Success in the distance learning field requires having the right tools. Regardless of whether your school is seeking to utilize a synchronous learning environment or an asynchronous learning environment, finding the right tools is a must. Let’s take a closer look at some of the widely used tools from both synchronous and asynchronous learning category.
There are various synchronous learning tools available online to help students and educators build connections in an online setting. Many of these tools have free versions or cost-effective options that promote motivation and community in an environment where immediate feedback is essential.
Synchronous Learning Tools:
- Zoom: Zoom can be a great beginner tool for students who are not used to online learning.
They can easily download the application and have a synchronous conversation via video chat and audio chat. There are some free features; for more info, visit https://zoom.us
- Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts enables educators to set up online office hours so students can initiate video calls. It is free of charge for anyone to use. For more info, visit https://hangouts.google.com/
- Lumos StepUp: A proven digital learning program developed by expert teachers which also supports online video classes and interactive quizzes to help the educators teach in a synchronous environment. For trials and free access, visit: www.lumoslearning.com/distance-learning
- WizIQ: A learning management system which can be used by educators to deliver live and self-paced courses online. A free trial and pricing for this tool can be viewed at https://www.wiziq.com/
- Twitter: Some educational organizations have found that using Twitter Q&A is an effective way for students to have live conversations with their teachers. Using a centralized hash tag, educators and students can correspond back and forth at a pre-specified time. More info is available at www.twitter.com
- WhatsApp: A free instant messaging application that provides video, audio, and texting conferencing components, allowing teachers and students to reach each other. WhatsApp can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
Asynchronous learning tools give students greater control on their learning.
The tools shown below are convenient, highly interactive, and allow learners to move at their own pace. Some of these tools are available for free.
Asynchronous Learning Tools:
- Flipgrid: This remote learning tool allows educators to post video prompts. Students can respond and view their classmates´ responses. This video tool is free for educators and allows a convenient way for everyone to interact on their schedule. For more info, visit https://info.flipgrid.com/.
- Lumos Learning: Lumos StepUp provides skills mastery, targeted remedial practice and guided practice for self-paced learning. The empathetic learning program is powered by AI & ML to provide personalized recommendation for every student. To request a free demo or to run a free pilot, visit: www.lumoslearning.com/digital-learning
- StudyStack: This tool allows teachers and students to create and share flashcards. Presented in an interactive format, reviewing essential vocabulary or, and Once the call is complete, they can exit. For more info about this free tool, please visit www.studystack.com.
- ClassFlow: This lesson delivery software is hosted in the cloud. It provides a collaborative and interactive platform for educators and students. Free accounts can be created at https://prod.classflow.com/classflow/#!/register.
- MindMeister: This tool allows students and educators to view and generate notes, brainstorming, and collaborative endeavours. To check out pricing or more info, visit https://www.mindmeister.com/.
- Google Classroom: This tool provided by Google makes creating, distributing, and grading assignments simpler. For a free account, visit www.classroom.google.com.
Finding the right combination of tools for the distance education classroom can be a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Look for the tools that offer the desired features and how those features will meet the needs of the student population. If choosing between asynchronous or synchronous learning seems unclear, check out our other article that differentiates between the tools for different learning settings.