by Shazia Kouser & Ishfaq Majid 25 October 2019
Digital learning is an innovative method that integrates technology with the process of learning. Digital learning can be implemented across any areas or fields of learning. This type of learning allows the learner to grasp concepts quickly in a more efficient way. With the advent of smartphones and computers, the process of learning has evolved rapidly. The 21st century has been rightly termed as the digital era. With internet bringing a substantial change in peoples lives, we are heavily dependent on the usage of technology to even complete simple tasks.
Technology keeps on advancing and it is becoming very important in our lives. The common masses are making use of technology every day to improve on the way they accomplish specific tasks. It is being used in various sectors, for example, the way we use technology in classrooms to improve the learning methods of students and to make the teachers job easier. Technology has changed the whole education system where a teacher makes use of a Digital Board or smart board to teach students thus replacing the entire old way of teaching. Gone are the days when classroom training was restricted to textbook learning, teachers using the blackboard to students writing notes in copies. It’s more chalk and talk in most schools. Digital education is making its way into the education system of India and is taking the place of the traditional classroom.
In today era of technology, a teacher has a lot of options to choose from with the help of which he/she can make his/her teaching much more effective. Nowadays there are various websites and apps which offer different kind of services to teachers and students. Technology has transformed the classroom, and no one can dispute that there are more advantages than liabilities to harnessing the potential of smartphones and tablets as mobile devices integrate ever more tightly into students’ lives. From greater student engagement to an expansion of the learning environment outside of school, mobile gadgets offer unique educational opportunities.
While schools, colleges and universities continue to integrate technology into the classroom, the hardware is only one part of the puzzle. The market is flooded with many resources for teachers and students. It is the duty of the teachers and students to choose the best one for them which can inspire the young minds. From creating lesson plans and keeping attendance to behaviour records and communicating with students and parents, we’ve compiled a set of the best apps for teachers that enable them to leverage tech instead of fighting it. These resources can prove useful for a teacher and students during the process of teaching and learning.
1. Kahoot: Launched in March 2013 by Johan Brand, Jamie Brooker and Morten Versvik in a joint project with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Kahoot is a game-based learning platform. It contains quizzes of multiple choice type. Here a teacher creates a quiz online and the students are asked to join the live quiz by entering the game code. The platform comes usually in three plans i,e Basics, Pro and Premium. The Basics is free, and the user will get basic features. However, for advanced features, the users have to switch over to Pro or Premium plans. The platform can be accessed via web browser or through app which is available for download in Google Play Store.
2. Nearpod: Nearpod offers teachers an easy-to-use tool for creating interactive lesson plans, presentations, assessments, and digital content. Nearpod allows teachers to create digital lesson plans, share it with students during class, and track individual progress. Lessons are comprised of teacher-created slides that can include text, video, images, websites, questions, quizzes, polls, and assignments. Students are able to follow the lesson on their own devices at their own pace or teachers can lead a synchronized session where students can follow the lesson in real-time.
3. Mentimeter: A Swedish company that finds innovative ways to create presentations with real-time feedback. The web and app interface enables users to share knowledge and real-time feedback on mobile. Mentimeter has a lot of other options like presentations, polls or brainstorming sessions in classes, meetings, gatherings, conferences and other group activities. A teacher after uploading the desired PowerPoint Presentation creates a unique six-digit code. The students who want to access that content are directed to enter the unique code to start viewing the PowerPoint on the web. The Swedish based company was ranked as Stockholm’s fastest-growing company of the 2018 edition of the Dagens Industri Gasell Award
4. Socrative: Among all the names, Socrative is yet another platform for formative assessment and is supposed to support classroom learning. Its main aim is to connect teachers and students as learning happens. Socrative mission has always been to connect teachers with students as learning happens, by providing fun and effective tools to gauge student understanding in real-time. This helps teachers to modify their instruction to drive student learning most effectively. Socrative currently is available in 14 languages and has almost 3 million users worldwide.
5. Padlet: A blank wall board that can be used by invited participants to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming and sharing information. Padlet enables the participants to post comments, images, videos and links on any topic in real time with the option of modification at a later stage as well. The Padlet wall can be viewed by an audience by being mirrored or projected to a screen. The users that receives an invitation link to post can see the comments, images, videos posted by other invited users as well. Padlet has some additional features as well but for that the users has to migrate to Padlet’s paid premium plans
Above all, there are many apps and website whose main aim is to make teaching and learning process more effective. Lecture method has its own importance but to give a boost to learning, a teacher is supposed to use these resources to create a path of motivation among students to learn effectively. It has also been seen that when some new activities are being conducted in a classroom situation, the students enjoy that part very well. We as teacher educators should take care of all these things before teaching in a class as our main goal is to make the teaching-learning process more understanding and easier.
The authors give due credit to Dr. K. Thiyagu, Assistant Professor, Central University of Kerela for making us aware of all these resources in five days workshop at School of Education, Central University of Gujarat.
Shazia Kouser is PhD Scholar in School of Education, Central University of Gujarat. She is currently working in her interest area of ICT in Education.
Ishfaq Majid is PhD Scholar in School of Education, Central University of Gujarat. He is currently working in the area of ICT in Education. His writings have earlier appeared in Economic and Political Weekly, Mainstream Weekly, Café Dissensus, South Asia Journal, London Institute of South Asia, The Rising Kashmir and Counter-Currents. The author can be mailed at [email protected]