Technology Enabled Learning

This Expert Element on Technology Enabled Learning is designed to support teachers find a starting point or next steps in their journey of professional learning. Using this information to help direct your own learning and be sure to check out the Classroom Catalysts to see Ontario teachers in action using some of these digital tools.

1 Video Overview

 

1.1 What is TEL?

Technology enabled learning (TEL) includes using a wide range of technology to support learning. The key to TEL is that strong pedagogy leads the use of technology. Technology use will look different in every classroom and depend on access to devices, digital tools, specific student strengths and needs and teacher expertise.

Technology Integration Models

Currently, in Ontario, there are a number of technology integration models. Listed below are a few:

  • teacher has access to one laptop or other mobile device and to a computer lab or cart to sign out as needed for class

  • one device for every student (1:1) - a laptop or tablet that goes home with the student

  • one device for every student (1:1) - a laptop or tablet that gets used in the classroom only

  • a pod of devices in the classroom - maybe between 5 - 10 laptops or tablets to share in the class

  • bring your own device (byod) or bring your own technology (byot) initiatives that encourage students to bring their own mobile devices

  • bring your own device (byod) initiatives where students are asked to bring a laptop or tablet and those without devices are provided access to a school laptop or tablet

  • combination of any of the above

Types of Devices

There are many different types of devices that can be used in the classroom.

Device

Pros

Cons

Handheld Student Devices

(iPods, phones)

- accessible, with students regularly

- quick to start (less wait time)

- go home with students

- quick media creation

- smaller screens

- not all websites and interactive material works

- best for quick, short activities

Tablets - iPads

- large choice of apps

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on screen

- quick media creation

- not all websites, interactive material works

- limited multi-tasking

- no keyboard

- can be difficult to get files created by students off iPads in a classroom environment

- often have to login and logout of each individual app if sharing devices

Tablets - Android

- large choice of apps

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on screen

- quick media creation

- not all websites, interactive material works

- limited multi-tasking

- no keyboard

- have to login and logout of cloud computing settings if sharing devices

Tablets - Windows

- quick-to-start

- apps that allow you to write on the screen

- quick media creation

- most websites work if screen size isn’t too small

- no keyboard

- less apps than other tablets (however, most websites work, so less are required)

Laptops

- keyboards

- programs that can be installed, which many are used to using

- multi-tasking is easy (multiple programs open, for example when researching and writing)

- mouse

- can install specific programs that are unavailable on tablets for video editing, 3D design, animation, computer programming, games, etc.

- easy to share devices

- often (not always) more storage than a tablet

- can be slower to start

- can require upgrades and updates often

- less portable

- often have to import video and images from other mobile devices (could be difficult to take photos and video using webcam on a laptop)

Desktops

*these are often in labs and are connected to school networks

- easy to share and login with credentials if set up as such in school or board

- can handle complex and large programs

- can be slower to start

- can require upgrades and updates often

- less portable

- often have to import video and images from other mobile devices (could be difficult to take photos and video using webcam on a laptop)

Chrome books

- quick-to-start

- small, portable

- easy to share if students have Google accounts

- intuitive to use like a laptop

- most websites work

- cannot install software on device - just a web browser, so while it works great for web-based activities there are things you do on a laptop that cannot be done on a chromebook

- cannot use all peripherals or devices that plug into laptops like wacom tablets

1.2 Why TEL?

 

Technology can be used by teachers and students in a variety of ways to support classroom learning. By focusing in on good learning and teaching practices and assessing how technology can support those practices, teachers can focus on effective use. Information about high-yield instructional strategies can be found on the LearnTeachLead site created by the Ontario Curriculum, Student Achievement Division.

For example, teachers can use technology to support specific high-yield, research-based instructional strategies such as;

  • differentiated instruction (using technology to provide access to multiple ways to learn concepts)

  • differentiated assessment (using technology to provide access to multiple ways to assess students)

  • timely descriptive feedback (using technology to help provide descriptive feedback as quickly as possible)

  • peer and self feedback

  • diagnostic assessments

  • student conferencing

  • accountable talk

  • gradual release of responsibility

Assessment for and as learning can be greatly facilitated and enhanced through the use of technology. Making it easier to document learning in ways other than the formal submission of a polished product, students can reflect on their own growth as part of the learning process. Technology can help teachers be innovative in how they meet the expectations for assessment detailed in Ministry of Education policies such as Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools.  

In a report written by Michael Fullan (2013), Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, titled Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda, he describes the 6 C’s as the skills required for innovation and entrepreneurialism. Fullan (2013) states that the 6 C’s are also skills that parents and employers desire.

From the report (Fullan, 2013), the 6 C’s include;

 

Character education — honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.

Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.

Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with a variety of digital tools; listening skills.

Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.

Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.

Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.

 

 

Video resources around how to develop the 6 C’s in Ontario classrooms can be found on the LearnTeachLead, Student Achievement Division Resources - K to 12 website.

To develop skills within the 6 C’s, technology integration is necessary. Technology does not need to be used every moment of every day, however, teachers benefit from practicing and developing the skill of selecting technologies that will help each student learn and develop skills supporting the 6 C’s. This may mean that different students are using different technologies at different times in class.

