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Educational technologies can be a powerful tool for facilitating learning. However, selecting the right technology can be a difficult task. Options abound, and new resources continue to be developed. This blog post will survey and suggest possible uses for a few current educational technologies for enhancing the face-to-face classroom. 

Google Docs is a flexible platform that allows for real-time cloud-based collaboration. 

Possible uses: 

  • Collaborate on lecture notes
  • Submit discussion questions
  • Brainstorm or reconstruct arguments in-class

Slack streamlines communication with and among students via topic-based channels.

Possible uses:

  • Replace email reminders 
  • Facilitate communication among students for group projects
  • Send direct messages to compliment or check-in on students
  • Share Google Docs 

Twijector projects a real-time feed of Twitter and Instagram posts, filtered by a hashtag.

Possible uses: 

  • Get real-time student feedback
  • Gather reflections to prompt discussion
  • Monitor live-tweeted events in real-time

Zoom is a sleek interface for video webinars, online meetings, and conference calls.

Possible uses:

  • Telecommute guest speakers or traveling students to class
  • Host a review session remotely

Yellowdig is a user-friendly interactive social media discussion board designed to enhance student engagement. The following features distinguish it from LMS-hosted discussion boards:

  • Social media features (@mention other users, hyperlinks embed thumbnail images, share videos, like, love, bookmark, and #hashtag)
  • Gamification (point system)
  • Automatic grading when integrated with the LMS gradebook
  • Analytics dashboard
  • Automated nudging of inactive students
  • Optional anonymous posts
  • Organize content by topic

Given the plethora of educational technology options, it is important for instructors to keep in mind that more is not always better. Instead, begin with the end in mind: using your learning goals as a reference point, carefully consider which educational technologies might help your students learn what you want them to learn. With a small investment of time upfront, instructors can leverage classroom technology to greatly enhance their students’ learning experience. 

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