Tech Tools to Connect with Students

Hey teachers,

I know there is a lot going on in the world right now.  I hope you are well.

As the coronavirus situation rapidly evolves and our school systems are making plans to support student learning, I’ve been thinking about how I can help.   Although we are not yet sure here in Manitoba what exactly the next few weeks will look like, I know that many of you are looking for ways to stay connected with students who are away from school.   For those students fortunate enough to have access to a device and internet, there are some technology tools that may prove useful at this time.  (I do realize that not every student will have access, not every student will have time or a situation conducive to learning at home.  However, in hopes that these tools might help some students and teachers, I’d like to share them.)

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These are great tools that I use in classrooms regularly.  Students can use them to document and share learning, communicate with their teachers and complete learning activities.  They are available for free and I’ve found them to be user-friendly.

(1) SeeSaw – This tool allows students to complete learning activities, document learning with pictures, videos, text and inking annotations.  Whether teachers share learning activities here or students just post some documentation of their learning, this tool has potential to be useful for learning at home.  This is an option that works well even for your youngest learners.

(2) Google Suite for Education – This suite of tools allows students to document learning and communicate with teachers and peers.  You can distribute learning activities online and students can submit their work through the Google Classroom app.  Google Docs gives students a word processor, Slides is a presentation creator, Sheets is a spreadsheet tool and Gmail is the email provider.  Video calling tools such as Google Hangouts may also be helpful for maintaining connections.

(3) Microsoft Office 365 – The Office suite of tools is another option that many students and teachers have access to through their school division.  Using OneNote digital binders and Teams for communication, students can access learning activities and communicate with others.  Teams also offers video calling to stay in touch.

(4)Flipgrid– You can create prompts and questions for students to respond to with video.  It’s fun and a great way to share learning and connect with peers.

I know these tools are not the solution for everyone, but hopefully this helps some teachers and students in some way.  I know that there are many educators working together to collect resources and support students’ learning, so if tech-based solutions are not an option for you, please know that there are many other resources out there!

Let’s continue help and support each other at this difficult time.

Take care.  Stay positive.  Support those around you.

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About mrsobach

Educator in rural Manitoba, Canada. Co-Founder of KG Education. Passionate about teaching and learning. Committed to inspiring and supporting educators with teaching, technology and teacher wellness.
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