Although online training is meant to solve the boredom of classroom-based learning, this is not always the case. Why are students falling asleep even in their digital classes? Mainly because the people putting education online are still thinking in terms of classrooms & many of them find it challenging to keep an online class interactive. As said, contemporary problems require advanced solutions. Students are addicted to consuming information digitally; in that case, why not turn this problem into an opportunity & make something good out of it?

I created a list of 16 tools that schools and classrooms use to collaborate and interact on assignments, projects, and other active learning efforts.

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1. AudioNote

AudioNote combines the functionality of a notepad and voice recorder to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes. AudioNote automatically indexes your meetings, lectures, interviews, or study sessions by synchronizing notes and audio. Each note acts as a link directly to the point at which it was recorded, taking you instantly to what you want to hear. It’s the perfect app for students or businesses.

AudioNote can also convert your recordings into text – for those who prefer reading to listening.

The user interface is intuitive and straightforward; tap on the screen to record notes and audio simultaneously. Unlike other notepad apps, AudioNote automatically timestamps your notes as you type them. Once recorded, the notes are linked with the audio, so tapping on a note will take you directly to that point in the recording. This lets you quickly review essential points in your lectures or meetings with just one tap!

AudioNote also lets you record multiple sessions (or chapters) in one note so that each chapter is easily identifiable and accessible through a drop-down menu. As a bonus, AudioNote can also display PowerPoint slides while recording if they are placed under the camera lens before starting a recording session.

2. AnswerGarden

AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. It is a feature for those interested in using an easy and powerful way to get brief feedback from a group. Use it for real-time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback. It also allows you to create, share & manage content.

AnswerGarden does not require registration or login. Open the AnswerGarden website and start getting feedback!
The results of the AnswerGarden can be saved and exported as an image or Wordle. The feedback you receive will be shown as a word cloud. The words used most frequently are displayed prominently. You can click on the words to see who wrote them or use the search function to see how often participants used certain words.

3. Backchannel Chat

Backchannel Chat is a class discussion tool that was designed to support teachers. Backchannels are great for increasing participation in classroom discussions and informal assessing students’ knowledge. The Teacher can control all aspects of the discussion. They can remove messages and prevent students from posting. If the pace of the discussion is overwhelming and key messages are lost, they can take control and lock the room so that only you can add content.

The following are some ways teachers use Backchannel Chat in their classrooms:

  1. Polling student understanding
  2. Gathering data in observation
  3. Supporting students with special needs
  4. Supporting English language learners
  5. Supporting open-ended questioning
  6. Providing a platform for silent students
  7. Engaging students in big ideas and concepts
  8. Collaborative discussions
  9. Promoting student engagement through peer collaboration
  10. Promoting deep thinking and reflection

4. Biblionasium

Biblionasium is a student-appropriate good-read, connecting kids to books and parents, classmates, and teachers. It can be used to keep track of students’ reading progress

or to create contests and rewards based on how many books they’ve read. Students can write reviews and recommend books. It’s also a great place to source discussion opportunities; if students seem to love a particular book and have strong opinions about it, it helps bring that enthusiasm into the classroom.

A social network for kids who love books? Yes, please! Biblionasium is a book review site specifically designed for young readers. From the publisher: “Biblionasium provides a safe place for children ages 8–12 to share their reading lives and get recommendations from their friends and like-minded peers. Readers build their library catalogues; keep track of what they’ve read, are currently reading, and want to read; write reviews; create collections (called “shelfies”); give book recommendations; talk about characters; share achievements and awards; post photos of their favourite books; follow their friends; and more!”

5. Buncee

Buncee is a creation and presentation tool for students and educators to create interactive classroom content, allowing learners of all ages to visualize concepts and communicate creatively. It is a web-based tool available on the freemium model, and it helps create interactive presentation slides. The slides are designed with internal suggestions and external information.

With the help of Buncee, students can easily convey their ideas in front of others. It also enables them to express their creativity using various tools like drawing, pictures, or videos. Moreover, it allows them to upload images from different sources like Google image search, Flickr, camera roll or webcam. They can also use stickers of different themes like winter, Halloween, or Christmas to add fun factors to their presentations.

