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Edtech for Beginners part 2 - workshop recap

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

The second part of this beginner workshop series focused on slightly more advanced tools, such as #PearDeck, #Stormboard, #Eduflow, and #Playposit. Read on to find out more about these #edtech tools!


Activate your class with Pear Deck

There are nowadays many online presentation websites, which can help you include interactive slides into your slideshows. These slides range from different voting options through multiple choice quizzes and gap-fills to wordclouds and quiz games. Most of them (Mentimeter, which is also having an online webinar on using its features in the digital classroom, and Wooclap) offer basic plans for free, but some only operate with priced packages (for example, Slido).

Now Pear Deck is also such a freemium site. It works with Google Slides as an integrated add-on. Once you’re done with the not so complicated installation process, you can start adding these well-designed interactive slides to your traditional presentations. The design itself cannot be changed, but you can easily modify the content.

Premium features include drawing and draggable slides, which you can have a taste of if you choose one of their many template slides.

The only downside of this tool is that it’s not entirely intuitive. Students can have a hard time at first finding the “answer question” button, plus they might be automatically looking for a “submit” option, but there’s no such thing as the responses are submitted instantly.

Collaborate with Stormboard and Eduflow

The next category of websites we looked at can be used for brainstorming and collaborative writing activities.

The main feature that sets Stormboard apart from other mind mapping and brainstorming sites is its offer of various templates. At first sight, it might seem to be targeted at corporations but after logging in you’ll see that they offer templates for education as well. This package includes helpful layouts for writing a generic 5-paragraph or a compare and contrast essay, character maps, and charts for analysing non-fiction readings.

The business packages (sales, product management, engineering) can also be useful and greatly appreciated by your students of business English because these could offer them realistic, life-like opportunities to practice and improve their skills. These templates also include such popular business models as Agile, Lean and Kaizen.

Eduflow, on the other hand, is a website where you can operate with so-called flows. These are task cycles, which mainly make use of self and peer feedback. You can create your own task flows as well but I’d recommend using the pre-made ones because there are not too many task options, so it’s not really worth spending time with creating your own.

One task flow I used in a business English class concentrated on writing memos. The class first had a problem-solving meeting, after which they had to put their solutions and required actions into a memo. They log into Eduflow and type in their answers (it’s also possible to submit a file or add one using Google Drive, but you can even upload a video). Following that, they have to give feedback on each other’s work. The teacher can set how many submissions students have to review and what they need to take into consideration.

Flip your class with Playposit

In a previous post we already talked about flipped tools but I’ll tell you what a flipped classroom is in a nutshell. It basically means that your students do most of the studying (acquiring the material) at home using certain flipped tools, or simply by reading a set text, while in the classroom you only focus on further discussion, project work and the application of knowledge.

With Playposit (which is very similar to Edpuzzle in its functionality) you can choose any Youtube video or MP3 file (you have to be a premium user to upload your own videos) to work with. You can crop it if you wish or jump straight to the interactive activities. This site also lets you choose from various templates, but in this case, I think it’s better to work with individual activities. You choose the segment of the video where you want to place an activity and then choose from the following: multiple choice, gap fill, long response, poll, checkboxes. You can also include a word bank, checking for understanding and learning objectives sections too.


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