With the introduction of technology, many industries have been allowed to advance and one of these is E-Learning Software. With millions of websites, online courses, and opportunities for blended learning, students now have an opportunity to learn more efficiently than ever before through E-Learning Software. In order for this to work though, all teachers need to be aware of the best E-Learning Software available. Today, we have a list of superb E-Learning Software tools and websites that you can use as an educator to get the most out of your students this year. When you are not in the mood for an overview of 30 E-learning Software tools, but rather have some brief advice on how to choose have a look at our article on Chooising Authoring Software.
Online Presenting – When learning online, students need to be provided with multimedia presentations rather than sitting taking notes from a lecture. In order to stay engaged, different types of media are required and we have a list of online E-Learning Software tools that provide exactly this. After online tools, we will also be looking into various other e-learning software for you to utilize.
Jing ($14.95 per/yr) – Considering Jing also has a free version, it is a great way to record up to five minutes of video. In this time, you can respond to essays, talk about grammatical issues, and whatever else needs to be discussed. Whenever required, this tool will record your screen and even a microphone.
Camtastia ($299) – Again, this is a screen capture tool and e-learning software that will allow you to record tutorials, explanations, and responses to work. In truth, you could record a video about nearly anything and it will keep the attention of the student because they won’t be accustomed to listening to you in this way.
Audacity (Free) – Although this tool does not record the screen, it will record your voice which is great for grading comments and even lectures. When the students have an audio file, they are more likely to get started on the work earlier because they can listen whilst completing other tasks. Whether they are making dinner or visiting the gym, they can listen without having to sit down and dedicate whole sections of time.
Screencast ($9.95 per/mth) – Essentially, this is a hosting site that allows you to keep videos in one place. Sometimes, using a learning management system to embed videos can be hard work but sharing videos to an online platform is easier for everyone involved. If you need to embed videos into blogs, emails, and websites, this is easily achieved.
Edmodo (Free) – As a collaboration platform, you could form educational groups where they can share documents and review each other’s work. With key similarities to a learning management system, it can be very useful and easy to use thanks to social media linking and mobile access.
Gabcast ($0.10 per/min) – Using your phone or VoIP, this website allows you to create audio files without the need for a microphone. After dialling the number, the audio can be recorded and the files are all saved to the Gabcast website. From here, students access the files for feedback on essays or various other discussion points. With five minutes of free recording for new users, this is yet another great way to utilize technology in the classroom.
Online Engaging – With these E-Learning Software tools, we are off to a great start but we also need to discuss the importance of engaging students online. In addition to providing them with great resources, teachers should also interact and allow students to interact with each other so we have a short list of web applications for this job.
PBWorks ($799 per/yr) – In truth, the two options we have in this small sub-section are very similar. With PBWorks, wikis can be developed efficiently and this can be a powerful tool for peer reviews and even revision. As well as seeing what changes have been made, students can also have their own input on topics.
Buzzword ($14.00 per/mth) – As a collaboration system, documents can be created and all users can collaborate. Whether this helps to draft compositions, receive feedback, or go through extensive editing, it enables all of these tasks to happen in one place which keeps the process efficient.
Peer Review – In this next section, you move away from students just commenting when errors are seen with punctuation and grammar. Instead, they can review in detail alongside the two previous E-Learning Software. Once students are allowed to do this, writing skills will instantly be linked with critical thinking skills. Furthermore, teachers will have an opportunity to create questions and require a minimum word count. With this in place, students will need to really think about their essay.
PollEverywhere (Tiered Pricing) – As the name suggests, this E-learning Software tool is a great way to have students respond to polls before then discussing the results as a group. Rather than buying expensive clickers, this tool uses voting systems via the web, texting, and social media so it couldn’t be easier. Additionally, polls can be embedded into e-learning software with ease.
Mindomo (Tiered Pricing) – With this tool, you can create mind-maps online and this is a common trend these days. With the program, the brainstorm is presented visually which students find easier to share with their colleagues and teachers. Rather than having lots of text, the visuals keep things simple so this is a great way to keep students engaged whilst explaining difficult concepts. Although this tool (like some other tools we mention is not entirely E-learning Software, it is still worth mentioning).
Crazy Talk ($50-$150) – If you really want to get a laugh and grab the attention of the class, Crazy Talk allows you to insert a picture and watch as they move and talk. Although it might get a few laughs, the students will also learn without even realizing.
Fix8 (Free) – Sticking with the animation theme, this program works with avatars and characters. Using Mobinex, you can create a talking avatar and it only requires the software with a webcam. Once again, it will keep the class engaged and the classmates can discuss and share.
Site Pal ($10 per/mth) – Finally, this is a much quicker solution than Crazy Talk but it follows the same premise. If you have an important announcement, you can make it more engaging with moving avatars that talk.
