In this present era, modern technology has revolutionized the mode of imparting knowledge innumerous ways, especially in education sector where multiple approaches are adopted through advanced educational programs, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and to cater the needs of diverse learners. Likewise, the professional growth of educators and learners have become the area of concern for most of the educationists and educational leaders. In 21st century, it is deemed that an educator must be well equipped with digital and conventional teaching aids to match the intelligent quotient of a 21st century learner. Owing to this, the webinars and workshops have taken the lion’s share in the curriculum of today’s classrooms. Hence, innovative techniques and strategies adopted by various educators and academic institutions are luring many people to enroll in best universities of the developed nations with the intent to learn through the latest methods.
Awareness about incorporation of Technology in pedagogy– Indeed, the use of technology in education is to create, adapt and personalize experiences that pave the way for independent learning and to accommodate learner differences and needs. During my journey to become Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) to making other educators aware of its impact on learning, I was spell bound by the drastic changes found in my thought process and the way of dealing with problems. In no time, I started taking challenging situations in my hand such as training house wives in a skill development program launched by the school and training admin staff of the school on integration of digital tools in their daily activities.
Use of digital tools in learning process-
Indubitably, this pandemic due to Covid-19 has revolutionized the way of teaching and learning. In no time, tech savvy people got their hands on numerous digital tools that offers uninterrupted learning, however non techies left unattended by the market needs. Amidst this, training programs have been commenced to facilitate trainers, coaches or mentors to get well acquainted with technology. Hence, the integration of various platforms come into consideration such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Flipgrid, wakelet and many more. Following tools were used by me during my trainings-
1.Access to Office 365– It is the prime duty of every educational institution to provide safe learning environment to consumers without compromising the quality of education. Hence, office 365 platform best suits the needs of learners and organizations and provide a variety of educational tools and educational programs to become 21st century learners and academic institutions.
2.Microsoft Teams– To communicate with the trainees and to collaborate using class materials, to make announcements and to highlight the important information, to download attendance and to take control of the classrooms/meetings, Microsoft Teams became the Hero tool that transformed the communication into skilled communication. Training teachers on scheduling the meetings and to maintain the attendance records using interactive features in this software application.
3. Microsoft Forms– To collect the data and to provide instant results of any type of questionnaire, Forms are used enthusiastically by administration, parents, children and by school leaders to streamline the planning and loopholes occurring in the system. Both forms and quizzes aided in maintaining records digitally and to provide instant feedback and outcome of the training sessions. The real time results and response wise report help the user to generate quantitative and qualitative analysis
4. One note and Class Notebook– Both are Onenote and Class notebook are tools for collaboration and to perform interdependent tasks whereas Onenote is for professionals and class Notebook is specially designed to cater the classroom needs; multiple section-based platform with separate teacher only section, collaboration section and student only section. This tool has been widely used in my trainings to do evaluation, to maintain records of trainees project submission and to showcase my work in front of authorities. Indeed, the updated version of this tool is loaded with plethora of features such as Immersive Reader, Inserting pdfs and scanned images, the privilege of digital inking that make it stand out of the crowd amongst other collaborative tools.
5.Flipgrid – There is no other tool that flexibly adapt user’s requirements and allow facilitators to make learning fun. Flipgrid is the one that empower learner’s voice and provide a platform to express their feelings, emotions and their experiences through visuals. It’s a must have for educators who aims to make their classes interesting and full of fun. Millions of educators can stay connected with each other through its grid pal option and one can easily get an interactive and subject relevant topic from discover and a disco library option. Shorts option allows to record a tutorial and add relevant effects and filters like Instagram and it is ready to be shared. In Achievements section, One gets the privilege of receiving gifts directly from Flipgrid and get certificates to boast on social media profiles. One of the wonderful offerings by Flipgrid, is their Student Voice Ambassador program where suggestions, feedback and new updates are issued and implemented in no time. On the top of that, it’s an open tool, no license or particular kind of account is required to access it except a Gmail account.
6.Wakelet– Wakelet is a tool to get all resources at one place, in other words, a tool to save and share the content in organized way. It provides access to attach pdfs, one-drive content, tweets, g-drive content and youtube videos at one place that gives the feel of blogging in the work set up along with maintaining your professional touch in the content creation. It is extremely flexible and accessible to almost all popular social handles. Additionally, it is free to use and just requires a g-mail account to access. Like Flipgrid, it also provides gifts and goodies to its active users and have launched many innovative educational programs for coaches and trainers such as Wakelet Ambassadors and Wakelet Showcase Schools.
7.Sway– Sway is a tool to prepare quick presentations with limited effects and editing options. Basically, it is a tool for those who are not familiar with the art of creating presentations and allow its users to use embedded search engine to collect photos and videos related to the content to present data quickly. Sway is created in both views horizontal and vertical views depending upon the type of content and audience. Moreover, various templates are available on online platform of sway to present content digitally quickly. Unike flipgrid and wakelet, sway requires an office 365 or a Microsoft account to access. Here is the link for my sway displaying my journey with Microsoft tools- https://sway.office.com/s/OPuUVFGPTnYATZw5/embed#?secret=et5kdt4cEP
8. Present Live- Although most of the educators are very aware of Presenting the data online especially post pandemic, however, there are some unique features that are available in online version of PowerPoint. To cite an example- Designer option can also be called as time saver option because of its incredible features, user need not to spend hours and hours on fixing the text size, color and font. Designer option not only gives a creative look to your slide but also enhance the professional aspect of the data being presented. Apart from this, Present live is the option that can enable presentation to reach out to thousands of people in the audience who otherwise feel less concentrated due to small or invisible text in ppt. In this, a scan code appears in the beginning of the ppt that allows the viewers to scan the code and get ppt on their devices in no time. Hence, a wonderful strategy to prepare professional presentations in minutes.
9. Immersive Reader- This incredibly wonderful feature is panacea for all learners who are facing learning difficulties or have learning disabilities. In Immersive reader, there are features like picture dictionary, focused view, font spacing and short lines, highlight parts of speech in any kind of text and its super popular syllabification mode. In many of my training sessions, immersive reader has left people open-mouthed with its tremendous possibilities of use in the classrooms. Hence, considered beneficial from many aspects of learning a language. Moreover, it provides translation access in more than 60 languages that make this tool a hero tool when it comes to training diverse learners.
10. Minecraft– Minecraft is a tool to deal with young learners with spatial intelligence. In Minecraft, learners get the opportunity to put their ideas with the help of flexible and creative options like create your own world and inventories in this gaming application. It also gives opportunity to educators to know their learners well and provide them enough chances to transform their unaccepted imaginations to accepted realities, well integrated with their curriculum. In other words, Indeed, Minecraft provides a game-based learning platform, well incorporated with interesting features like in- game coding, formative assessment tools, multi-player, and Immersive Reader. Apart from this, Minecraft offers professional development tutorials and free lessons for educators regardless of experience level.
Microsoft, Microsoft Eventcore. “Microsoft Showcase Schools: Digital Schools: Microsoft Education.” Digital Schools| Microsoft Education, – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/school-leaders/showcase-schools.
Minecraft. “Minecraft Official Site.” Minecraft.net, 22 Sept. 2021, https://www.minecraft.net/en-us.
Flipgrid. “Learn Together.” Flipgrid, https://info.flipgrid.com/. Wakelet. “Save, Organize and Share Content.” Wakelet, https://wakelet.com/