Software Tools for Distance Learning and How to use them efficiently

Image Courtesy from SolidProfessor.com

Introduction

Distance learning has become one of the major changes in education in the year 2020. This has affected all education levels including colleges, universities, and K-12 schools which altered the traditional classroom setting.

Distance learning is an effective way for students to continue their education despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as there is still no clear time as to when the world would recover. It is of importance that educators are equipped with the proper software to deliver their student quality learning and the best possible experience in this “new normal”, so that each and every child would be able to continue learning effectively.

This article will cover the software tools educational institutions or instructors need to consider when implementing distance learning plans:

  • Learning Management System
  • Remote Desktop Software
  • Collaboration
  • Video Conferencing

Learning Management System

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Since we are observing social distancing and a lack of mass gatherings, physical classrooms and textbooks are no longer feasible. Teachers may lack a way to efficiently deliver course material to their students. Using tools under Learning Management Systems provides teachers a way to manage, deliver, and track educational content by giving online homework, exams, or lecture notes.

Popular Learning Management Systems tools include Canvas, Moodle, and Blackboard Learn.

Remote Desktop Software

Not all students have access to various tools that the school computers might make use of; this is where Remote access software comes into handy. If students are given an easy and no installation remote desktop software such as AeroAdmin, they would be able to connect the school lab’s computers from their own computer. They can run any software program on the school computers that they would need while in a remote session as if they are sitting at the school’s computer.

AeroAdmin is an easy to use and has no complicated configuration; students would simply need to run the program and they could instantly connect to the remote computers.

Collaboration

Learning remotely would almost make it almost impossible to collaborate with students at the same time, usually online activities are done individually and they would only work by themselves. Using a collaboration tool would make it possible for them to work in real-time and would be able to monitor each other’s output in real-time.

Some of the commonly used collaboration tools include MURAL and Drawp for School.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has become the new classroom for most schools. Teachers are the moderators and students are the audience. Teachers would then facilitate the lecture and/or any other teaching materials presented. This would also let students be engaged with their teachers and ask questions along the way. Video conferencing tools allow teachers and students to stay safely at home while being connected in a real-time setting such as a virtual-classroom.

The mostly used video conferencing tools by universities and schools are Google Meet and Zoom

How to use them efficiently?

Given the tools that are mostly used by educators, distance learning software is now a must-have for the “new normal” of education. 

Educators would need to learn again

 Since not all educators are tech-savvy, it would be best to gradually learn and adapt each tool that would be used on remote learning so that educators would be able to effectively use each tool. Lacking the knowledge to use these tools effectively would hinder learning not only the educators, but the students as well.

Having new tools can be overwhelming, but it is best to be open about it and learn to use these interesting tools as this would let the educator’s job as fun as it is teaching on-site.

How Educators would benefit from learning

Since it is almost 7 months since the “new normal” has been established, many educational institutions have already developed and adopted ways to make remote learning as efficient as possible by providing educators training and how they would be able to use the tools at hand. Today, many educators are a lot more creative on managing their collaboration efforts and display creativity in their use of video conferencing; students have provided positive feedback to their educators on how they were able to efficiently used each tool.

How Remote Learning Tools needs to be safe

As discussed from the previous article about cybersecurity, it is  important to ensure that distance learning tools would provide a safe means of education not only for the students, but for the educators as well.

Educators should also learn and be aware on how they are able to secure themselves from cybercriminals and be able to prevent such problems that would affect their online classes.

Feedback is always a good friend

Since all of us are beginning to adjust to the “new normal”, many habits or behavior could be noticed in remote learning. It would be best for educational institutions to be open to feedback between students and educators and vice versa. Teachers could initiate a meeting with other educators to get tips on what has worked for them ,in order to make sure this would be known by all. This would be also the best time to let other educators know what didn’t work for them and provide ways on which to improve their presentation.

Conclusion

Image courtesy from ShareMyLesson.com

Distance learning is challenging for both educators and students. However, given the tools, we could be sure that education is constantly evolving digitally. Although there are many options for apps and software on the market, it can be challenging to choose which your institution would be able to adapt to or choose. Although the “new normal” has been a sudden change for all of us, we should always consider the effort and time that our educators have given in order to adjust and teach the future generations to come.

5 Replies to “Software Tools for Distance Learning and How to use them efficiently”

  1. As an educator we used some of this tools for us to teach the children, I was not aware of some tools that was brought up here and it gave me more idea to further interact with my students.
    +1 for this article.

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