Feedback – If students are to see success within the education system, they need feedback for their work. However, this feedback needs to be efficient too so we have some tools that teachers can use for fast responses to student writing. If you combine more than one, grading can become interactive and powerful as opposed to mundane and boring.
SafeAssign (Free) – As long as you are a Blackboard Enterprise client, you can get this E-Learning Software tool for free and it is a quick way to check work. Although there are sites that are completely free with no sign-up or other program required, they run checks against websites as opposed to resource databases.
Turnitin (Quote Required) – At first, Turnitin was a huge anti-plagiarism site but it has been developed in recent years and now includes grading and teaching sections. For the students, they can upload their own work, check for plagiarism, and then learn ways to make their work more unique. Just like the previous option, Turnitin checks against full databases and teachers can use it for citation and electronic grading. Furthermore, there are also options for peer reviewing too.
Learn Central (Free) – Essentially, this is a web conferencing tool and it is superb for providing feedback on the writing of students. Although some people use Skype and the like, Learn Central is more complete and has various other tools that come in handy.
Grademark (Quote Required) – For most teachers that use this, they struggle to stop because you can copy comments into an essay. As a part of Turnitin, you can create your own personalized comments and rubrics to reduce the amount of time you spend grading.
Before we head into the next section, we should also mention Adobe Captivate, Jing, and Camtasia which also work for this purpose but have already been mentioned. When you receive an assignment, you can record a response with your comments and return it as a more efficient way of doing it manually.
Writing Resources – With the invention of the internet and technology, we are always looking out for methods of completing tasks in less time. For example, there are now tools that assist with resourcing, grammar, and writing. From everything we have here today, these are some of the most useful tools because they get used every single day. As an educator, you need to make sure your spelling and grammar is correct at all times.
OWL – As a free online E-Learning Software tool, it has been produced by the team at Purdue University and it helps both students and lecturers. For the latter, PowerPoints are available regarding literary analysis, research papers, and the basics of good grammar. For students, they can get instructions for outlines, citing sources, essays, research, and more. In addition to all this, they also have a blog which provides a great read with every post.
Dictionary – Of course, we aren’t just suggesting you pick up a dictionary but rather visit the website of the same name. With definitions for every word, you will also see Latin roots, multiple definitions, examples of the word in a sentence, and even synonyms for the word. When reading or writing, this is useful to have by your side.
Bartleby – Whenever you need to know a piece of information, Bartleby is your solution. Whether it is the exact date of birth for William Shakespeare or the name of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first novel, this site has it all.
Visuwords – If you prefer to learn visually, this is an alternative to Dictionary because you can see definitions and similar words within a matter of seconds. As they are color-coded, it can be easier to assess for grammar lessons or to work with Dictionary.
Richard’s Grammar & Composition Blog – Although it is a blog, you shouldn’t go into this with any preconceptions as it is actually a fantastic resource to have by your side. Essentially, it connects grammar and writing with the modern world. If there are some topics considered ‘boring’, it can be brought into the real-world with examples.
The Norton Field Guide to Writing – Before you skip this one entirely, it no longer requires a textbook and payment. Instead, it provides links to guides, essays, exercises, and research for various topics. Therefore, it can be used by both students and teachers to improve grammar knowledge and applicable skills.
EasyBib – To finish, we have two citation software and this is a tricky area because not all are accurate and therefore useful. However, EasyBib is one of the best and many teachers allow their students to use this tool because it is so accurate and available for no charge.
Research and Documentation Online – As the second piece of citation software, it works as a handbook and assists in documenting all work. Once again, many teachers allow the use of this because it is quick and efficient.
Writing Inspiration – Finally, we have a section that provides inspiration to students and instructors. Sometimes, writing is hard enough but reading and assessing other’s work is tiresome and demotivating. After taking a look at these, it is then up to you whether you choose to pass them on or keep them as your own haven!
UMW Blogs – Hosted by the University of Mary Washington, users post various blogs and videos that can come in handy for brainstorming and the presentation of essays.
Opposing Views – When writers first sit down with a blank document in front of their eyes, it can be difficult knowing what to write about but Opposing Views provides a solution. All in all, the site boasts information and debates regarding the latest events in the world, politics, and also holds all sorts of polls.
Worldle – Although PowerPoint presentations are a fantastic tool when talking to a whole group of students, they can sometimes lose the attention of the masses. When this occurs, Worldle is on hand to provide word clouds.
Academic Earth – If you’re looking for inspiration, this is brilliant as it holds a whole database full of video lectures on nearly every topic you could dream. From engineering to literature, scan through and find something that takes your fancy.
Google Author Talks – Finally, we have a tool that holds video conversations with authors discussing their creative processes and the top tips from people who have been there and got the t-shirt.
Summary – There we have it, 30 tools, most of which E-learning Software that you can use as an educator or pass onto your students. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, to engage the students a little more, or help with your writing skills, you should find something to help on this list!