Basic Toolbox for Distance Education

The following is a list of tools I would place in my digital toolbox. My toolbox may be small now, but there is always space to add tools later that I see will help develop my student’s learning.

Internet Browser
Allows access to the many resources in the world wide web. Students can use a browser to write in their blogs, manage their feeds, and work on online activities.

Provides a means for students to start discussions about various interests and reply to other blogs. Blogs can give students the opportunity to reflect on previous discussed material and post questions for the instructor and other students to see and answer.

Feed Reader or ‘gator
Helps manage subscriptions to various blogs. Everybody needs organization in their lives, especially students, so this tool allows them to see all of their feeds in one page. Students can subscribe to the blogs they want to, read them, and click another blog to read that pertains to the subject.

Online Storage Unit
Provides a ‘digital locker’ for all of the student’s documents. Students work on their homework, place it in their locker, and submit it when it is due. Most students will probably have jump drives, but this provides another backup unit for them. You can never be too safe.

Wikis provide students the opportunity to collaborate with other classrooms around the globe. Groups can be assigned with members from two classrooms to work on a project. Each student can take a role and post their portion of the project to create a end product.

Instant Messenger
An instant messenger tool can provide a connection with all students and the instructor for questions, discussions, and feedback. Each student needs to be on the same tool to make it easier to manage contacts.

As an added communication tool, e-mail provide a way the instructor to keep in touch with their students and their parents to inform of assignment due dates, parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, and other various school activities.

A website provides a home base of sorts for the class. All of the course documents, information, assignments, etc. will be found here for students to access. Contact information for the instructor will be posted for students to e-mail questions or concerns they may not wish to speak openly about.

Human Brain
The last tool I have may not be a digital one, but it is probably the most important. The aim for teachers in a class is to get their students to start thinking more deeply about content. Students need to develop higher order thinking skills to accomplish this goal.

Again some of the things in my toolbox may not be in others and some may not seem to belong in it, but that is the beauty of a toolbox. Tools that do not belong can be removed or added easily. There is no fixed mold for a toolbox.


2 Responses to “Basic Toolbox for Distance Education”

  1. My favorite item on your list is the human brain Without it, none of the other tools mean much. I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your postings to this blog. You are a very insightful person and seem to really be resourceful. You give good commentary back to classmates. Keep up the good work.

  2. Good list you have there. We seem to be thinking along the same lines. The brain is a very essential item!

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