(photo taken by Mark, downloaded from FLICKR http://www.flickr.com/photos/markbrady/2302808692/, creative commons: attribution)
As part of our class on “Technology Tools”, we were asked to develop a list of 23 things we think online teachers should learn. This is a concept, “23 Things” that began with Helen Blowers, a librarian/technologist. See a blog post (http://plcmcl2-things.blogspot.com/) about it for more details.
Here is my list:
1. Learn what online teaching and learning is all about. If you don’t know much about it, learn before you dive head first into it. The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan is a great place to start, and offers other resource links as well.
2. Take a look at social networking and understand how it can impact online learning and teaching. Wikipedia’s article on Social Networking Service would be a good place to begin.
3. Develop an understanding of how to organize your online course in an effective way. Connecticut Community College offers a good document that contains excellent ideas for this.
4. See how students are teaching teachers by looking at a YouTube video on the impact technology can have on both students and teachers.
5. Explore some of the proven best practices in teaching online and become familiar with these practices. As you begin down the road of online teaching, you would be best served if you do things right from the beginning. The University of Central Florida is a leader in online teaching and offers amazing information in the area of Instructional Best Practices using Technology.
6. As you explore the ideas and processes of online teaching and learning, consider staying current with scholarship in this area. The Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT)is an open-access, peer-reviewed online publication that will help you look at effective use of technology.
7. Wikis are websites that are collaboratively developed and can be great tools for have students work together on any number of class projects and assignments. Also great for building student learning community by building student webpages. Explore wikis at Wikispaces.
8. Blogs are an excellent way to allow students (anyone really) to record their thoughts and opinions and other information in an online journal type format. Blogs can be an excellent addition to classes. You can begin to blog yourself (for free) at WordPress or Edublogs.
9. Prezi is a web-based presentation application that takes sharing information to a whole new level. Add enticement to your toolbox by exploring the use of something other than powerpoint for sharing information. Check out Prezi.com today.
10. Twitter: A real-time network that allows you and others to stay in touch. For educators, it is a great way to share announcements with your class, engage them in real-time conversations, and to have them follow other subject/course related content. Visit Twitter.com and give it a try.
11. RSS Feeds: If you’ve never tried RSS feeds, you should give it a try. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and is a particular format for delivering changing web content on a regular basis. Learn a bit more about RSS feeds at the Wikipedia entry on RSS feeds and then explore “How to Use RSS Feeds?”.
12. FLICKR: One of the most popular photo sharing websites. FLICKR is an entire online community centering around the sharing of photos. Explore FLICKR and learn about tagging, groups and how to abide by creative commons copyright laws. Then begin accessing beautiful photos for your presentations and courses.
13. Diigo: is a new social bookmarking website that allows you to set up an account and keep your bookmarks synced and shared socially. It also allows you to tag webpages and track them. A great feature for classes to establish a group to allow students to post bookmarks to the group and are therefore shared by everyone in the group. A great tool for sharing bookmarks. Check out DIIGO and give it a try in your next class.
14. YouTube: A leading service of video sharing that can be a great resource for accessing instructional materials.
15. Dropbox: Today, there are so many great ways to store items but to also share them. Now, you and your students or your students and your students can readily share files in real-time. A great tool for small groups. Try Dropbox today.
16. Polling: A great way to engage with your online students is to use polls (either web-based or text-based). Allowing for your audiences to respond in real time adds a great layer of interaction. Poll Everywhere is worth exploring and trying out.
17. Surveys: Using surveys in your teaching is a great way to see what your students are thinking about specific topics or allows you to find out how they’ve done in a learning module. There are many uses for surveys in teaching online. Many Learning Management Systems have a built-in survey tool. A web-based tool you can examine is Survey Monkey.
18. Online Slide sharing is another great tech tool. Allows you to post and share presentations and documents and videos with students. Slideshare is one great way to do this and worth checking out.
19. Today’s Meet allows you to connect to your students or participants and engage them in your delivery of content.
20. Online Assessment tools can be an excellent resource to create your own educational games and quizzes. Explore Quia to see how you can add some interactivity to your assessments.
21. Google Docs is a great online resource that allows users to work on word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in a collaborative manner. You and your students can share documents and work on them at the same time. Really lots of potential uses for group works and projects. Learn more about Google Docs at the Google for Educators site.
22. Jing is a super tech tool that is free and allows you to capture your screen via images and video presentations. Really an excellent way to create short presentations to share with your students. Try JING today.
23. Facebook can also be a useful tool to enhance your online teaching experience. Check out the “Facebook in the Classroom. Seriously” online post about ideas for its use. There are some great links within the article as well.