Digital Tools and Platforms Library

Tool Facilitation Activities

The ETRe project categorized the possible use of each cloud tool based in one of the following categories. This has been done to enable teachers to quickly browse the tool list and find the cloud tool that is most suitable to address their teaching needs. The need of using this categorization of different categories of use, if even of more importance, since several tools may facilitate more than one category of use, and in some such cases, some categories may not be the obvious (e.g., Teams can facilitate storage and assessment through other apps that are by default integrated).

Collaboration

This category of use refers to the tools that allow users to collaborate either in a synchronous or asynchronous way by either editing common documents or doing common activities. Some examples of activities that a digital collaboration tool might be able to facilitate are:

  • students editing a common text and multimedia file to develop a STEAM project they are working on
  • students are asked to share their thoughts by adding a sticker post on a digital blackboard
  • students divide the tasks of a project they work in, and if they see a task is behind all other student teams working in different tasks offer their help through exchanging comments, images and files with the students working on the task under discussion

Communication

The tools that facilitate the type of use described by this category allow users to communicate with each other by exchanging texts, images and files and/or by allowing them to talk with each other over the web. There is a clear distinction between the facilitation of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Tools that can do both are of greater value to teachers. Those that have communication as one of their main or as their main purpose of use offer both possibilities. Some examples of the learning activities that communication digital tools may facilitate are the following:

  • live video calls between the members of a digital classroom or a team of students that work on a project
  • exchange of comments (text, multimedia, files) in a communication channel between the members of a team of students working in a science project

Storage

The tools that tick this category of use are those that may facilitate the on-line, cloud storage of multiple types of files (text, multimedia, presentations, etc.) that teachers and students may want to share with each other, which their primary way of utilisation, or so as to have their personal cloud storage space that will enable easy mobility between devices.

Some examples of the use of such tools as part of school activities are:

  • students have a shared folders to where they upload the photos, they want to include in the presentation they have to develop for their music class for the classical music era
  • the biology teacher has shared a video of how to grow a lentil plan in a cup and students have to upload their own edited video of the 1-month period that they grew a lentil plant in their house
  • the history teacher shares 4 photos of Roman statues and asks students to develop a comic page with these images telling a story of the Roman times as they would imagine such a story to be like

Planning/Organisational

This category of use is facilitated by several applications which allows the user to plan and organise his/her own task or the tasks of a team or organisation. These type o applications enable the user to manage the projects/ tasks that have been assigned to him/her or at a higher level plan and organise whole classroom learning activities or even the whole classroom and its progress.

Some examples of the use of such tools in schools are:

  • Use of a calendar to organise the meetings of a team of students working on a science project
  • Monitoring and recording the tasks of a student for the Robotics class through using a to do list tool

Networking

The tools that correspond to this type of use are those that may support a student or a team of students to engage in building and expanding their network that relates to their school life and learning activities. This type of tools has been widely used to facilitate collaboration between students from different schools, often from different countries. Based on observations in schools, this type of tools has been used, during the COVID-19 pandemic, for student networks even within the same school.

  • Use of eTwinning by students to present the project they work on with schools from different EU countries
  • Use of the open channels of the collaboration platforms (e.g., slack, Teams, etc.) by students to discuss and exchange ideas on which plants should be planted in the school garden, a tasks assigned to them as part of their biology class

Content Development

This type of use by the tools allows for the creation of digital content. The content may be developed by students as part of their learning activities or by teachers in the context of one or even when designing an entire activity based on the developed content.

Examples of this type of use are:

  • Use of a video editing tool by the teacher to create a video to introduce sound waves in science class
  • Creation of a comic story by students in English class to present the European country that was assigned to them

Assessment

This type of tools is used by teachers to assess/evaluate students’ knowledge and/or skills. In some cases, students use the tools by themselves as part of a self-assessment process (e.g., self-regulated learning). Some examples of the use of this type of tools are:

  • The teacher asks students to complete an on-line questionnaire that assesses how well did they pay attention to the history facts that were presented by the history teacher at the beginning of the history lesson
  • The English teacher asks students to fill out an on-line form where they have to fill in the given missing verb in each sentence in its correct form in order to assess their knowledge on past tense and adjust accordingly his/her teaching approach

Virtual Simulations

The virtual simulation tools are used in order for students to engage in virtual laboratories and experiments as well as be virtually introduced to activities or places around the world at any point of time (past, present, future).

Some examples of the use of this type of tools in school are:

  • Use of a virtual simulation tool to simulate science experiments to introduce students to the properties of electricity
  • Use of a virtual simulation tool to graphically represent a mathematical equation
  • Use a virtual simulation tool to allow students to walk through ancient monuments at the time that they were built and used