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Digital Skills Teachers Are Learning Through Covid

COVID-19 has brought multiple changes in the classroom with digital requirements for online interactions. The new skills you learn now can remain useful for years to come. Here are eight ways educators are learning digital fundamentals that you can incorporate in your classrooms today.

1. Recording and Editing Audio Clips 

Audio files can enhance learning through the teaching materials you provide or projects you assign. For example, presentation slides are great ways to teach concepts visually, but the narration that accompanies them also adds value. Instead of distributing only slides for students to review after a lesson, you can record yourself to accompany the presentation. 

Google now allows you to include audio in slides, and programs like Screencastify allow you to export audio features into Google slides. You can record, edit, and share videos or create audiobooks on Screencastify. You can also assign a project where students pair up and create audiobooks for each other. This could be useful for English and language courses, alternate ways to present book reports, or even for art classes.

2. Creating Online Quizzes

Quizzes help students—and teachers—identify gaps in their knowledge, retain information, and build confidence for bigger exams. With numerous digital tools, you can make quizzes a fun experience. Create online resources to test kids using these useful links:

  • Kahoot! A game-based system where you can create quizzes and polls called "kahoots" using internet content. 
  • Quia: A site where you can create educational games, quizzes, and surveys.
  • Obsurvey: An online survey maker where you can also create polls and questionnaires.

Another notable website is BrainPOP. BrainPOP provides videos on various subjects, including science, social studies, arts, music, health, and math. There are other corresponding resources for each lesson, including a quiz and a challenge to test information retention.

3. Developing Engaging Video Content

Video clips can be a great way to assist student learning and provide a deeper understanding of a subject. Students who are visual and auditory learners can listen and read captions on videos. They can also review the material after class and rewind to sections they want to watch again. Instead of simply posting a YouTube link, there are tools to customize these videos for your lesson or create your own. 

TEDEd is an example of a tool that allows you to customize YouTube videos for lesson plans. You can easily add multiple-choice or open-ended questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources. After sharing the lesson with students, you can also track their progress. edpuzzle is another similar website. However, they also allow you to upload personal videos or use videos from any website, including Khan Academy and Crash Course. Additionally, you can add your own voice narration. 

4. Encouraging Online Brainstorming

Brainstorming activities are a fun way to generate ideas and encourage creativity in the classroom. Without a designated whiteboard or paper to collect everyone's ideas, it can be tough to facilitate brainstorming virtually. However, there are digital tools that help. For example, Dotstorming is a collection of tools for collaborative brainstorming. You can easily add digital sticky notes that students can vote on and discuss. Padlet is another online collaborating app that provides a blank canvas for students to create and design projects. They can search for ideas or post news articles, images, and other files from their computer. 

5. Coding For Digital Animations 

Coding is becoming an essential component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Today, teachers can benefit from basic coding skills when planning lesson materials. While it can sound daunting, there are user-friendly platforms to learn coding for classroom projects.

Scratch is a free programming site for creating interactive stories, games, and animations. You can create animations such as displaying the life-cycle of a butterfly or provide a workshop to teach coding through Scratch. Easy project-based learning assignments you can facilitate through Scratch include using coding to animate your name. For older students ready to tackle bigger projects, you can also host design challenges. Another free and easy-to-use platform for 3D design, electronics, and coding is Tinkercad. They provide lesson plans and curriculums aligning with standards such as ISTE, Common Core, NGSS. 

6. Building Online Communities 

Maintaining a sense of community despite distance learning can be crucial for student engagement and participation. You can create online interactions through blogging sites that are teacher-friendly and student safe. This activity also encourages students to express themselves meaningfully through writing. Websites such as Kidblog and Edublogs allow you to monitor student work, provide feedback, or create interactions with other classrooms on the sites.

If you are looking for a free service to create an online community connecting teachers with school leaders, parents, and students, try ClassDojo. You can encourage a positive classroom culture by highlighting skills or values such as working hard, being kind, and helping others. On ClassDojo, students can create portfolios where they share their learning through photos and videos. You can also share photos and videos of classroom moments with parents to let them feel involved. For easy communication, the platform has a feature to translate messages for parents into over thirty languages. 

7. Using Rubrics and Tracking Scores Online

There are plenty of programs to help with generating rubrics online and tracking student data. Learning how to utilize these services can make grading and providing assessment feedback easier and allow students to understand how you are evaluating their work. A free site with tools for competency-based assessments is ForAllRubrics. You can easily:

  • Score with standards-aligned rubrics and checklists.
  • Issue digital badges.
  • Share assessment results by email with students and parents.
  • Generate student accounts for peer and self-assessments.

Other similar platforms for rubrics and grading are Peergrade and Quick Key. Peergrade allows you to create assignments with rubrics and allow students to upload work, and anonymously provide peer review. Quick Key can help you with instant grading, accurate marking, and providing immediate feedback to students.

8. Creating a Google Classroom

Some schools are now utilizing the Google Classroom platform to upload coursework online and facilitate online discussions. Your school needs to sign up for a free Google Workspace for Education account that provides additional privacy and security protections important in a school setting. 

The platform allows you to create announcements for a classroom, list upcoming work that is due, respond to student posts, and track grades. When creating assignments, quizzes, or materials, you can also use topics to organize the classwork into modules or units. Another added benefit of Google Classroom? Students are less likely to lose their homework since they will usually work in a Google Drive that automatically saves. 


Developing digital skills can be easy when you use these available tools to support you. Breeze through the COVID conditions by trying one today.


Written by Sara Menges

Education World Contributor

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