The number of tools available for digital teaching and learning are huge and ever-expanding, not only because new ones are always being devised but also because innovative teachers are always finding new strategies for using games, social media platforms, and other software to teach in engaging and effective ways. The following are just a selection of some of the tools that are available and ways they can be used in teaching.
- UChicago Voices hosts Wordpress-powered blogs for faculty and students. Such blogs can offer an easy, low-stakes environment for students to record their thoughts, impressions, or interpretations during a course. They can serve as "write-to-learn" exercises, as well as a way to access and comment on the writing of their peers in a more involved fashion than, say, a message board.
- Learning management systems, like Chalk and Canvas, offer faculty who are teaching courses at the University of Chicago many ways to reach their students and teach their classes. Capabilities range from making announcements, to distributing readings, to hosting synchronous online discussion sessions.
- Unlike Chalk and Canvas, which reach students taking classes at the university, open platforms, like Coursera, EdX, and Futurelearn can be used to design and run MOOCs that reach students all around the world. If you are interested in working with us to develop such a course, it may be useful to look at our current offerings.
- UChicago Box and Google Drive offer simple ways for faculty and their students to share files and collaborate on documents. ASTS has a useful comparison of their different capabilities.
- Also available through Google suite of tools, Lucidchart is like a digital whiteboard. It allows users to share and collaborate on diagrams, charts, and mindmaps.
- By using vLab, students and faculty can remotely login into a university computer and use software that they may not otherwise have access to, such as Mathematica and SPSS.
- Wikis can be used in classes to have students collaborate on building a knowledge base or solving problems. These are available through Chalk, as well as through UChicago Wikis. Students can also be tasked with vetting or adding information on public wikis, like Wikipedia.
- The i>clicker is a device that allow faculty to poll students and tabulate responses in real time in class. This can be especially useful in large classes, where it is sometimes difficult to measure students' response, but it can also be used in small classes for rapid formative assessment or to hold simple votes on debates or mock trials. Students can get the device from the university bookstore; instructors can get them on loan and receive support through ASTS.
- Some educators have developed clever and innovative strategies for using popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook in their classes to help students learn more effectively.
- Platforms like Cerego and Memrise have been developed to create and order flashcards based on the principle of spaced repetition. This could be useful for students who need to memorize any body of knowledge, but may be particularly appealing for language classes.
Annotation tools such as Annotation Studio, CritiqueIt, and Lacuna Stories let instructors and their students annotate and share texts and images. This lets instructors model active reading for their students; it also allows classes to collaborate on reading and thinking through texts in a way that really keeps the text itself central.
Do you know about a tool, program, or platform that can be used to teach or learn in new and more effective ways? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message through this form. We would be glad to hear about it!