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Build Your Own Toolkit With CrowdED learning Topic Five, Week One: Integration and Sharing

Good Morning Colleagues!  It has been an exciting month of information, resources, ideas, and discussion of the four components of reading instruction with Jeff Goumas of CrowdED Learning.  As we come to our final topic of Integration and Sharing, we will recap what has been covered so far and continue our discussion of how to use the online resources that have been highlighted to provide evidence-based reading instruction.

The video and discussion for Day 5 will focus on strategies for integrating free and open education resources into instruction using freely available technology tools. We will walk through passive vs. active integration of online learning resources, learner access considerations, and provide brief overviews of a range of different content sharing tools that can be used to increase instructor learner access to quality, aligned free and open education resources.

Jeff, welcome to Topic Five!



Jeff Goumas's picture

Thank you, Jeri! One of these days I'll remember Monday comes after Sunday and will get this post out on time :)

Now that we have explored a wide range of learning resources aimed at supporting reading and writing instruction across a variety of components, topics, and levels, it’s time to focus on what technology tools you use or might be interested in using to share and assign content with your students! 

NOTE: If you already have go-to, free, content sharing and assignment tools you love using with students, please jump below to the discussion questions and take time to share with others! Even better, if you have examples of things you have created with these or other tools, please share them with the group! It's always helpful to see examples! (Especially ones involving reading and writing.)

All of this content can also be viewed and shared by accessing this Google doc. Check back later for a video of this week’s topic. 

Resource Exploration Overview 


All of the resources we've listed out for you to explore as part of this topic are freely available. Given instructors all have different levels of tech integration impacted by comfort levels (learner and instructor), classroom dynamic, student access, and general preference, we’ve organized a handful of the seemingly infinite content sharing resources into the following categories:

  • Content Sharing Apps | Numerous apps are available to allow teachers to share and provide access to content in a variety of “permanent” ways. While posting content to websites using tools such as Google Sites is a more traditional method for making content resources available anytime, anywhere, other tools such as Padlet, LiveBinders, Symbaloo, Pinterest, and Wakelet provide dynamic, visual, and engaging ways for instructors to share content with students in an organized, easy-to-access manner.

  • Communication Apps | Many instructors enjoy using communication apps to directly engage with learners or to assign a specific lesson, activity, or resource to students. These communication tools are responsive and often mirror texting and messaging apps many learners already use in their daily lives. Some tools, such as Remind, have been designed specifically for classroom use, while others tools such as Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp—popular already with many students—have been successfully leveraged by teachers to assign content, send reminders, and foster collaboration through one-on-one and group communication. 

  • Learning Management Systems | Instructors who manage specific courses or their entire class online might use a Learning Management System, which provides a single place for creating lessons, units, or courses. Most LMS’s provide classroom management tools, calendars and assignment tools, assessment creation tools, reporting, and even communication tools. There are a number of great LMS options available, including Canvas and edmodo—which include both free and freemium options—along with moodle and Google Classroom, both of which are free.

Directories for Finding and Evaluating Resources

This week’s exploration is intended to be an open exploration. While we have listed a selection of high-quality apps and tools we know are commonly used by adult educators, there are hundreds of great apps and tools available! Because there are so many options, a number of websites have emerged dedicated to helping educators, students, and parents learn more about each. Some even include evaluations form third parties or even educators. 

Each of these sites takes a different approach to how they index, describe, and evaluate tools. For instructors just getting started or who wish to learn more about a particular tool before they commit to using it, these sites can be invaluable resources for exploring the myriad options available. 

Discussion Questions

Use these questions to organize your your exploration of this week’s resources. 

  • Which, if any, of the tools mentioned do you use or have you tried with students. What features did you and/or your learners find particularly helpful, engaging, and/or effective? If you do not have experience with the tools mentioned, feel free to answer for an app or tool you have used.

  • What learner factors do you consider when selecting sharing and assignment tools for learners? (Factors might include technology skill level, device and wifi access, and resource quality.) 

  • What do you feel are the biggest benefits of using apps such as the ones described to share and assign content with learners?

Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred

Jeff and Colleagues – It can sometimes be overwhelming (and time-consuming) to surf/sift through the technology resources available at this time.  This week’s topic, as well as the previous topics presented in our Build Your Own Toolkit with CrowdED Learning, is very helpful in guiding us to some of the free apps and systems currently available.  I taught in corrections, so technology wass not available for use with my students.  However, depending on the specific technology, there are ways to download and/or print information and resources.  In higher-education and professional development forums, however, I have used moodle and livebinders.  I have also used a free wordcloud generator, (I would post a prompt that would require a one word answer),  and Flocabulary. This used to be free, but I think there is a fee now.  Finally, I have used a crossword generator as a review for vocabulary.  

Definitely factors to consider are first, wifi access, then the skill level required for myself and my students.  For our teachers that use apps and systems the benefit is for students to access information, resources, and curriculum away from class.  When time can be tracked, this can also count for instructional hours.

I am very interested to learn what others are using.  Please share your experiences!