Friday, March 4, 2016

How to Choose Tools to Use in an Online Course

As an online instructor, it is sometimes difficult to know which tools to chose/use to best enhance online instruction. There are so many to choose from and it is difficult to know which ones will actually do what you expect them to do. How do you choose? I set about trying to find an answer. Of course there are so many "answers" to this question that I found myself spending a lot of time trying to figure it out.

The LMS you use may have some great tools--like discussion boards/forums, journals, a way to submit assignments directly online, chat features, video and audio options. But what if it doesn't have the exact tool you need to enhance/enrich the online experience for your content and your students? There are some things you need to consider when trying to select the best ed-tech tool for your course.

A blog post called "How to choose the best Ed-Tech tools for Online Instruction" by Debbie Morrison, 2012, has some examples, reasons to use ed-tech tools, and a 5-step Ed-Tech integration strategy that is well worth reading and digesting. 

"The ultimate goal of the 5 step Ed-Tech Strategy is to act as a guide for educators in order that their courses are kept current and relevant by using emerging technology, yet at the same time ensuring that the instruction continues to be effective so that students are learning the content."
Education Week also has some great resources for finding tools to use with students online.

Five Tools and Tips for Working with Students Online
When is an Educational App Classroom Worthy?
The following resource has a listing of 10 free to use technology tools. You may be already using some of them. The author, Lara EnglishHIll, has divided them into two groups--Teacher Tools and Student Tools.
My Holiday Gift to Teachers: My Top 10 List of Free Educational Technology Tools
What is your favorite ed-tech tool to use in an online environment?

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

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