 

 

1.3 Frameworks

Frameworks for technology integration, are tools that can be used to help educators understand the place of technology enabled learning in the classroom and their own required learning within it. Below are a few different frameworks that can be considered.  

SAMR

SAMR is a framework developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura to help bring awareness to educators of the different ways we use technology to support learning. OSAPAC, a committee who advises the Ministry of Education on acquiring provincial licenses for software and web-based digital tools, shares information and resources about the SAMR model. The video below is a two-minute overview of the framework.  

TPACK

TPACK is a framework used to help educators understand what they need to know to teach effectively with technology. It highlights the importance of a teacher’s content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge. The TPACK framework highlights the importance of finding balance in those knowledge areas and aiming for the intersection of all three.  More information about this model can be found at tpack.org .  

Image reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

 

TIM

The Technology Integration Matrix is designed to help teachers place themselves within the framework and gather ideas and examples of possible next steps in their development of using technology tools to effectively enhance learning for K-12 students.

The matrix combines levels of technology integration with characteristics of the learning environment. Each cell in the matrix contains a detailed description and then subject-specific examples in the form of a video with text supports. The matrix can be accessed at fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php .

ISTE Standards

The ISTE Standards are a set of international guidelines on the skills each stakeholder in education needs to develop in order to be successful in today’s world. There are standards for students, teachers, administrators, coaches and computer science educators. The ISTE Standards also include a set of 14 essential conditions that are required for effective technology integration. Some school boards in Ontario cite these standards in their technology integration policies.

1.4 Considerations

While using technology in the classroom to enhance student learning is very rewarding, there are things teachers need to consider before diving in. We often hear statements such as;

  • it’s not about the tool

  • teachers don’t need to know how to use the tools, students will figure them out

  • our students are “digital natives”

While these statements have truth in them, teachers ultimately DO need to understand how the tools work. Teachers are responsible for student safety and well being. While it may not be necessary for teachers to be experts on the fine details of all digital tools, a certain level of digital literacy and capability is essential. Teachers need to know how personal information may be used and shared using a digital tool. Or, how students may interact with others using the tool. This requires a shift in how educators prepare for class. Instead of spending time preparing and photocopying multiple pages for class, teachers may need to spend that time checking out a new digital tool for a classroom activity.

As teachers develop the skills required to quickly understand how digital tools work this task becomes much less cumbersome. This skill is the same as those of classroom management, assessment, etc. It can be developed and mastered over time. Starting with digital tools that have been vetted or approved by schools, boards and the province is a great way to start. Ultimately, teachers should work towards developing the skillset required to quickly assess a tool when students suggest a new tool to connect, collaborate, share or demonstrate understanding. Assessing digital tools for safety and appropriateness can be done by asking a series of questions including (but not limited to);

  • is there a school, board or provincially provided tool that accomplishes the same thing as this new tool
  • do students need to create an account? If so,
    • what is the age limit?
    • what personal information is being shared?
    • where is this personal information being stored?
    • do I have parental approval?
  • is the tool “more open” than your physical classroom? Will others beyond your class or school be able to interact with students and see their work? If so, special considerations need to be made.
  • do you have parent permission? Generally, this is required if any personal information (name, age, contact information, etc.) is going to be used, or if student work will be made public. Teachers should check school and board policies to ensure all requirements are met. If ever unsure, get parent permission.
  • will student work, creations or conversations be shared publically or privately? Who will be able to see student work?   
  • is there a commenting or social feature in the tool at all? If so,
    • is there the ability to “moderate” comments (control which ones show up)
    • who has control?
    • can it be turned off?

Privacy and Safety Online

Schools and school boards will have guidelines for the use of online digital tools. It is important that students and teachers have a thorough understanding of these guidelines and follow them.

Other guidelines to consider include;

Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship

In the front pages of the Ontario Curriculum Documents, there is information on the use of Information and Communication Technologies. This information addresses digital safety and citizenship and makes it clear that every teacher is responsible for this.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship includes;

  • the ability to be safe and responsible online,

  • the ability to have balance and well-being in life,  

  • the ability to be a positive contributing member to online communities,

  • the ability to use digital resources effectively to support their own learning and well being

There are many educator resources already created and available online. Some of these resources include;

Equity and Access

During the transition to technology enabled learning environments teachers need to be cognizant of student access to devices and internet connections. A lack of access could impact student achievement. This is not new for teachers - it’s part of getting to know our students. The new part is finding creative solutions to a lack of access. Some solutions used by students and teachers in Ontario include;

  • group work in class

  • providing choice on learning activities

  • having extra device(s) in classrooms for student use

  • accessing free internet from places such as McDonalds and Tim Hortons

  • creating pods of devices available for student sign out

  • recycling old devices for basic access

1.5 Entry Points

Entry Points to Technology Enabled Learning

Finding an entry point into technology enabled learning can be complicated. Ideally, teachers will be part of collaborative inquiry cycles (teacher-led professional development) where technology is used to meet specific goals. In this manner teachers have access to a support system and resources to help them. These collaborative inquiry cycles may be focused on integrating or enhancing a new instructional strategy using technology to enhance it. They often combine some out of the classroom new learning with job-embedded implementation and practice. Teachers could choose to integrate co-teaching and observation into their learning cycle.

