Today’s school classroom looks much different than it did just 10 years ago. Innovative technology has led to continuous, long-term evolution in how teachers engage students, promote collaboration and give students more autonomy.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated some of the shift to a more tech-driven classroom by making online learning necessary. But many changes were already on the way before the pandemic and will continue for the foreseeable future.
As part of its extensive continuing education courses for teachers, Fresno Pacific University offers a Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom course that allows teachers to earn valuable professional credits while expanding their knowledge on the tech tools available to them.
Why Teachers Need Online Teaching Tools
The multitude of online teaching tools for the classroom offers teachers the ability to improve how they engage with students, whether teaching online or in person. Tech tools provide many benefits, including expanding the types of courses schools can offer and giving students new experiences. Tech tools also help teachers:
- Teach students 21st-century skills
- Provide better student engagement and motivation
- Give autonomy to students through self-guided learning
- Promote more collaboration between students
- Accelerate learning and incorporate different learning styles, helping prevent late learners from falling behind their peers
- Provides students with visual stimulation
- Improve communication and create a system that links teachers and students with a wide range of content and resources, including eBooks and advanced information
On the administrative side of teaching, tech tools make it easier to track a student’s progress, set practice exercises and make grading and assessments less prone to personal bias.
Popular Online Teaching Tools
Some of the more popular online tools teachers can use to make learning fun and engaging include the following:
With more than 34 million users, Edmodo creates a learning environment that is enriching and personalized. The educational tools connect teachers and students in a social network that allows educators to create online collaborative groups, communicate with parents and provide educational materials.
Socrative allows teachers to design educational games that students can play across various devices, including smartphones and tablets. By continuously following the game results, teachers can make modifications to increase student engagement and personalize the game.
Easy to learn and use, Thinglink is for creating interactive videos, images, 3D models, virtual tours and simulations. Teachers and students can share these creations on websites or social media.
TED-Ed is the youth and education initiative created by the people behind TED Talks. The platform seeks to share information and spark conversation among teachers and students. It’s already in use by millions of teachers and students around the world.
Kahoot! offers game-based education in the form of questionnaires, quizzes and surveys. It enhances student learning while they play—a successful strategy for improving student performance.
Prezi is another presentation tool, but it takes a different approach. Rather than the slide approach used in popular tools such as PowerPoint, Prezi uses a large canvas. When creating presentations, teachers and students can pan and zoom onto different canvas parts to emphasize the point being made or a specific idea.
The Fresno Pacific University Online Tools for the Classroom Course
Designed for working K-12 teachers who want to expand their knowledge base while earning graduate-level professional development credits, the Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom Course focuses on introducing educators to online tools they can incorporate immediately in their classrooms.
Much like other Fresno Pacific University courses on online tools for the classroom, the Web 2.0 class helps teachers shift their thinking about the internet. They learn to treat it as a platform that provides opportunities to create and share content with students. The course addresses the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers.
Part of the online course involves creating standards-based learning activities that effectively integrate Web 2.0 technologies. For teachers motivated to learn the best practices for using online tools in the classroom, it’s a course that will help them achieve their goals.