Free Tools and Resources for Online Teaching
As a response to the spread COVID-19, a number of countries have required schools to quickly shift from face-to-face lessons to emergency remote teaching. Although this could seem like a daunting task for teachers, several online tools and resources can ease the transition and ensure students are still getting a quality education. All the tools mentioned here have been featured in European Schoolnet Academy MOOCs – and just like the MOOCs themselves, they are free and open to anyone.
A good place to start are online quiz tools that allow you to remotely assess the progress of your students and at the same time add an element of fun and competition to their work. Kahoot, for example, is a quiz tool that allows you to involve all students at the same time in a competitive quiz, possibly as part of a video-conference, but it also offers students the option to play the quiz in their own time, giving the maximum amount of flexibility.
During this period it is crucial to get your students to work together on assignments. This can be achieved with a range of online collaboration tools available. Google Documents, for example, is a simple online word processing tool that allows students to work simultaneously on an assignment. As a teacher you can then use the revision history to analyse how a piece of writing has been built up over time and provide instant feedback to your students.
STEM teachers should make sure to check out the Go-Lab ecosystem, which consists of the Go-Lab Sharing and Support platform (Golabz) and the authoring and learning platform (Graasp). Golabz hosts a large collection of free remote and virtual laboratories (“labs”), shared by renowned research institutions and technology providers from all over the world. These online labs allow students to conduct scientific experiments in a virtual environment.
Furthermore, they offer multiple web applications (“apps”), supporting students in their inquiry-based learning activities and supporting teachers in the preparation, implementation, and monitoring of these activities. Finally, teachers can browse and use Inquiry Learning Spaces (“spaces”). They can benefit from ready-to-use scenarios available for different subjects and in different languages.
You can find step-by-step guides on how to use the Go-lab ecosystem and exemplary Inquiry Learning Spaces in the Teaching ICT with Inquiry MOOC.
If you are in search of an online repository to use in your teaching, look no further: Europeana is an online repository with over 58 million cultural heritage items from around 4,000 institutions across Europe. With the Europeana online collections, your students can go on a virtual field trip and learn more about history, geography, music, art and more.
In addition to the Resources for teachers, you can join the Europeana Education community and exchange best practices with your peers. If you want to learn how to create a lesson plan incorporating Europeana resources, then you are still in time to enrol on the “Europeana in your classroom” MOOCs, available in French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Alternatively, if you do not speak any of these languages, you can visit the “Europeana in your classroom” MOOC in English.
With teaching and learning moving online, an important to remember good practices about creating, sharing, and adapting online content and the online safety of our students. A great resource addressing copyright, plagiarism and other rights and responsibilities we have online is the Web We Want Handbook. It provides a range of resources for both teachers and young people.
On the Better Internet for Kids portal you will find resources and videos on many aspects of online safety across all EU languages. For more guidance and resources on these topics as well as an Online Safety ICT Tools Repository with almost 500 entries shared by the course participants, check out the Online Safety MOOC.
Making it interesting
Lastly, if you find it hard to motivate your students, consider adding a gamification aspect to your online classes. Gamification makes use of gaming systems, such as badges, points and levels, to improve the learner’s motivation. Using digital badges is a concrete form of gamification, which is also why we offers digital badges to learners who successfully finish our MOOCs. Learners can place the badges on their online profiles or import them into their online backpack. We use Badgr for this, but there are many more providers of digital badges. You can find out more about how to use them in your emergency remote teaching in the Games in Schools MOOC.
What are your recommendations for free online tools and resources? Let us know in the comment section below.