Other suggestions to support finding an entry point that works for the individual teacher includes:

  • take one inquiry that you would normally do in science and brainstorm ways to enhance through the use of technology. Could the use of technology help students develop skills for creativity? communication? collaboration? critical thinking? citizenship? character?

  • choose one learning management system (see section below for more information on learning management systems) to use with a class and develop the skills of digital file management while focusing in on facilitating effective online discussions among students. Help them develop the skills necessary for collaborating and communicating online to enhance their learning.

  • take one traditional assessment and collaborate with colleagues on how to enhance it using technology. Consider how you can make it more student-directed, differentiated, or how you can adapt it to develop skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration or critical thinking.

  • find one global collaborative project (see section below for more information on global collaborative projects) and have a class participate in it, developing the skills for communicating and collaborating with students from other areas of the world in addition to critical thinking and citizenship

Professional Learning Networks

An integral component of effectively supporting technology enabled learning environments is adapting to our ever-changing society and the digital tools available. To do this, teachers need to ensure they are self-directed lifelong learners. One way to do this is to have a strong professional learning network.  Some teachers do this by connecting with other educators using social media (Twitter, Google+, etc.). Others read educational blogs and comment on posts. Some teachers have strong face-to-face communities of teachers who share best practices and new ideas on a regular basis. Being connected to other educators and actively contributing to a community of learners does take time, but pays back in time and energy. Educators who are connected and learn with others online and face-to-face are able to easily support students in developing the skills required to do the same. The first step to becoming a “connected educator” often involves watching these communities work. For example, one may observe others share material and resources on Twitter or Google+. However, it is important to note that the true benefit comes from reciprocating and interacting in these communities. Sharing thoughts, ideas and materials. Having others agree or challenge your thoughts and ideas is an important part of learning.

 

2 Copyright and Creative Commons

Copyright and Creative Commons for Teachers

 

Copyright and Creative Commons

 

The idea of sourcing media created by others used in our own creation of documents, videos, audio recordings, images, etc. is addressed in the section on digital citizenship and literacy. However, there are many aspects to consider in terms of sourcing and sharing materials.

Copyright laws in Canada have recently changed and some of these changes impact teachers. Teachers have historically viewed themselves as having an important role in educating students on the difference between plagiarism (passing off another’s work as your own) and sourcing properly (using others work to help make your own point). Educators also need to consider this when creating learning materials for students and communicating with students digitally. The best way to help students understand the difference between remixing, sourcing and plagiarising is to lead by example. This can be difficult in today’s very connected world. Some common examples of plagiarism that can be found in classrooms:

  • taking content (text, images) from the web and printing it or adding to a document or website for students to use without including proper credit to the author

  • finding other teachers’ material (text, images, rubrics, learning activities, etc.) and printing or distributing it digitally without including proper credit to the author

  • copying or saving an image from the internet and adding it to a class assignment or content without including proper credit to the author/creator

  • copying or saving an image from the internet and tweeting it, posting it on Facebook or posting it in other online communities without including proper credit to the author/creator. There is a difference between tweeting an image out as your own and “retweeting” another’s tweet. Retweeting or “sharing” on Facebook both keep the author’s credit intact and appear as though you are sharing their work. If you copy or save the image and then tweet or post it yourself, it appears as though it is your own creation or work. This is an important distinction.  If tweeting or posting on your own account, you must include the author/creator’s name and a link to where they can be found online.

 

While the details of sourcing and copyright can be complicated and confusing, all teachers should always ask themselves;

  • “does it appear as though I created that material, or is it very obvious that I’m using someone else’s work to communicate and share my ideas?”,

  • “can someone find the original author or creator online easily based on my source information?”.

 

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada has created a digital resource for teachers to get a better understanding of copyright and how it impacts students and teachers. It can be accessed here and is a great place to start learning.

Creative Commons is a way for people license their own work for sharing. It is important that teachers and students understand Creative Commons, know how to attribute the works of others that are used in their own creations and know how to license their own work with Creative Commons.

Creative Commons has grown to adapt to a culture where people want to share their material. As an author or creator, if other people remix or use creations in their material, it reaches a wider audience. The author earns more recognition for their work, as long as it is sourced properly. For example, a teacher who creates a set of great lesson plans and learning resources and posts them online with a creative common license can request that his/her work is attributed back to them. With others using and posting their adapted lessons on their own sites and online communities, the original teacher has reached many more people than if only posted on their own site. This is the culture of sharing that has developed online and is happening in many areas ranging from music, video, visual arts and text creations.

Creative Commons has a set of licenses that can be used by creators including the following options.

 

Creative Commons Licenses

The information below was shared by CreativeCommons.org using a Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International License.  The source of the information is: creativecommons.org/licenses/


     
 

Attribution

CC BY

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Attribution-ShareAlike

CC BY-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Attribution-NoDerivs

CC BY-ND

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Attribution-NonCommercial

CC BY-NC

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

CC BY-NC-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

CC BY-NC-ND

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

View License Deed | View Legal Code


 

Using the information available at creativecommons.org teachers and students can license their own works and find media (text, audio, images, video) to use and remix as part of their own creations.


Teachers and students looking for more information should check out this PDF resource created by Rodd Lucier and Zoe Branigan-Pipe titled Creative Commons in the Classroom, or this recorded OTF Connects webinar by Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen.