Buncee has gained popularity among its users due to its impressive features like easy navigation, simple interface and real-time collaboration. Moreover, its drag & drop feature saves time while creating digital content for school projects or class assignments. Besides that, it supports more than 20 languages, including French, Japanese and Chinese, for the convenience of international users. The users can also share their presentations with other viewers via email from their Buncee account. It is a free

6. Chatzy

Chatzy aims to be an alternative to other social networking sites and messaging apps like Facebook and Skype. It allows educators to create private chat rooms for class discussions.

Chatzy is a website designed to facilitate online discussion among students. Teachers can use Chatzy to set up private chat rooms for class discussions, where teachers can monitor student participation in real-time. In a world where many students use texting as a primary means of communication with their friends, Chatzy is an excellent tool for engaging them in educational conversations. Chatzy lets you create your chat room and set it up however you want. It’s easy to use, and the site is free.

7. Coggle

Coggle provides a collaborative editing environment for group-based learning and discussion.

Coggle is a tool that helps produce beautiful mind maps quickly and easily. Mind maps help you to brainstorm, take notes or work through complex problems. They are a visual way of taking notes and making connections between ideas, images and words.
Whether you are taking notes, brainstorming, planning, or doing something awesomely creative, it is super simple to visualize your ideas. It’s a web-based application that runs in most browsers and devices. Coggle works offline, so there’s no need to worry about disconnecting from the Internet. Coggle is free for personal use and has a premium version for businesses who want more functionality, such as unlimited collaborators and private diagrams.

8. Dotstorming

Dotstorming allows people to easily collaborate on a topic and make decisions as a group. It uses dot voting, a quick and straightforward method for prioritizing a list of options. It creates a sense of engagement and allows participants to see the decision process in action and understand how the final choice was made.

The basic idea behind Dotstorming is that you create a new storm, write down the topic then add options. Participants are given dots (votes) that they can use to vote on the options based on their order of preference. At the end of the Dotstorming session, participants can see the results in real-time and discuss what comes next.

9. Edulastic

Edulastic is an online assessment making tool for teachers. It allows teachers to make their assessments and assignments in common standardized test formats or choose from an assessment library. It monitors student achievement on these assessments and reports progress back to teachers to track students’ understanding of the Common Core curriculum.
Edulastic is an excellent tool for teachers to use for formative and summative assessments. These are the two types of assessment that teachers can use to monitor student learning in the classroom. On Edulastic, you can create and print your quizzes, tests, and exams, or you can use our library of pre-made assessments that correlate with common core standards. Both options come with automatic grading, so you don’t have to grade everything by hand!

10. Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a simple, free, and accessible video discussion experience used by millions of PreK to PhD learners, educators, and families worldwide. Flipgrid amplifies students’ voices and empowers learners of all ages to engage and share using the power of video. Educators create and share discussion Topics with their learning communities. Learners download the app, enter their unique Join Code, and record short videos to share.
The possibilities for video discussions in education are endless: from formative assessment to ice breaker questions to whole-class discussions. Flipgrid helps all educators create deeper conversations, accelerate learning outcomes, and build an inclusive community with modern video communication tools that are fun, easy to use, and familiar.
With Flipgrid, educators can:

  • Encourages students to express their creativity in a low-stakes environment.
  • Incorporates various teaching practices such as problem-based learning, Project-Based Learning (PBL), flipped instruction, and more!
  • It makes classroom discussions inclusive for all by allowing students to participate at their own pace.

Check out some Flipgrid basics to get started!

11. ForAllRubrics

The Internet is filled with a glorious abundance of content. Today, students and teachers have access to more information and learning materials than ever before but are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices. ForAllRubrics is a free, convenient tool for teachers who don’t have a comprehensive learning management system available. Teachers can use the site to personalize learning by tailoring rubrics to specific skills and standards and can also help students see improvements over time by having them create digital portfolios; using the built-in ForAllBadges feature can motivate students & teachers.

ForAllRubric works with any content, any standard and is device agnostic. The website does not require downloading or installing software, and it works on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Teachers can use the site to quickly create rubrics or search through thousands of user-created rubrics from around the world. Rubrics can be used in various ways: they can be shared with other educators (think common core), used as scoring guides during assessment or even as checklists for student activities.

Students have access to their accounts where they can upload their work and view feedback from teachers on each assignment; this allows them to reflect on assignments and set goals.

12. Piazza

Piazza is the leading social learning platform in education, used by tens of thousands of instructors to answer students’ questions efficiently. Piazza engages students and promotes answering classmates’ questions in a private, secure, centralized location.

