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5 Most Effective Digital Tools used by Special Educators
We are aware of how the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic created an immediate and unprecedented challenge to the special educators. As a result of this, the concept of education and the teaching and learning process changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching was undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
Traditional teaching methods went through a transformation to adapt to the needs of 21st-century students. Grabbing students’ attention and keeping them active during the class was indeed a challenge, but when classes became more interactive, fun, and educative at the same time, learners began to enjoy this new digital experience.
Many digital educational tools were tried and experimented with, which gave autonomy to the students, improved their academic processes, encouraged collaboration and communication between teachers and learners. Included below are the 5 most effective tools used by teachers and loved by our students:
Why students love this tool: It promotes game-based learning, which increases their engagement and creates a dynamic, social and fun educational experience.
- Kahoot!: Kahoot! is an interactive tool that includes enjoyable games and questions. This digital tool allows you to create questionnaires, discussions or surveys to complement academic lessons. The projected material displayed and questions answered by students are the perfect platform for the students to play and learn at the same time.
Why students love this tool: It creates a dynamic and fun way to have class competitions. This tool also gives them a quick and easy way to enrich and consolidate their vocabulary.
- WordWall: WordWall allows educators to create interactive activities for different kinds of learners. The best part about this tool is that it is available for an interactive class as well as in a printable version for an asynchronous class. This digital tool supports a range of teaching strategies and doesn’t railroad the varied learners into one way of doing things.
Also read: Online Teaching Tools – What worked for us!
Why students love this tool: Students like the different features of this tool such as drawing their answers, drag, and drop, answering multiple-choice questions. They also find this tool to be advantageous as it checks in on their social and emotional levels at regular intervals.
- Pear Deck: Instead of simply presenting informational slides, using this tool makes the lesson slides very interactive so every learner can respond to questions or prompts right on their screens. This also helps the educator engage every student and give formative assessments, no matter what grade or subject.
Why students love this tool: Students love the different things they can do with this tool such as posting images, links, videos, and documents, all collated on one single “wall”. Students work together to add notes to a Padlet to produce a resource they can refer to later.
- Padlet: Meaningful ways for teachers and students to collaborate online are more important now than ever. That’s why so many educators love and choose the Padlet tool (digital bulletin board). This tool gives educators and learners an easy way to share ideas, review work and a whole lot more.
Why students love this tool: This is an effective tool in which students can not only answer questions and quizzes but can also create surveys for collaborating on group projects.
Besides the above-mentioned digital tools, there are several other tools such as EdPuzzle, Reading Eggs, Mindspark, Flipgrid, YouTube, Zoom whiteboard, Quizizz, etc which have made learning and interaction between students and teachers more effective and fun.
- Google Forms: This tool enables a fun lesson that includes surveys, quizzes, revision work, or an event poll. Google Forms is an excellent tool for students to explore and reflect on the material – for an engaging, active lesson and activity. It is the easiest way to collate and compile students’ work for easy organization and analysis.
The fear in the minds of parents is but natural and hence there is a need to maintain a fine balance while using technology both at home as well as at school. When used in the right manner, technology can change the way students learn.
They should be nurtured to develop a positive attitude towards digital technology, acquire basic proficiency to engage with digital tools, display safe online behaviours, and follow cyber-security protocols.
By encouraging the use of digital tools to enhance a child’s learning, schools can help create a generation of young minds empowered by human values and the intelligence to bring harmony between the virtual and real world.
Author: Ms. Khushnavaz Bhathena
Teaching Faculty – Junior School, The Aditya Birla Integrated School