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons in the Classroom

3 Trends in Education

Flipped Classroom

The “flipped classroom” is a term used to describe a strategy where teachers assign video lessons as the homework. This can provide more time in class for discussion, supporting students, peer feedback, group work and inquiry. Debates continue about the effect of flipped practices on student learning. However, there are many different ways to integrate video lessons into a class. Finding the most effective way requires knowing students strengths and needs as learners.

 

From a technological point of view, video creation or editing tools are used to create videos. A starting point for creating videos includes using the recording tool built into Powerpoint or other presentation tools. Teachers will also need a place to post and share their videos with students. This could include websites, blogs or a Learning Management System (LMS).

 

For more information about the Flipped Classroom, review some of the resources listed below.

 

Makerspaces

Makerspaces began as collaborative spaces in the community where materials for “making” (tools, software, electronics, 3D printers, materials) were available for members to use. A culture of sharing, mentorship and collaboration is fundamental. Some classrooms, libraries and schools are working towards creating makerspaces or adopting a similar culture to provide opportunities for students to create and “make” things as a way of solving problems and demonstrating understanding. Creating prototypes, machines and models can help students combine design thinking with solving complex issues using scientific concepts.

 

For more information about Makerspaces, read some of the articles listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Digital Tools

 

 

4.1 LMS

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are digital tools that include a lot of applications in one tool. LMS’s can be considered a one-stop shop for managing digital learning. They allow for file management, notifications, assignment submission, descriptive feedback, online discussions and tracking.

Teachers can choose to use a LMS for a variety of reasons. These reasons could include;

  • simplifying management of digital resources and assignments

  • encouraging student voice and accountable talk through online collaboration

  • collect and share digital resources to facilitate student choice in how they learn (personalization and differentiation)

While there are many Learning Management Systems, some examples are outlined in the table below.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Provincial virtual Learning Environment, vLE  (formerly known as D2L)

  • supported provincially

  • can be used for both eLearning (fully online courses) and blended learning (face-to-face classes using digital tools to supplement and support learning)

  • public school boards have contacts in the board to support teachers gaining access and getting started

  • can integrate with Google Drive or Office 365 for submitting files

  • web-based

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets

  • ask school/board contact for access info

  • secure and often connected to school board information systems (resulting in automated enrolment of your students)

  • closed environment, student discussions and work not public resulting in same risk as sharing face-to-face in classroom

coursehelp.ca

Google Classroom

  • less features than a LMS like the vLE or Moodle, but quicker learning curve for teachers and students

  • works with Google Drive

  • easy to hand out files to students and collect assignments

  • makes organization of the excellent collaboration aspects of Google Drive easier

  • discussion forum for basic online discussions and announcements

  • some other apps can be integrated and linked

  • web-based or mobile app

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets

  • ask school/board contact for access info if you have Google Apps for Education

  • if no access to Google Apps For Education (GAFE) accounts through board, the age limit is 13 for creating a Google Account and implications for student personal information needs to be considered

Google Classroom Help

Edmodo

  • less intense of a LMS than the vLE, but more features than Google Classroom (as of August 2015)

  • web-based or mobile app

  • sharing of files, submitting assignments and online discussions

  • some other apps can be integrated and linked

  • parent accounts can be created

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets

  • it is a “closed” environment where material stays within, but students have to have accounts and can possibly share personal information

Edmodo Help Centre

4.2 Online Discussions

Teachers who use Learning Management Systems often facilitate online discussions as part of their classroom routine. While it can take time to support students in developing the skills to have effective, rich discussions that lead to deep learning, they can be rewarding. Suggestions include co-creating the success criteria for online discussion with students. A gradual release of responsibility model can also be used where teachers write comments and responses as a class, then in small groups or partners before doing it individually. Each step should be reflected on and compared to the success criteria. Students do not automatically know how to have rich, deep conversations online to support their learning.

Combining face-to-face classroom discussions with online discussions can empower all students to participate and think deeply. Resources such as Making Room for Talk (found at edugains.ca) can be used to support teachers making the conversation in class (face-to-face and online) accountable.

Online discussions can be held through a Learning Management System (the Provincial vLE, Edmodo, Google Classroom, Moodle, etc.) or they can be done using tools specifically just for online discussions.

There are many tools for online discussions. A few are listed below.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Google Groups (GAFE)

  • online discussion forums  

  • if you have Google Apps for Education (GAFE), students already have log ins

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets

  • ask school/board contact for access info if you have GAFE

  • if not using school GAFE accounts, age limit is 13 for a Google account

Google Groups Help

TodaysMeet

  • an online chat (for immediate chats during class time)

  • settings decided by teacher - no login required by students if desired

  • very quick to set up

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets, phones

  • great for sharing questions, inquiries, ideas during short video clips or discussions in class

  • open to others outside of the classroom if someone shares the link

todaysmeet.com

Twiducate

  • online discussion forums

  • closed environment (password protected)

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads

  • created for education, students can use nicknames or alias’ - little opportunity for personal information to be shared, if students guided correctly

twiducate.com

 

4.3 Cloud Computing

Most science classrooms involve writing as form of sharing or presenting information. Many school boards have opted for either Google Apps for Education (GAFE) or Office 365 as cloud computing options. Both provide online storage of documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.