Instructors love Piazza because they can quickly answer students’ questions and communicate by emailing the entire class or posting an announcement. Students love Piazza because they can get help quickly from their instructor and peers without waiting for an office hours appointment or visiting the Teaching assistant’s office. By leveraging the Piazza platform, instructors save up to 40 hours per course per semester, allowing them to spend more time on teaching and less time answering student emails. As a result, instructors can spend more time helping those students who need it most.

The platform also encourages peer-to-peer interaction, as students can answer each other’s questions before turning to the instructor for guidance. This creates a truly collaborative learning environment where the entire class can benefit from the discussions.

13. QuizStar

QuizStar is a free, online quiz maker application that allows one to manage online virtual classes, create and assign online quizzes for class tests, and generate reports of quiz scores and student performance online for evaluation purposes. QuizStar also provides an open access repository for student-created quizzes. QuizStar was developed by the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan in 2001 with funding from a private donor.
In its original form, QuizStar intended to provide a way for teachers to allow students to take quizzes over the Internet. However, over time QuizStar has evolved into an assessment tool for educators and a repository of user-created quizzes that can be used by any course or instructor who wishes to use them.

14. Tellagami

Tellagami is an animation app that lets us create and share a quick animated video which can be an exciting tweet or status update. It can be a fun way to tell a story. In online learning, a video can be helpful but may not work for everyone. With Tellagami, a teacher can create a personalized virtual avatar and make it talk about a concept. The student will be able to see the teacher's expression and body language, which is not possible with just plain text. We can customize an avatar, record your voice, add background music, and even your photos and backgrounds. The user can also share their creation on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The exciting thing about Tellagami is it’s easy to use and can be used by anyone. You don’t need anything except the app, device, and imagination.

It will take you less than a minute to create an animated video on Tellagami and publish it on YouTube or save it in your camera roll.

15. Visme

Visme is an app that transforms the way one creates & shares engaging Presentations, Infographics and other visual formats. Visme is widely used as a content creation tool to tell and present their stories and translate boring data into exciting Visuals.

  • Visme is an online tool that enables users to create presentations, infographics, animated videos, reports, interactive content and more. Users can choose from pre-designed templates, or they can start from scratch. Advanced users can even upload custom HTML.
  • Visme is a great storytelling tool that allows you to add interactive elements to your content and share it engagingly. It’s very easy to use yet powerful enough to meet the needs of designers, marketers and teachers.
  • Visme has a lot of assets to offer that are useful for online classes. One great asset is the website's built-in ability to animate charts, infographics and graphs, which can be used to add interest and interactivity to any presentation.

The 'Education' category has a lot of free options that are perfect for online learning. As well as the animation option, Visme has a huge collection of beautiful templates designed for any occasion. Many templates have embedded widgets that can be used to display things like class schedules, school calendars and data visualizations.
These animations and templates can really improve how students engage with your content, allowing them to make more sense of it in a fun way. You can also create presentations directly from within Visme without having to download anything or log in anywhere else, making it easy and convenient for you as well as your students.
Visme offers a free plan with limited features monthly subscription plans starting at $4/month for students, teachers and nonprofits.

16. Voice thread

Voice Thread’s software allows students and teachers to voice record during the presentations or on slides while explaining diagrams or pictures. It helps students to collaborate and start a new discussion.

The process of teaching and learning can be done anywhere, anytime, as long as they have an internet connection. It also enables students with special needs to be involved in discussions that they usually would not have been able to participate in.
Students can also use this software by doing group work. They can create their group and set up topics for discussion within the group, which is an excellent way of learning about a subject in depth. Educational institutions can use this tool to share student projects, give feedback to students, and create discussion boards with other teachers around the world.

Conclusion

There are many tools available for online collaboration, some of which are free and others with levels of functionality starting at free and then adding additional capabilities through paid options. These tools deliver a wide array of functionality, from communication to collaborative document editing, whiteboards, and gaming, to full Learning Management System capabilities.

This rich set of free tools can provide an endless array of collaborative & interactive classwork for years to come. These tools offer great functionality and can be used in many different class settings. We hope that the above list has inspired you to try out a few of these tools and allow you to develop relationships with your students while at the same time improving their knowledge. You are also welcome to share your personal experiences and insights with us.

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