Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cool Tools for Your Online/Blended Learning Course

For both face to face and online lectures, variety is important. In part, this is what chunking is about - breaking up the text with paragraphs, headings and even graphics. Nevertheless, you can take it a step further by presenting your material differently altogether. This may include using video, interactive scenarios, PowerPoint, or a combination of all three.

However, you can use some neat online tools for the alternative info-dump lecture. Best of all they are free! Here are a few of my favorite:

Knovio.com - Knovio is a way to narrate your PowerPoint slides for free. Your narration can be with either video or audio. Uploading your per-recorded lecture is perfect for a blended classroom or a completely online course. Students can play, stop, rewind and repeat your lecture as much as they want. They can also write down questions they have for you for the face to face session or online chat. 

http://visual.ly/- visual.ly is a program to create info-graphics. Info-graphics are great for synthesizing knowledge in concise ways. It is a way to chunk your content in a visually appealing format. What is nice about Visual.ly is that they supply the graphics. If they don't have the graphics you need, you can always upload your own. For a good example of using info-graphics to teach, check out the website fundersandfounders.com.

Tiki-Toki.com - Tiki-Toki is a free online software that helps you create timelines. Timelines are not just for history courses. In fact, timelines are fantastic for providing context to your online narrative.

Activities to Facilitate Learning Transfer

In my last post (Three Steps to Better Content) I talked about asking yourself what you want students to do, as an aid to create a measurable objective.  What about having your students use the above tools to demonstrate their learning?  Here are a few ideas:
  1. Student Presentations - Presentations can be done online or face to face.  Why not have your students turn in a presentation using Knovio?  This is perfect for blended or online learning.  Assign the students to create a presentation in PowerPoint about an article or academic paper (could be anything actually).  Then have them present using Knovio. This is a great asynchronous way of doing presentations.
  2. Student Info-Graphics - Have students synthesize their learning by putting the main concepts from each lesson into an info-graphic!  Once again,  this great for blended or online courses. 
  3. Student Timelines - Another assignment could be creating a timeline.  This is great for summarizing events, and revealing the context around events or leading up to events.  Great for history, political science and sociology courses! 
I believe the late Stephen Covey once said: "If you really want to learn something - teach it!"  The above tools are perfect to have our students do just that.    

1 comment:

  1. Very Useful information Thank you !!
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