Moving beyond basic file storage and creation, cloud computing can support teachers in providing effective descriptive feedback and facilitating peer feedback. The development of collaboration skills in students can be supported through the co-creation of documents, presentations and spreadsheets with peers in the same class, or across the world. =

While the major players in cloud computing are GAFE and Office 365, there are other tools that may be available to teachers and students.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) or Google Drive

  • file sharing and storage (any files)

  • file collaboration

  • excellent collaboration and sharing tools and extensions

  • word processing, spreadsheets, presentations (slides) and drawings

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads

  • ask school/board contact for access info if you have GAFE tools

  • if not accessed through a school/board GAFE account - the age limit for Google accounts is 13 years old

  • student work can be shared beyond GAFE and embedded or linked to other sites and online places

Google Drive Help

Office 365, Office web apps

  • file sharing

  • file collaboration

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote

  • Files can be edited in web-based versions or desktop versions

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads

  • ask school/board contact for access info if you have o365 tools

  • usually quite secure, depending on how set up by school/board - check board policies and documentation

OneDrive Help

Primary Pad

  • online word processor (for collaboration)

  • free or paid version

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads

  • no account required for students

Primary Pad

 

Video Guide for Primary Pad

 

4.4 Blogging

Blogging is one way that students can demonstrate the understanding of scientific concepts and develop communication skills. Blogs are websites where the most recent posts created show up at the top of the page and older posts get pushed down the page. Blogs can contain text, images, video and other embedded media.

Blogs can be created with one writer, or with multiple writers who collaborate or take turns posting. Some classes have one blog for their class where the teacher and students take turn creating posts about scientific concepts and learning from class. Other classroom learning activities have students creating and maintaining blogs individually or in small groups around social or environmental issues. Research and media creations can be shared on blogs. Students can comment on each others blogs and share their work with the world.

Comment moderation is a feature on blog tools that allows the owner of the blog to require “approval” of all comments written by readers before they show up on the blog for others to see. This safety measure allows teachers to ensure that comments from the general public are appropriate and support the educational goals of the project.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Blogger (GAFE)

  • if schools/board has access to GAFE tools, can use the same accounts to access Blogger

  • free

  • blogs by nature are open and public unless settings are used to make private

  • comments by others can be set to be moderated, requiring approval before appearing on site

  • must ensure all school and board policies for sharing student information and work are followed

Blogger Getting Started

Edublogs

  • a blogging tool with features designed for classrooms

  • free limited version or paid pro teacher account

  • if using paid teacher account, ability to set up student accounts within a class system

  • blogs by nature are open and public unless settings are used to make private

  • comments by others can be set to be moderated, requiring approval before appearing on site

  • must ensure all school and board policies for sharing student information and work are followed

Edublogs Help and Support

Wordpress

  • a popular blogging platform for all blogging purposes

  • free limited version with paid features available

  • possible advertising on free versions

  • blogs by nature are open and public unless settings are used to make private

  • comments by others can be set to be moderated, requiring approval before appearing on site

  • must ensure all school and board policies for sharing student information and work are followed

Wordpress Help

Provincial vLE - blogging application

  • within the vLE learning management system, there is an application for blogging

  • ask school or board contact for access information

  • blogs are within the closed vLE environment unless settings are used to make public to others

  • students commenting on other students blogs

  • must ensure all school and board policies for sharing student information and work are followed

 
 

4.5 Capturing Thinking

Every day teachers read solutions written by students and wonder “what were they thinking at this point?”. Using apps on mobile technologies, students can record their voice as they write on the screen, creating a video explaining how they solve problems. These same digital tools can be used to create videos including images, animation, annotations and audio.

In addition to capturing student thinking these same digital tools can be used by teachers to provide descriptive feedback by annotating images of student work while recording their voice. This feedback video can be uploaded to a LMS to share with students, shared with cloud computing or simply sent by email. This workflow may be frustrating at first, but once figured out can save time and energy.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Educreations

  • works on laptop browsers, chromebooks and using iPad app

  • free apps with paid option for more features (for teacher setting up classroom)

  • students can annotate images, add text and record voice to create video

  • teacher can set up a class where students can submit videos

  • videos could be shared beyond Educreations environment to others by teacher

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

Educreations FAQ

Explain Everything

  • iPad app, Android app, Windows app (all paid apps)

  • students can annotate images, add text and record voice to create video

  • lots of sharing options for importing and exporting material

  • lots of sharing options to import or export materials

  • videos can be downloaded or shared to other online places

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

Explain Everything Support and Tutorials

Voicethread

  • works on laptop browsers. chromebooks or using iOS or Android apps

  • students and teachers can upload media (documents, images, video, presentations, etc.) and then annotate and record voice, text or video comments over

  • many people can leave annotations/comments on the same media pieces - like a multimedia discussion

  • limited free access or paid teacher accounts

  • paid versions can be implemented at a class, school or board level with integration into school information systems (to create online classroom environments within Voicethread). This makes sharing and collaborating easier.

  • lots of sharing options - need to check settings carefully. Consider the following:

    • who can view the voicethread? (public, class only, private, etc.)

