New e-learning software is being developed to support learners and teachers in a myriad of ways. However, just having new learning technology out there does not guarantee improved learning. It is essential that instructors know what technology is available and how to employ it effectively in the classroom if the technology is going to create positive learning outcomes. So, what’s out there?
Let’s start by defining some terms. Simply stated, e-learning is a sweeping reference to any learning or teaching that is supported electronically. While m-learning, a sub-category of e-learning, generally refers to technology specifically created for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Therefore, a huge number of technologies – from vintage image projectors and new Smartboards inside the classrooms to online learning games and even learning management systems such as Moodle and Blackboard – all technically fall under the e-learning umbrella. Check out this College of Charlson infographic to get overview of current e-learning buzzwords.
The following five categories of e-learning resources exemplify how varied, personalized and creative learning technology can be. These technologies can be an asset to enhance engagement for any classroom or augment homeschooling material. Moreover, they are valuable tools for learners of any age, or walk of life, to cement knowledge on their own. These lists share some of our favorites, but are by no means all-inclusive and offer only a mere fraction of what is available. If you know of an amazing resource that we’ve missed, please leave a comment and share it with us and our readership so we can all learn better together.
Over the next several weeks, we will be exploring each of these five learning resource areas in more depth. If you would like to be notified when our new posts are published, please just let us know.
Classroom Content: It’s all been done. Why reinvent the wheel?
- Khan Academy’s free video lectures can be used to augment an in-class lesson, assigned as homework, or used for flipped classroom education.
- TED-Ed features short animated video lessons on many topics that are free and available to the public.
- MIT OpenCourseWare features lecture notes, videos and exams for more than 2,000 complete MIT courses – all for free.
- Udacity now offers eleven different free online computer science courses.
- Studyegg improves upon video content from other sources by creating free ongoing assessments for each featured lesson to cement key concepts.
- SnagFilms offers free documentaries available for streaming.
Enhancing Student Engagement: Students can’t learn when they are asleep.
- Echo360 provides blended learning software for successul flipped classrooms.
- Socrative is a student response system that links users though mobile devices. Students can even interact with the instructor and fellow students out of class.
- Hotseat provides a framework for instructors to posit questions to students through a mobile device interface to check for understanding and tailor class time to address to widely misunderstood topics.
- SlideRocket is an exciting, interactive PowerPoint alternative to create dynamic presentations, track audience reacations and improve lecture delivery.
- Yawnbuster also brings alive PowerPoint presentations with group activities such as audience polls, games, group exercises and competitions to encourage audience participation and highlight key points.
Collaborative Software: Editing student work & group projects just got easier.
- Google Drive allows you to store, share and edit media in real-time for free!
- TeemingPod allows for PowerPoint centered collaboration for interactive meetings and group projects.
- Voicethread creates conversations around media such as a document, image or video. Users can participate in the conversation via telephone, webcam, microphone, text or file upload.
- Mixable is a classroom centered, mobile social learning environment designed to engage students, collaborate and share course material.
- Popplet is a visually appealing venue for creating concept maps, sharing images and collaborating around ideas.
Social Learning: Share the learning experience with like-minded learners
- OpenStudy is a Facebook-linked real-time collaborative online study question-and-answer style site where students can help each other learn.
- Nabbber aims to help making new language vocabualry acquisition relevant and collaborative by allows users to save words that they have learned as well as follow others to learn their vocabulary words as well.
- LiveMocha encourages language learning through activities, instruction and real-time conversations.
- Duolingo’s dual mission allows you to learn a language for free while also helping to translate the web into other laguages.
Learning Activities: Put some fun back into learning. Your students will thank you.
- StudyBlue’s Tap, Snap, Speak mobile application allows its users to create personalized flash cards on any mobile device for free!
- FreeRice let’s you quiz yourself for a cause on many subjects or submit your own material to create more publicly available topics!
- Instreamia Learn a new language through music, video and reading.
- WISC-Online provides pre-made interactive presentations as well as the templates to build content specific games among many useful tools!