Educational media and tools can be used for:
- task structuring support: help with how to do a task (procedures and processes),
- access to knowledge bases (help user find information needed)
- alternate forms of knowledge representation (multiple representations of knowledge, e.g., video, audio, text, image, data)
Numerous types of physical technology are currently used: digital cameras, video cameras, interactive whiteboard tools, document cameras, and LCD projectors. Combinations of these techniques include blogs, collaborative software, ePortfolios, and virtual classrooms.
Audio and video
Radio offers a synchronous educational vehicle, while streaming audio over the internet with webcasts and podcasts can be asynchronous. Classroom microphones, often wireless, can enable learners and educators to interact more clearly.
Video technology has included VHS tapes and DVDs, as well as on-demand and synchronous methods with digital video via server or web-based options such as streamed video from YouTube, TeacherTube, Skype, Adobe Connect and webcams Telecommuting can connect with speakers and other experts.
Interactive digital video games are being used at K-12 and higher education institutions.
Podcasting allows anybody to publish files to the Internet where individuals can subscribe and receive new files from people by a subscription.
Computers, tablets and mobile devices
Computers and tablets enable learners and educators to access websites as well as programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, PDF files, and images. Many mobile devices support m-learning.
Mobile devices such as clickers and smartphones can be used for interactive feedback. Mobile learning can also provide performance support for checking the time, setting reminders, retrieving worksheets, and instruction manuals.
OpenCourseWare (OCW) gives free public access to information used in undergraduate and graduate programs at institutions of higher education. Participating institutions are MITand Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Michigan.
Group webpages, blogs, and wikis allow learners and educators to post thoughts, ideas, and comments on a website in an interactive learning environment. Social networking sites are virtual communities for people interested in a particular subject or just to “hang out” together. Members communicate by voice, chat, instant message, video conference, and blogs, and the service typically provides a way for members to contact friends of other members.The National School Boards Association found that 96% of students with online access have used social networking technologies, and more than 50% talk online specifically about schoolwork. These statistics support the likelihood of being able to bring these technologies into our classrooms and find successful teaching methods to employ their use in an educational setting. Social networking inherently encourages collaboration and engagement. Social networking can also be used as a motivational tool to promote self-efficacy amongst students. In a study by Bowers-Campbell (2008) Facebook was used as an academic motivation tool for students in a developmental reading course. Group members may respond and interact with other members. Student interaction is at the core of constructivist learning environments and Social Net-working Sites provide a platform for building collaborative learning communities. By their very nature they are relationship-centred and promote shared experiences. With the emphasis on user-generated-content, some experts are concerned about the traditional roles of scholarly expertise and the reliability of digital content. Students still have to be educated and assessed within a framework that adheres to guidelines for quality. Every student has his or her own learning requirements, and a Web 2.0 educational framework provides enough resources, learning styles, communication tools and flexibility to accommodate this diversity.
Webcams and webcasting have enabled creation of virtual classrooms and virtual learning environment.
Interactive whiteboards and smartboards allow learners and instructors to write on the touch screen. The screen markup can be on either a blank whiteboard or any computer screen content. Depending on permission settings, this visual learning can be interactive and participatory, including writing and manipulating images on the interactive whiteboard.
Screencasting allows users to share their screens directly from their browser and make the video available online so that other viewers can stream the video directly.The presenter thus has the ability to show their ideas and flow of thoughts rather than simply explain them as simple text content. In combination with audio and video, the educator can mimic the one-on-one experience of the classroom and deliver clear, complete instructions. Learners also have an ability to pause and rewind, to review at their own pace, something a classroom cannot always offer.
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), also known as a learning platform, simulates a virtual classroom or meetings by simultaneously mixing several communication technologies. For example, web conferencing software such as GoToTraining, WebEx Training or Adobe Connect enables students and instructors to communicate with each other via webcam, microphone, and real-time chatting in a group setting. Participants can raise hands, answer polls or take tests. Students are able to whiteboard and screencast when given rights by the instructor, who sets permission levels for text notes, microphone rights and mouse control.
A virtual classroom also provides the opportunity for students to receive direct instruction from a qualified teacher in an interactive environment. Learners can have direct and immediate access to their instructor for instant feedback and direction. The virtual classroom also provides a structured schedule of classes, which can be helpful for students who may find the freedom of asynchronous learning to be overwhelming. In addition, the virtual classroom provides a social learning environment that replicates the traditional “brick and mortar” classroom. Most virtual classroom applications provide a recording feature. Each class is recorded and stored on a server, which allows for instant playback of any class over the course of the school year. This can be extremely useful for students to review material and concepts for an upcoming exam. This also provides students with the opportunity to watch any class that they may have missed, so that they do not fall behind. It also gives parents and auditors the conceptual ability to monitor any classroom to ensure that they are satisfied with the education the learner is receiving.
In higher education especially, the increasing tendency is to create a virtual learning environment (VLE) (which is sometimes combined with a Management Information System (MIS) to create a Managed Learning Environment) in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent user interface throughout the institution. A growing number of physical universities, as well as newer online-only colleges, have begun to offer a select set of academic degree and certificate programs via the Internet at a wide range of levels and in a wide range of disciplines. While some programs require students to attend some campus classes or orientations, many are delivered completely online. In addition, several universities offer online student support services, such as online advising and registration, e-counseling, online textbook purchases, student governments and student newspapers.
Augmented reality (AR) provides students and teachers the opportunity to create layers of digital information, that includes both virtual world and real world elements, to interact with in real time. There are already a variety of apps which offer a lot of variations and possibilities.
Learning management system
A learning management system (LMS) is software used for delivering, tracking and managing training and education. For example, an LMS tracks attendance, time on task, and student progress. Educators can post announcements, grade assignments, check on course activity, and participate in class discussions. Students can submit their work, read and respond to discussion questions, and take quizzes. An LMS may allow teachers, administrators, students, and permitted additional parties (such as parents if appropriate) to track various metrics. LMSs range from systems for managing training/educational records to software for distributing courses over the Internet and offering features for online collaboration. The creation and maintenance of comprehensive learning content requires substantial initial and ongoing investments of human labor. Effective translation into other languages and cultural contexts requires even more investment by knowledgeable personnel.
Internet-based learning management systems include Blackboard Inc. and Moodle. These types of LMS allow educators to run a learning system partially or fully online, asynchronously or synchronously. Blackboard can be used for K-12 education, Higher Education, Business, and Government collaboration. Moodle is a free-to-download Open Source Course Management System that provides blended learning opportunities as well as platforms for distance learning courses. Eliademy is a free cloud based Course Management System that provides blended learning opportunities as well as platforms for distance learning courses.