Online learning has its challenges, but free tools and resources can help educators engage their students and move to deeper understanding

7 free tools for deeper online learning


Online learning has its challenges, but free tools and resources can help educators engage their students and move to deeper understanding

Spring’s shift to online learning was sudden and unexpected, and despite pockets of schools that have resumed in-person learning or moved to hybrid learning, most schools are still fully online. While many mourn the loss of in-person learning opportunities, there are still ways to create deeper online learning experiences.

Zoom fatigue is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to be indicative of the majority of online learning experiences, said David Pratt, an associate professor of teacher education at Purdue Northwest and a former K-12 teacher, during an ISTE 2020 presentation (ISTE, along with most other edtech conferences, has gone virtual).

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“Most of the college students I have did grow up this way–with a computer in front of them. In some ways they have an advantage, but I’m also noticing with some of my students, and with me, that you can be really fatigued,” Pratt said.

Drawing inspiration from Ken Bain (What the Best College Teachers Do), Pratt focused on what deep learning looks like: It “promotes understanding and application for life. In contrast, surface learning is the tacit acceptance of information and memorization as isolated and unlinked facts.”

Students are able to “grapple with ideas, concepts, and the implications and applications of those ideas and concepts.” That’s where true or deep learning will occur.

But today, learning has moved online, putting the focus on deeper online learning.

Laura Ascione

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