    • who can comment on the voicethread? (public, class only, private, etc.)

    • are the comments set to be moderated? (approved before appearing to others)

Voicethread How To

4.6 Mind Mapping

Creating mind maps is discussed in the Ontario Ministry of Education Edugains resources as a strategy for differentiating instruction and as a method of summarizing and note-taking. The use of technology and digital tools enhances basic mind-mapping by allowing students from the same class, or across the world to collaborate on the same mind map and embed multimedia. It can also allow students to share their work with peers to spark discussion and encourage feedback.  

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Mindomo

  • provincially licensed

  • feature-rich mind mapping

  • web-based and iPad app

  • ability for teachers to create “assignments” for class group or individual work

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads

  • mind maps can be shared or embedded on other (outside) sites

Self-Registration Info

 

Video Links

Padlet

  • web-based and iPad app

  • brainstorming tool

  • free or premium accounts

  • works on: laptops, chromebooks, iPads, tablets

  • teacher can set up so that students do not need accounts

  • ability to share Padlets on other web sites

  • can be open on the web where others could access if link shared

Padlet Help

4.7 Create Video

Creating Video

Creating video is one of the many ways students may choose to demonstrate their understanding and share information. While not every student is interested in detailed video creation, we now have access to digital tools that make video creation quicker yet still professional looking. This provides choice allowing students to focus in and develop the skills required for professional video creation, or to use one of the apps and tools that provide pre-made themes and short cuts.

Creating video can support the development of many of the “6 C’s”. Creativity, critical thinking and communication skills are developed as students plan which material goes into videos and how to effectively communicate their message to a specific audience. The planning process in creating video is as important as putting the actual video together. Resources such as the Adobe Youth Voices material can help teachers focus in on the critical thinking and social and environmental issues while planning and creating video.

 

There are many digital tools that support the creation of video. Some of these are software programs installed on computers while some of the easier-to-use tools are apps on mobile devices or work within a web browser. Student and teacher preferences and strengths will determine when it is appropriate to use full-featured video editing tools or easier-to-use but less feature-rich applications.

 

 

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

iMovie on iOS

  • iPad app (paid or free on new iPads)

  • storyboarding and planning capabilities

  • themes for quick video creation

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

iMovie Support

Adobe Voice (iPad)

  • free iPad app

  • animated video - choose your images and record a voice over

  • share it with others on an Adobe Voice page or download it and share yourself

  • default sharing settings include sharing the video on its own Adobe Voice page and providing the link (this means the video is public)

  • video can be downloaded and shared using any video sharing site

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required  

Adobe Voice Support

Adobe Premiere Elements 7

  • provincially licensed - each district has a set number of licenses to install on school computers (ask school/board contact for access information)

  • video editing software for school computers

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

Adobe Premiere Elements 7 Help PDF

PowerPoint Presentation Recording

  • record audio over a PowerPoint presentation and save as a video

  • try OfficeMix.com to create interactive video with Powerpoint

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

How to turn your presentation into a video

 

4.8 Stop Motion

Stop-motion animation can be a rewarding method of digital storytelling in the classroom. Using a series of still pictures where each image moves a slight amount in sequence allows students to demonstrate their understanding of scientific concepts using a variety of mobile devices as cameras.

The process involved in planning for stop-motion animation projects is very similar to that of planning videos. It is during this process where teachers can focus in on developing skills such as creativity, critical thinking and communication. Adapting and using resources such as the Adobe Youth Voices Stop Motion Animation Curriculum can help teachers integrate the planning process into video creation projects around big ideas and inquiries in science class.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Frames 5

  • provincially licensed

  • feature-rich software for laptops to create animations and video

  • installs on PC or Mac school computers

  • teacher take-home rights (to install on teacher computers)

  • ask school/board contact for access info

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

Frames Training Material

iOS Apps:

  • each app helps you take photos with a slight movement in each one and then tie them together into a video

  • some apps are paid and some are free

  • school and board policies must be followed when sharing video and images of student

  • using images, video and audio from online sources - proper credit and use required

 
 

4.9 3D Design

Many schools have acquired 3D printers to help students develop the skills for design thinking. 3D printers take design files of designs created in 3D and create plastic objects. Most smaller printers work by laying down plastic layer by layer until the object is created. To use 3D design in the science classroom, students often create designs to solve or demonstrate solutions to authentic issues.

Digital tools for 3D design can be used with or without access to a 3D printer. While many secondary technology departments have high-end 3D design programs installed on computers, teachers and students can access free design programs for introductory 3D design. Some of these tools are in the table below. The 3D files (often in the format of .stl or .obj) can be saved and used if/when access to a 3D printer is available.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

TinkerCAD

  • web based

  • free

  • requires account to be created (personal information)

  • must ensure all school and board policies for sharing student information and work are followed

Tinkercad Learn

SketchUp

  • free to download and install software onto laptops

  • need to create account (personal information) to download

  • age limit for downloading is 18 years old

SketchUp Learn

 

4.10 ePortfolios

 

Portfolios can be used as a strategy to develop skills for self-assessment. This strategy card from the DI resources on the Ministry of Education Edugains site focuses on the process to support this development. Many different digital tools can be used to create Portfolios. ePortfolios, or digital portfolios can extend paper-based portfolios by tracking feedback and growth, allowing for collaboration, allowing for the inclusion of multimedia creations and allowing for work to be shared with an audience beyond the classroom walls. When whole-school or district strategies are put into place, ePortfolios can follow and grow with students throughout their educational career.  

