Educators can access free online resources to improve students’ engagement when learning online during the pandemic.
Covid-19 has created a new normal for daily life. Its emergence has forced everyone to adapt, especially teachers who are training the next generation.
The shift from in-classroom teaching to digital learning has been a rapid response to the crisis. However, educators encounter unprecedented challenges through online teaching, as the ability to assess students’ performance and improvement is restricted.
Compared to online classes, educators working in classrooms have more control over teamwork activities or learning through play. Hence, many students prefer in-classroom teaching as there is more face-to-face interaction.
Educators who can utilise free online resources, however, stand to make their teaching more engaging. Digital classrooms can sometimes become unmotivating because it is more a platform for students to listen, rather than engage. However, educators can design their online classes with fun activities through applications, some of which Focus has detailed below.
Created in 2012, Lightsail is a literature resource website, offering books on various topics for K-12 students. Teachers and students can access documents and books from the website which also allows teachers to assess students’ reading through exercises or questions – teachers can also provide instant feedback to students.
Created in the same year as Lightsail, Kahoot is an educational games website. Educators can design a game in the form of quizzes or questions based on lessons they have done with students. Educators can then use Kahoot to design questions on various topics such as science, history, maths and literature. Kahoot’s founder believes in learning through fun, as it keeps students engaged and curious.
Khan Academy was created in 2008 by Salman Khan, with the aim to assist students in learning from wherever they are. The website offers exercises and simple teaching videos on maths, science, computing and history. Khan Academy also allows students to download SAT preparation handouts, which is a standardized test at American high school level. Educators worldwide can access the information and lessons for their students,, on top of what is included in the textbook.
Schoology is a social media and online platform for K-12, through to higher education students. The website allows users to create and share content online and educators can use Schoology to manage their classes. It has a function to help track students’ attendance records, mark papers, conduct examinations and post questions or homework. Schoology will also send notifications and information about the classes.
Smilebox was launched in 2015, allowing users to create slideshows for lessons in a convenient manner. Educators can choose a variety of pictures, templates, songs or content while invitations can also be designed on Smilebox, such as eCards, collages and flyers.
Launched in 2003, Engrade is a website providing classroom monitoring functions, such as attendance sheets, score records, calendars, seating arrangements and students’ behavioral observations. Educators can also download lesson plans for teaching material prepared by fellow educators.
Quizizz provides educational games on a variety of topics, and educators can also propose their own questions, which relate back to previous lessons. The website helps ease teachers’ workload, as Quizizz has the ability to tell them their students’ strengths and weaknesses through their answers. Quizizz will then analyze what is needed to help their students improve.
Officially launched in 2012, Nearpod allows educators and teachers to produce creative and engaging powerpoints. With the ability to include short questions, polls, video clips, pictures, boards and lesson content from other websites – Nearpod gives educators the chance to engage their students with captivating slideshows.
Baamboozle is a customizable educational gaming website. Different from Kahoot, Bamboozle covers various topics, designed to strengthen students’ knowledge, and it also has a function allowing you to design your own game. The game can be played in teams, which creates a sense of collaboration.
Remind allows educators to reach out and engage families, or share resources with students and other teachers. The application alerts students with notifications, so it is unlikely that students will miss a message. Students will also receive a reminder message to do homework on Saturdays and Sundays – so no more excuses for missed or forgotten work!