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Category: Technology

Free handbook

Free handbook

Richard Byrne has updated his free Practical Ed Tech Handbook for 2018. For many years, Richard has created and curated a wealth of teaching resources and made them freely available through his blog Free Technology for Teachers and other online platforms. If I was stranded on a desert island, this would be my go-to source of technology for pedagogy. It’s aimed at school teachers but meh…good pedagogical praxis is universal.

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing

Skype is often the goto application for videoconferencing (Google Hangouts is also great) but there are alternatives. Zoom is a free, easy to use cross-platform application that prompts recipients to download a small app, although you can just use their web client, albeit with reduced functionality. You can also record up to 40 minutes and download the MP4, host up to 50 participants,  and hold an unlimited number of meetings. You can also videoconference people via the popular Facebook messenger platform through…

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Evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice

Annotated bibliographies are things of beauty for anyone undertaking scholarly works. The Science of Learning – brought to you by the Deans for Impact, this short fact-filled document provides not only a summary of recent (to 2015) research in cognitive science but also packages it around six key questions all educators will find useful. They even pooh pooh some common misconceptions about how students learn and think, including the oft-cited ‘students have different learning styles’ trope. Should you add a talking head…

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ePortfolios

ePortfolios

ePortfolios with Google Apps – Helen Barrett’s extensive guide to using Google sites to create your own personal online ePortfolio. You can also make your LinkedIn page your professional online presence (although you are then restricted to their design and control), or create your own website – Weebly has some portfolio themes and intuitive drag & drop tools.

Creating online resources

Creating online resources

There is always a tension between using your institution’s learning management system (LMS – like Blackboard or Moodle) and using ‘external’ channels (like Facebook or Youtube). The tools associated with the LMS will generate useful analytics for how students are using the materials you provide, and also provide a single login point for students. They are generally considered ‘safe’ spaces with central support. However there is something to be said for using platforms that are ‘in the wild’, preparing students…

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Animations

Animations

Animator – create unlimited 2 minute animations for free. Drag and drop, easy to use. You can also upload your own characters. Mysimpleshow – free for limited function but still fab – fill in the storyboard template, edit the visualisations (upload your own images if you want), and Mysimpleshow will produce a (robotically) narrated animation complete with sweeping hand transition. The novelty of the presentation type will wear off quickly but fantastic for limited use. Or upgrade for more choice. Moovly – Online…

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3D printing and design

3D printing and design

With the increasing affordability of 3D printers, there are some great free online software options that offer 3D design and downloads. Tinkercad is extremely user friendly and you don’t need to know CAD – it comes with built in tutorials and shared resources. Sketchup Make has been around in some form since 1999, having been acquired by Google for a few years and now Trimble – free downloadable software that allows you to draw a 2D model and then push and…

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Graphic design

Graphic design

Whilst random decorative images can add to the students’ cognitive load and are not recommended, relevant graphics have been shown to improve learner engagement with materials. Zygomatic produces several tools that are all incredibly simple to use, useful, free, and online: Typography Editor – Create your own designs with backgrounds (or upload your own), badges, borders, rulers, frames, corners, and other ornaments; add text in a variety of fonts with backdrops and shadows. For PC or mobile interface. Image can be…

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Augmented reality

Augmented reality

Augmented reality can spice up your content presentation by linking real world ‘trigger’ images to online content. This is not the same as Virtual Reality which creates a complete world of its own that immerses the student. The impact of these technologies on all aspects of our lives will be huge. Fortunately there are ways to start introducing them into your teaching even if you have only a passing interest in how it all works. Aurasma is an easy to…

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Working with wikis

Working with wikis

Wikis are a simple way for people to work together on a project without sending oodles of emails back and forth. They provide a platform for drafting and editing of documents, and tracking of individual contributions. Wikispaces provides a free 5G account for educators, although file sizes are limited to 50mb.