Tool

About  

Safety Considerations

Resources

Provincial vLE - ePortfolio application

  • a feature within the vLE is an ePortfolio application

  • allows students to upload artifacts (documents, images, media, etc.), reflect, collect, present and share

  • ask school/board contact for access information

  • mobile app available to support capturing learning

  • sharing capabilities need to be monitored for student safety

  • school and board policies for sharing student work, images and creations need to be followed

How Can ePortfolio be used in K-12?

 

D2L Resource Centre

Google Sites (GAFE)

  • using a GAFE account (provided by school or board), students and teachers can create websites using the sites application

  • artifacts and reflections can be added to sites

  • ask school/board contact for access information if you have GAFE tools

  • sites can be shared openly to public, or settings can be used to ensure sites are private or protected

  • teachers should ask;

    • who can view this site? (public, private)

    • who can comment or add to this site? (public, private, small group, etc.)

  • school and board policies for sharing student work, images and creations need to be followed

Google Sites Help

OneNote (Office 365)

  • students can create OneNote notebooks as ePortfolios to archive artifacts such as files, text, images and links

  • teachers can use the OneNote Class Notebook to set up class portfolios

  • ask school/board contact for access information if you have o365 tools

  • notebooks can be shared openly to public, or settings can be used to ensure sites are private or protected

  • teachers should ask;

    • who can view this site? (public, private)

    • who can comment or add to this site? (public, private, small group, etc.)

  • school and board policies for sharing student work, images and creations need to be followed

OneNote Help

 

OneNote Class Notebook

 

4.11 Collaborations

One of the biggest drivers for using technology in the classroom is the ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with people all over the world. The most rewarding way to engage students is to provide authentic learning activities where students have voice and choice to direct their learning while collaborating with others. Creating activities that encourage this can seem overwhelming. To help, organizations have created global collaborations that are facilitated (supported by experienced educators). These collaborations provide opportunities for students to collaborate with others around the world to work towards understanding of complex social or environmental issues.

The organizations below run programs and projects that you can sign your class up for. These projects vary each year. For any project, teachers should ask the following questions to ensure safety;

  • will students be interacting with others?

  • will personal information be shared?

  • do I have parent permission?

  • have I ensured all school and board policies been met regarding sharing student work, personal information and images, collaborating with other students, etc.?

A few organizations that run facilitated global collaborations:

4.12 Interactive Lessons

As some schools are moving towards 1:1 (one device for every student) through mobile devices or “bring your own device” programs, the ability to have interactive teacher-led lessons becomes a reality. Interactive lessons and presentations can be done with every student having a device, or with students working in small groups sharing one device.

These digital tools push the content shared by the teacher (or student facilitator) out to each device. The content can be slides, similar to Powerpoint, websites or other media. The tools also allow for students to write on the screen, annotate images, answer questions, write paragraphs, etc. and send them back to the teacher. Teachers can then share student work to all student devices while students explain their thinking with the entire class.

Mathematics teachers often have students share their work when solving problems as part of a bansho, congress or gallery walk. Science teachers can use these same strategies during lessons based on solving problems. Teachers can also use this student work as a way of guiding their lessons, formative assessment, diagnostics and exit tickets.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

ClassFlow

  • free for individual teachers

  • can import SMART Notebook files

  • web-based creation of interactive presentations

  • students can join on laptop or chromebook browser or mobile app (iPad, Android, Windows)

  • features;

    • import images, files, media

    • send websites to student devices

    • send drawing and dragging polls (creative polls) to student devices

    • send files to student devices

    • general polling

  • no student accounts required in the free versions, but consider using nicknames or partial names in student roster

ClassFlow Getting Started

PearDeck

  • web-based creation of interactive presentations

  • students can join using browser on any mobile device

  • can import Google Slide files from Google Drive

  • works with Google Drive (saves files there)

  • free versions features;

    • multiple choice polling

    • sending images and slides to student devices

  • paid version features;

    • students annotate slides and send back to teacher

    • students drag icons on slides and send back

  • student Google accounts required

Getting Started with Pear Deck

Nearpod

  • web-based creation of interactive presentations

  • students can join using browser on laptops and chromebooks or mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows)

  • can import powerpoint, images, documents, links and media

  • free version features:

    • limited space

    • polling

    • can send slides and images to students

  • paid version features;

    • send websites to students

    • students can annotate slides and send back

  • students submit name as joining presentation

Nearpod Guide

4.13 Cartoons

Creating comics and cartoons can provide another method to demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts while developing literacy, creativity and communication skills. Using digital cartoon creation tools allow students who are not comfortable or overly skilled in drawing to use pre-made characters and objects to tell their story. Digital tools such as BitStrips can also be set up so that students share their creations with other students, getting feedback and collaborating on material.

For teachers, it is important to focus on the planning stage to ensure students are thinking deeply about their creation and the scientific concepts demonstrated.  

