaching. How to properly switch teaching tools and let students keep focused during the class becomes the biggest task for teachers.
Next, we will introduce various tools that can improve classroom interaction. They are quite intuitive to use. After all, it is necessary for teachers and students to adapt and use at the same time. Teachers can add these tools to make the course more interesting and engaging.
1. Miro – Powerful online collaborative whiteboard
Online collaborative whiteboard is a good tool for remote teaching. It lets everyone have the opportunity to interact. There are many powerful functions in Miro. In addition to the whiteboard, it allows users to draw mental maps, do project management, make presentation slides and so on. It stimulates students’ ability to visually associate what they have learned.
There’s a free plan of Miro which includes:
- Three editable boards
- Premade templates
- Core integrations with tools like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive and more.
- Basic attention management like bring individuals to a specific area of the board or follow what they do
Miro can be used in various ways. Teachers can start with the basic whiteboard function and use the writing tools and notes to interact with students. You can first throw a question and ask the students to write down their thoughts on the note, and then quickly summarize everyone’s thoughts and reveal the core of the whole discussion. If you want to use Miro to plan a more complete lesson, you can dive into more functions.
2. Wakelet – Learning resource integration and digital curation platform
No matter what we want to learn today, we usually don’t learn through a specific medium. For example, if we want to learn how to cook a dish, we will check the recipe from Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or any website to get inspiration. With so many learning resources, how can teachers provide them to students in a more integrated way? Well. You can try Wakelet!
Wakelet is a freel tool. It helps users to easily organize the learning resources and share resources in a more engaging and visual way. If teachers want to prepare a lesson about wars on history, they can first write down the course outline and homework, then put video links, article links or social media post links in the Wakelet. Teachers can adjust the order of reading materials, titles and contents of these resources to make it easier for students to understand why they need to read those resources.
When you create your own Wakelet, you can make it public or private. Therefore, you can see many public learning resource lists from other users. It doesn’t only help teachers to design the lesson, but also let students know how they can organize their own learning materials.
3. Kahoot! – Online game based learning platform
It isn’t easy for students to stay focused for 40 minutes to one hour in the class. But if we can gamify the course, it can definitely bring positive energy to students. Therefore, we would like to introduce you “Kahoot!”. Kahoot! delivers questions to students like a game and they can play either individually or in groups. Students need to use their own devices like laptop, smartphone or tablet to join the game. The fun in Kahoots! lives up the atmosphere of the classroom.
You can see there are several pricing plans from $0 to almost $1,000/year. However, Kahoot!’s current service allows free access for all educators. Once you register a free account, you can start setting up the questions and preview your project. If everything is good, you can provide the game PIN code to students. Students can download the app or go to Kahoot! website to join the game.
Kahoot! gives hints or background sound effects during the game to make learning fun. Aften the game ends, teachers can check the result and know if everyone makes progress. If your students use Kahoot! For the first time, it’s better to make your first question a warm-up question.
4. Kialo Edu – Online debate platform
Debate is a good way to engage the students. However, students may miss the point during the debate sometimes. Teachers can consider using Kialo Edu to help the discussion. Kialo Edu platform helps students work on their critical reasoning skills by laying out how a debate looks. It also allows students to digest what to say and think about what is the applicable action.
Teachers can register the account and use it for free. After logging into the account, teachers can create a new topic of debate. There are columns of pro and cons where students can put their ideas. After they release their ideas, they can still edit them. To make the debate successful and productive, teachers can drag and drop everyone’s ideas to filter the repetitive messages.
5. ASTROS – Robust wireless presentation solution
Using smartphones and tablets for learning is a trend nowadays. However, if students want to share their learning results on tablets or smartphones in class, they may encounter some technical problems. Because each device has different ways to do screen mirroring. But ASTROS wireless presentation solution can make it simple.
Once you set up the network and ASTROS wireless presentation gateway, you can use laptop, MacBook, Android devices or iPhone to easily cast your screen. The Split Screen feature allows up to four students to cast the screen simultaneously on the display. If the teacher is worried that someone interrupts the presentation, he can use the Moderation Mode to control the displayed content with the intuitive UI. In a spacious room, students sitting far usually cannot see well the content on the main display. One benefit of the wireless presentation solution is that students can use the Remote View feature to capture the displayed content on their devices. In a nutshell, ASTROS is the tool you shouldn’t miss out in the classroom.
Teachers may feel anxious when seeing so many new tools. But you can take your time to slowly integrate those tools into your class. Tools should be helpful instead of being an obstacle for you.