There are many tools that both teachers and students can use to create. In my own teaching experience I have probably utilized more technology tools for my own teaching purposes than for students to create and participate in active learning according as according to Fink (2013). I have been working on seeking more technology tools that benefit both the students and me. That is why I chose tools that I can use as a teacher and tools that students can use to create. GoAnimate and Powtoon can be used by me as a teacher and by students to create. Viola on the other hand is something I choice to invest in so that I can make nice screencast videos for my students to watch. I also plan on using all of these tools in my online unit.
GoAnimate – here is a short video overview of GoAnimate
Although the free version is limited by how much time, 60 seconds, you can record it still can be a useful tool. There are many options for customizations as far as the objects that can be placed in the presentation. Animations are limited, but it is just enough to keep things from looking too comical.
Students can definitely use it to create short presentations, like a book review, brief introduction, or short directions. What I like most about this tool is that it offers a variety of voices that can read the script you type. You do not have to use your own voice, which is a plus in my book as an introvert. It will be more difficult to think of a way to integrate this tool into my unit, but I think I can use it to help develop a sense of community by having students introduce themselves in 60 seconds.
PowToon – here is a short video overview of PowToon
First, this tool is great because it is free and the free version has plenty of options. It is an awesome presentation tool and is easily navigated because it has similarities to PowerPoint, but it is so much more than that. I see myself using this tool in the future with my students both to make my teaching more engaging and have students create animated presentations. It definitely lends itself to active learning, but my first thought is always selfish in that I think this is a cool tool I can use to create animated presentations for lessons. I look forward to using this tool in my online unit for short mini lessons, instead of the traditional lecture I probably would have recorded. I could see students really letting their personalities shine through with this tool and it would be a good option for their final project in my online unit.
Viola – here is a short video overview of Viola.
I chose to invest in Viola because it allows you to edit your screencasts where as many free versions of screencasting tools you have to get it all in one shot, which is difficult to do. It also has many options, like capturing your screen in various shapes and at the same time. Images captured can also be edited and organized like photos. You can also record video from your built in camera. It is also easy to publish your screencast creations, which is a plus. I plan on using Viola to create tutorial videos and give directions for assignments.
Although this is a teacher centered tool it will be very beneficial in enriching the online learning experience of my hypothetical students. I also hope that it will help engage students in the learning process. I find that it can get boring reading directions and instructions, so I hope the screencasts I make will help engage students and be a clarifying tool in my online unit’s assignment instructions. It may also help develop a sense of connection with my students because it will be my voice guiding them. This might help close the distance between my students and I.
After this initial review of my chosen technology tools I have realized that I need to work on looking at technology tools with students in mind first. As Fahy stated it is more important to have tools that the learner can create with versus tools that only the teacher only uses. It is my goal with my online unit to offer my students more options to create with technology tools. I am attempting to find my balance with my chosen technology tools, so that I am less teacher centered with my technology tools use.