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

BitStrips

  • students commenting and sharing work with each other

Bitstrips for Schools Help

Comic Life

  • provincially licensed

  • software installed on school computers

  • teacher take-home rights

  • ask your school or board contact for information

   
 

4.14 Interactive Activities

Often the focus of technology enabled learning is that of redefining how students learn and demonstrate learning, with a focus on creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, character and citizenship. However, there are times where concept attainment can be enhanced greatly through the use of technology. In science where concepts often involve things beyond what can be seen by the naked eye, multimedia and interactive simulations can greatly help students visualize and develop understanding. Other games and simulations can help students apply that understanding to a variety of situations.

While trying to list all media, interactive simulation and games supporting scientific concept attainment is not possible, there are a few places listed in the table below to start searching.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Gizmos

  • provincially licensed for grades 7-12 (as of August 2015)

  • web-based interactive activities with teacher materials

  • students create their own logins

Ask school or board contact for information

Spongelab

  • free or pay-per-resource

  • web-based collection of interactive activities and media

  • accounts need to be created - ensure school and board policies are followed

SpongeLab Help

 

4.15 Coding

While computer science is a subject area in itself, the basic skills of using code to create animations, presentations and games can be used in any discipline. Web-based tools such as Scratch allow students and teachers to practice the basics of coding in a collaborative community. The Scratch community supports a culture of sharing and collaboration. Users can see the code of projects created by others and adapt, edit and build on it while ensuring credit goes to the original creator.

Using a tool such as Scratch to communicate and demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts can support the development of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and digital citizenship.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Scratch

  • free, web-based

  • created animations, games, presentations

  • created by MIT

  • there is a community surrounding Scratch where participants can share creations, comment on others and adapt others creations

  • accounts need to be created

Scratch Help

 

Creative Computing - teacher guide

4.16 Research Tools

Student-directed research has been an important part of science courses for a very long time. Today’s access to information and digital resources can make research much more complicated and rewarding at the same time. Students can be faced with an overwhelming amount of information and need to develop skills of filtering and managing this. On the other hand, students have access to experts and resources around the world like never before.

Working with students to use tools designed to help students research effectively can help them develop skills needed to become scientifically literate in today’s connected world. Listed below are some tools that can help students organize and manage research while tracking sources properly. These digital tools also provide a new opportunity for students to collaboratively research and share resources with others anywhere in the world.

Tool

About

Safety Considerations

Resources

Google Research Tool (GAFE)

  • works within Google Drive documents

  • supports citing resources, media, images

  • requires a Google account

  • non-school Google accounts have age limit of 13 years old

Google Research Tool Help

OneNote (Office 365)

  • note taking and sharing tool

  • extensions and OneNote Clipper can be installed on browsers/devices to clip and archive websites in OneNote

  • web-based version available on laptops and chromebooks

  • installed software version for computers

  • mobile apps available

  • OneNote notebooks can be shared

  • if not using a school O365 account, a Microsoft account is required

OneNote How To

Evernote

  • note taking and sharing tool

  • extensions and Evernote clipping tool can be installed on browsers/devices to clip and archive websites in Evernote

  • web-based version available on laptops and chromebooks

  • installed software version for computers

  • mobile apps available

  • Evernote notebooks can be shared

  • Age limit for creating accounts in 13 years old (parental or adult support required for those younger)

Evernote Help

Diigo

  • collect online resources

  • annotate websites and PDFs

  • share and make collaborative collections

  • free with limited features, or paid options

  • required to create an account - be sure terms of service and privacy policy meet school and board policies and parental permission is acquired

Tutorials and Demos

4.17 Social Media

Students use many forms of social media in their everyday life. The desire to connect with others leads to the creation of new types of social media on a regular basis. Teachers need to consider the possible negative experiences students can have while using social media before integrating these powerful tools into classroom learning. Modelling appropriate use and integrating digital citizenship lessons into class helps students develop the skills required to be good citizens online.

While keeping in mind the development of skills required to become good citizens, social media can help to connect students and teachers around the world. Teachers can use social media to connect with their class, sending updates and reminders. Social media can also be used by students in class (through a class account) to share learning from the classroom and learn from others.

Some social media tools include:

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Vine

In addition to specific school and board policies, the following guidelines have been released by teacher federations and the OCT;

4.18 Miscellaneous Web-Based Tools

The digital tools listed below are just a few of the ones available online that don’t fit into the categories reviewed in this resource. While assessing web-based and online digital tools teachers should consider the following while reviewing products:

  • will student information be shared or stored online? Check terms of service and privacy policies.

  • will students be identifiable?

  • have parents/guardians provided permission to use this digital tool?

  • will students interact with others while using this tool? If so, how are they protected?

  • what digital citizenship skills need to be reviewed before using this tool?

Tool

About

ThingLink

  • attach links and media to points on images

  • share and embed on other sides

EDpuzzle

  • add voice notes and polling interaction to videos

Kahoot

  • game show polling with students

Socrative

  • polling and online quizzing

QR Code Generator

  • create QR codes that can be printed and posted in classroom, providing a quick link to sites and digital resources

123D Circuits

  • online circuit building

 

5 Sources

Fullan, M. (2013). Great to excellent: Launching the next stage of Ontario’s education agenda. Retrieved July, 7, 2015.
edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/FullanReport_EN_07.pdf