Our Favorite Remote Learning Tools for Educators
As a result of school shutdowns due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we’ve received a lot of inquiries on the best way for educators to use Everyday Speech in a remote learning environment.
Because our curriculum is completely digital, it’s a great fit for remote learning. If you’re interested in learning more about using Everyday Speech in a remote environment, check out this post.
A remote team ourselves, there are some tools we use on a daily basis that augment our curriculum very well and translate to a remote learning environment. In this post, we’ll go over some of our favorites.
Note: We have no relationship with any of these companies – we just like their tools!
Zoom Video Conferencing
Note: We previously recommended Zoom because of their great screensharing capabilities, and the ease of running telepractice sessions. However, we have learned their basic plans are not HIPAA compliant. They do offer HIPAA compliant plans, but those come at a cost. If you do not need HIPAA compliance or are a larger school district or organization, Zoom is a still a great choice.
Zoom is a HIPAA compliant video conferencing service. Using their desktop application, you can easily send your students a link which will allow them to join your video conference from any computer, tablet, or phone.
We recommend having students use their desktop version if possible, as it may hold student’s focus better than a phone or tablet.
Using Zoom, you can ‘share your screen,’ meaning the person on the other end of the video conference will see what’s on your computer. One of the best features that Zoom has is Share Computer Sound:
That means if you play an Everyday Speech video or game on your computer, the sound from the video or game will come through clearly for the student as well.
Zoom also has the ability to annotate, or draw on the screen if you’re screen sharing.
Finally, Zoom also has the ability to hand over mouse and keyboard controls to the person on the other end of the video conference:
If you’re playing a game or using an interactive worksheet, you could allow your students to control the mouse and manage the activity on their end. You can still control the mouse from your end and always revoke access if needed.
With the ability to share computer sound, annotate, and control the mouse remotely, Zoom is a great fit for using Everyday Speech materials.
Pricing is dependent on size of your district. To learn more, visit Zoom for Education.
Kami – Document Markup
Kami is a document markup and annotation tool. Many documents on the web, including all Everyday Speech activities and companion worksheets come in a PDF format, which isn’t easy to modify.
Using Kami, you can write text, draw on, and otherwise mark up PDFs. For example, if you want a student to complete a video companion worksheet, they can open it in Kami and circle the main character, type their answers, or draw what emotion a character is feeling.
Kami is available as an extension for Google Chrome and integrates with Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Canvas. You can also open files from your computer.
In response to COVID-19, Kami is offering their premium plan for free to qualifying educators, through at least April 30th, 2020.
Loom – Screen Recording and Sharing
If you’ve watched any of the videos in this post, then you’re already familiar with Loom. As a screen recording software, Loom allows you to record what’s on your computer screen and narrate over it.
We’d recommend using Loom to create recaps of assignments that you’re sending home to parents, or to outline directions. Rather than having to write a wall of text, or list complicated directions, you can simply show parents what to do using Loom. You’d be amazed at how much more digestible a 30 second video is than an email.
As soon as you finish your screen recording, Loom generates a link to the video that you can just drop in an email to parents, or include in your learning management system.
In response to COVID-19, Loom has made their premium plan free to any educator or student.
Wrapping Up, More Resources
In addition to the tools listed above, the website Amazing Educational Resources has an ever-expanding list of tools that are free or discounted due to the shutdown. They also have a Facebook group where you can ask questions to the community.
Hope this helped! Thank you from the Everyday Speech team for continuing to provide your incredibly valuable, needed services during this strange time. Stay safe!