MCMI — Discussion of Platforms and Tools for Distance Learning

|||MCMI — Discussion of Platforms and Tools for Distance Learning

MCMI — Discussion of Platforms and Tools for Distance Learning

MCMI hosted a series of grade band meetings to discuss the challenges and explore some solutions to distance learning. The conversation focused on creating a digital home base and two-way communication with students. Below is a list of some of the platforms and tools being used by teachers. Many of the platforms have a free version or are currently offering a free version during the COVID-19 period. Check the terms and conditions as the situation is evolving.

**Ensure that your district or school has approved the platform that you are using.

Platform or ToolAdvantagesChallenges
Class DojoCan be used for quick individual and whole-class communication. Allows users to upload videos, pictures, links, etc. There is a class story that everyone (including parents) in the class can see (like Facebook feed) Parents can set up their own account and upload videos and pictures, as well as communicate directly with the teacher.  They can see students’ progress over time. Videos on perseverance, mindsets, and PBIS. Has a reminder feature to link to different sites/share our learning for the day. Can access through phone Free version.Some see tracking points as negative reinforcement   Teacher directed   Parents need to be educated — need training sessions
ClasskickFree version — limited assignments Allows teacher to create assignments Can pop in whatever you want and push out to students Teacher can see all of the students’ work and write on their slides Can use synchronous or asynchronous instruction Can add in links and provide feedback to students on their work Free version 
Desmos                  Desmos provides 3 main resources for teachers, Calculators, Classroom activities  and Learn Desmos video resources.  Demos is accessible on computers, tablets, and some phones. Teachers can search on Desmos for a classroom activity by creating a free teacher account.   
Starting a Desmos ActivityGo to Starting a Desmos Activity for how to use and create  classroom activities. You select an activity, create a class code, where students go to and enter the code or you can broadcast the link in a different platform. The code remains active until the teacher archives it.   During a Classroom activity, teachers can pause an activity for everyoneanonymize and pace screen access view student work   Visit the Desmos blog, Facebook page or #desmos Here are some of the newest features for teachers: provide written feedback to studentsshare a teacher login to a co-teacheruse Desmos created starter screens when making your own activities. Free 
EdPuzzleTeachers can see all of their videos and monitor who watches the video Can upload premade videos or create your own Ed Puzzle – can upload up to 15 videos Video has to be no more than 10 minutes Free version 
EmailSimple, probably already have access Can access from a phone Students can easily respond to studentsNeed an email address and it needs to be checked. Challenging to organize email responses from students.
FlipgridCan upload videos Has a whiteboard feature Students can respond with their own videos and post comments to each other It’s simple for primary kids to use (1st grade) Free version 
Google Drive   How to use Google Drive…Anyone can sign up for and use. Great for sharing.Individuals can delete if not careful (need to limit access).
Google Classroom     Google Forms   Google MeetPowerful platform. Don’t need to be in the classroom to be in hangouts.  Can create assignments in and assign work, and all students don’t have to get the same assignment. Can post a Problem of the Month and give students a week to complete it.  Can make copies of the same document for each student to work on individually. Can use Google Forms for assessment. Here is a sample form made for G6–12 teachers Can use Google Meets with teachers for meetings. All documents and student work posted/created save automatically to teacher’s Google Drive -Can link to outside resources -The teacher can share different modes of presentation for reviewing skills (i.e., post a question, video, and pdf) so the learner can have a choice of how to learn/review the skill. Can access from phone.   Components are free.Already need to be proficient; high learning curve   Students would need to be taught how to use it ahead of time   Need a school Gmail account to use G-Suites
SchoologyCollaborative learning platform   
ScreencastifyCreate quick video lessons by recording your voice and screen, using webcam, can send a weekly greeting Free Code for unlimited recording CAST_COVID 
SeeSawCan use SeeSaw to communicate with students, often at K–5. A number of activities are premade. There are tutorials on the SeeSaw web site.   Free version available. 
SocrativeCan be used to implement assessments including checks for understanding and quizzes 
ZoomCan be used for synchronous sessions and create whole group and breakout rooms for small groups to discuss/work together within a larger zoom call   Presenters and participants can share their screens. All participants can see each other at the same time with different views, such as gallery view (see all participants at once) and speaker view (zoom in on the speaker).   Can share links to documents/slides for students to work on in small groups as well as links to outside resources   How To Videos   NCTM Zoom Webinar   Free versionSome districts are not allowing teachers to use Zoom
Collaborative White boards   Bitpaper   Miro   Stormboard        Top 11 whiteboards article   Free versions   

Additional Links

Illinois State Board of Education

Remote Learning Recommendations, March 27, 2020


ISBE Continuing Education Resources

Helpful Articles

We’re Only Getting Out of This Together by Dan Meyer, March 24, 2020

4 Tips for Teachers Shifting to Teaching Online: An educator with experience in distance learning shares what he’s learned: Keep it simple, and build in as much contact as possible by Kareem Farah, March, 2020

2020-04-13T13:58:41-05:00 April 13th, 2020|COVID-19 Distance Learning|