Choosing Your Technology

The list below highlights technology tools commonly used to promote student learning across a variety of disciplines. The aim of the list is to help you:

  • identify the range of centrally supported tools, and additional tools;
  • consider the benefits of the tools that support learning;
  • reflect of the value of technology for writing, presentations, activities and collaboration.

Click on the technology type to see tips for implementation, possible pedagogical uses, a comparison of available tools, and additional related resources.

Quick help shortcuts below in alphabetical order:

Group Work Using Online Collaboration Tools

Illustrating Key Concepts and Problems Using a Lightboard

Lecture Capture

Online Discussions

Online Testing and Grading

Online Web and Video Conferencing/Chat

Online Writing

Resource and File Sharing

Screencasting

Streaming Videos

Top Hat: Student Response Systems to Engage Students


Facilitating Group Work Using Online Collaboration Tools

Online collaboration tools provide a variety of means to enhance group work.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Managing, sharing and collaborating on large files associated with group project
  • Improving group process and decision making
  • Enhancing small group discussions during lectures
  • Team-building through peer evaluation
  • Facilitating synchronous online group interactions outside of class

 

Illustrating Key Concepts and Problems Using a Lightboard

A Lightboard is part chalkboard and part projection screen that floats course content in the space between the instructor and their student audience. This device generates a kind of virtual reality that engages student learners in a way that traditional online learning platforms cannot.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Produce videos to “flip” their classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch a video lecture before class, and faculty use class time to focus on problem solving and applications of the lecture material.
  • Film tutorials for solving difficult problems or explanations of more complex topics that would otherwise take up a significant amount of class time.
  • Intuitively share their annotations to illustrate problems and processes on the same plane as other visual elements (e.g., flowcharts, diagrams, pictures).
  • Students are able to control the pace of the video; as well as view it multiple times to learn from what faculty are teaching them.

 

Lecture Capture 

Lecture Capture involves the recording of classroom activities or special events using specific software and making that recording available electronically.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Allowing students to review content that they found difficult to understand during lecture.
  • Creating recordings to be used for future students to prepare for class.
  • Archiving lectures and classroom activities for course planning.
  • Alternative for students who miss class.
  • Interdisciplinary courses can include lectures from other departments.

 

Online Discussions 

The technologies available today offer many options for encouraging, organizing, and moderating online discussions.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Whole class or small group discussion of class materials
  • Reading responses
  • Online debates
  • Brainstorming and prioritizing ideas
  • Online Q&A about class material and/or course logistics
  • Engaging in discussion with the wider community
  • Enabling students to collect, share and discuss relevant resources with each other

 

Online Web and Video Conferencing/Chat

Video conferencing, also known as web conferencing, refers to conducting a meeting between two or more participants at different sites by using computer networks to transmit synchronous audio and video.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Offer office hours to off-campus students
  • Facilitate group interaction or conduct student meetings
  • Teach class while out-of-town (e.g. attending academic conferences)
  • Team-teach with instructors at another university
  • Connect students to native speakers in language classes
  • Interview experts/guests
  • Collaborate with classes at other universities
  • Virtual “field trips”

Online Testing and Grading

Technologies like online testing and grade centers can make testing and grading more effective and more efficient for instructors and for students.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Communicate grades quickly and confidentially using an online grade center
  • Check prior knowledge and interest with pre-test
  • Help students keep up with material with weekly online quizzes.

 

Integrating Online Writing

Online writing includes any form of writing where the process of writing occurs online or the writing is shared online.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Individual or group writing assignments of any length
  • Peer review of writing assignments
  • Metacognitive reflection on writing
  • Collaborative note taking
  • Writing for the wider community
  • Individual reflective journals or portfolios

 

 


 

Resource and File Sharing 

These tools provide mechanisms for instructors and students to share artifacts among each other.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Sharing course material (e.g. readings, assignments, rubrics) with students   Sharing screencasts/lecture captures with students
  • Providing online space for students to collaborate on work and share files with each other or with the instructor

 

Screencasting

Screencasts are video recordings of the actions on one’s computer screen, including any associated audio.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Providing feedback on student work
  • Responding to classroom assessments of student learning
  • Modeling problem solving and other expert skills
  • Creating opportunities for active learning
  • Creating tutorials and other supports for students

Streaming Videos

Using video in teaching and learning has the potential to enhance student learning and educational experiences by stimulating interest in a topic, appealing to multimodal learners and providing flexibility of access to key content.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Facilitating thinking and problem solving
  • Assisting with mastery learning
  • Inspiring and engaging students
  • As an assignment, students may create their own videos to provide a meaningful way to learn about course content.

Top Hat: Student Response Systems to Engage Students

Student response system refers to technology tools that provide a way for students to interact with the instructor during instruction.

Possible Instructional Uses:

  • Assessing students’ prior knowledge and identifying misconceptions before introducing a new subject
  • Checking students’ understanding of new material
  • Starting class discussion on difficult topics
  • Using Peer Instruction and other active learning techniques
  • Administering tests and quizzes during lecture
  • Gathering feedback on teaching
  • Recording class attendance and participation

Choosing Your Technology Information adapted from: