Online Tools, Tips, and Tidbits

I have been extremely fortunate to have embrace learning how to use technology tools and how to effectively teach with them throughout my career. The ‘crisis learning’ that happened in the spring was not ideal but I was not scrambling as I was ready to go virtually and remotely. I only had two math classes that I had face to face at the time and unfortunately with the option to pass/take the grade many did not engage in the supplementary learning that was available (I didn’t take it personally but it was unfortunate many didn’t want to continue). But with the few students I did have we continued with the learning and had a great experience including doing a few Minecraft projects (check out the pandemic hospital we made)

There was a lot of learning going on here.

I provided updates on my remote learning experience including this vlog.

You can see some of the tools and how I used them in the spring.

So when we started this school year and knew we were going on a quadrant schedule, I moved my class to be able to access the entire class using Microsoft Teams. This is my one stop shop and whether we are face to face or remote students have a hub in which they can access the resources, assignments, and communication they need to be successful. I made a vlog that takes you on a tour of how this looks and a video that show you how to record your screen using Microsoft Teams.

A look into my online/remote toolkit.
How to record a lesson using Microsoft Teams.
Extra bonus for me as I will be helping teachers at my school with this for our Teacher Institute.

So I’m ready to go back to remote if need be, but I still love the face to face experience. I also teach online classes as part of Regina Catholic School’s Online School. We use Moodle for this. I’m not even close to where I’d like to be with this experience but for now, I can do what I need to get done, but hope to get better. My ECI 834 experience,

a MOOC I took through Athabasca (which was mentioned as one of the first distance learning universities in Alberta created in 1972) Learning to Learn Online (LTLO) MOOC

browsing through Twitter,

looking at the ADDIE Model,


learning from my peers blogs,

Once those routines and relationships are built, it comes down to remembering to go with the flow and as we talked in class on Tuesday, keeping a growth mindset is vital!

Great post Shelby.  Your growth mindset continues to serve you well.  Not only does it appear that you understand how to use the tools (the ins and outs of the apps), but you understand how to use the tools (to provide students with effective ways in which to learn).  Being able to maintain student engagement is critical but it looks like you have built the relationships and the skill sets necessary to succeed no matter what life may throw at us. 

I would argue that we go the distance and do what we do because we care about the students and their learning.

Great post.  I agree that teachers need to be flexible and be able to pivot like never before.  It is a challenge to build those relationships if you haven’t met the students before and something I know I am working on getting better at in the online teaching environment I have.  Communication is the key in any classroom situation but it does take on higher importance online because you do not have that daily ‘forced’ contact.  Also, the more organized the better for sure, and with that, less is usually more.  Thanks for sharing the tools you use and tools you are interested in.

So far this year we have utilized all the tools mentioned above on a daily or weekly basis within the classroom – which has allowed my students to become quite comfortable with these technology tools.

Nice post Matt.  I use many of the same tools and I think that being consistent with the same tools helps the students a lot (especially in high school).  I find the Microsoft suite of apps does a nice job of working together which really helps the kids.  It’s great that you are already using these tools that will and have helped with the transition to a remote situation (definitely a perk to being a connected educator).  Thanks for sharing examples as well. 

and checking out resources

Resource Sheet For Distance Learning

Best Tools for Distance/Virtual Learning

Microsoft Teams Resources

Online Teaching Resources

The Great Presentation on Oct 20, 2020
(will need the password from discord to watch)

There is great potential in online / hybrid learning. It won’t be the same as face to face, but it can be very effective and engaging if we learn the tools and how to implement them. But just like face to face, the key is relationships. As Kareem Farah points out

… despite the challenges, we know that teachers can still make school count. Focus your class time on human connection, and it will.


Thanks for reading and being part of my learning journey.

5 thoughts on “Online Tools, Tips, and Tidbits

  1. Great post Dean. I learned many new tools that I had not had a chance to explore in your links above. I mainly used Google Classroom when we were thrust into Emergency Response Teaching in the spring. The learning curve was huge…a few tears were shed…but I feel I learned a lot (maybe even more than the students). I am jealous that your division supports Microsoft programs-they are my personal favourite. My division is Google crazy. I agree that *still* the most important thing is the relationships we create with our students. Online learning can make it more difficult, but where there is a will…there is a way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Dean! Thanks for sharing the tools that you use daily with your students. Minecraft is a hit with my grade 2 students; however, I have not used it as a learning tool. Listening to you talk about the pandemic hospital that your students are creating is inspirational. I will need to look into this tool more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you use Minecraft to engage your students, which would have been especially important during the pandemic remote learning. Thanks for sharing the ADDIE Model that Alec mentioned at the end of class last week. I’m looking forward to learning more about the model in 834 next semester. Your summary of learning is a great way to get excited about the course! I really appreciate your positive mindset with online learning – your students are very lucky to have you and your commitment to relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Dean! I really liked how your students engaged in creating a Pandemic Hospital in Minecraft while online learning. I think this fits in so well with Papert’s constructionism theory. This really demonstrates how students can use their knowledge and create something that is needed in real life and relates to a real world event! Great video on all the different tools you were/still are utilizing. I like Tarina, wish my division supported Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft programs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! You have included so many tools and tips! I agree that it was really unfortunate how many students did not continue in classes this spring. I think many teachers feel more prepared to move to remote learning when they needed to. Participation in remote learning in my current class is very low, but I may need to start using some other tools to help with that, and you have shared so many throughout this class.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s