23 Things for Teaching and Learning

Wrapping up eight weeks of TT1721 with a 23 Things style post! Here’s what I would recommend instructors learn about technology tools for teaching and learning.

  1. Brainstorm online with Coggle.
  2. Get organized! Save useful articles in Pocket and track your feeds using Feedly.
  3. Curate and share useful websites with Diigo or work with a librarian to create a LibGuide.
  4. Multimedia can be used to create dynamic lectures and course materials. Try Prezi for slide-based presentations and Screencast-O-Matic for technology demonstrations.
  5. Try Audacity or QuickTime for recording audio clips.
  6. Make it visual! Search an image site such as Flickr or Noun Project for photos and icons you can add to your course site.
  7. Create your own images with Jing.
  8. Or, create an infographic using Canva or Piktochart.
  9. Make your presentations accessible to students with hearing impairments by uploading them to YouTube and using YouTube’s closed caption feature.
  10. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Search for reusable learning objects from sites like Merlot and Wisc-Online OER.
  11. Or, try TED for inspiring lectures.
  12. Podcasts make great alternatives to readings. Try iTunes or lists like 50 Great Educational Podcasts to find relevant podcasts for your course.
  13. Still can’t find it? Try a Google Advanced Search to locate images, videos, and more.
  14. Not sure what you can re-use in your course? Learn about copyright, look for Creative Commons licensed materials, and consider taking the ION course on copyright.
  15. Make learning active with quizzes, flashcards, and games using a site like Quizlet.
  16. Use tools like AnswerGarden to solicit student ideas and jumpstart discussions.
  17. Use polls and surveys to check-in with students throughout the semester. Try Poll Everywhere and SurveyMonkey to get started.
  18. Don’t go overboard! Be strategic and select technology to align with your course goals and learning outcomes.
  19. Play! The only way to learn new technology is to play with it, so explore a new image site, create a learning object, or build a quiz. Even if you decide not to use a site again, you’ll have stronger tech skills in the long run.
  20. Not sure how to solve a tricky tech problem? Google it when you need help – you’ll almost always find a video or discussion forum with the answer to your question.
  21. Students can play with technology, too! Rather than another research paper, assigning technology tools as part of an assignment adds variety to your course and helps students develop marketable skills.
  22. Follow Universal Design for Learning principles to ensure your course is accessible to all students.
  23. Never stop exploring! Find like-minded friends, share ideas, and keep learning about new tools for the virtual classroom.

Survey Tool: SurveyMonkey

Having tried many survey tools, I always come back to SurveyMonkey. There are many question types to select from and the help features make it easy to figure out the type of question to use for format I have in mind. The free version is robust, offering many options to design and customize a survey. Results are easy to access and understand. In addition, SurveyMonkey saves the results of surveys so I can easily copy and redistribute the same survey in future semesters in order to compare results.

I like to give midterm course evaluations to solicit student feedback. For summer term, I am playing with a three-part survey that would gather student feedback at the start, middle, and end of the course.

Diigo Wrap-Up

Diigo is a useful tool for collating and sharing bookmarks. It is tempting to use it in my instruction courses to encourage students to locate and comment on instruction-related sites (one barrier being that the course already has a full complement of assignments and I am loathe to add more).

Three bookmarks I added to our Diigo group:

  • The 2016 Dean’s List: 50 Must-Read Higher-Ed IT Blogs – In the ever-changing field of education technology, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry happenings, and it’s even more important to understand current news in context. That’s where the Dean’s List comes in handy: It reintroduces higher ed stakeholders to a group of education technology thought leaders who share not-to-be-missed analyses of higher ed technology trends, challenges and opportunities.
  • Learning Styles – Addresses the popular conception of learning styles and the lack of empirical support for teaching to students’ styles. Touches on the role of metacognition in learning. The references constitute a short list of key readings on the topic. (need to add this to my 458 reading list)
  • AnswerGarden – This is a new favorite tool for gathering feedback from a group, so I thought I’d share with the group (and future TT students) via Diigo.

Interactive Tools

Some additional websites for quizzes and interactive games:

Infographic Design

For faculty and librarians who are interested in using infographics, Canva has an excellent guide (with examples!) to effective design.

Elective: ProProfs

ProProfs is a free survey and quizzing tool. It also offers games and a flashcard option. Quizzes can include images and media and a variety of question types. At the end of the quiz, students are given a table comparing their answers and the correct answers, as well as a completion certificate. Quizzes look very professional.

Very cool option for adding activities to my classes and for my 590ELL students to play with.

Voice Thread

VoiceThread is free software that lets you create videos and/or comment on videos and media as part of a lecture. Great possibilities for asynchronous classes.

Content Creation: Prezi

I finally jumped in and learned to use Prezi. I created a short presentation that could be used as part of a course introduction.


  • Prezi has many designs, even in its free version. Presentations are dynamic and it is easy to integrate text and images.
  • It is easy to integrate a voice narration. I expected to be able to do this within Prezi, but audio clips need to be recorded using QuickTime or Audacity and then imported into Prezi. However, the process is straightforward, so this isn’t a deal breaker. Once there, the audio plays automatically as the student forwards the slides, so this would work well for a asynchronous class.
  • Prezi does not have a mechanism to integrate closed captions. This is a deal breaker for me, so as much fun as it was to use Prezi and integrate audio this week (I feel quite accomplished), I won’t be using it again.


The Illinois Open Educational Resources site is another collection of learning objects. The site can be searched or browsed and results can be filtered by resource type, intended audience, license, and more.

50 Educational Podcasts

50 Educational Podcasts is a great list of podcasts that are education-related or could be used in education settings. A great resource for my 505 assignment related to blogging and for adding more multimedia to course reading lists. I’ll definitely be spending time here as I revise courses over the summer.