Technology Toolbox

This section contains our collection of recommended technology tools. The tools listed in this section are mostly free and open-source tools, which have been used consistently and successfully by our instructors and students.

Communication and Collaboration

Browse our list of tools to help you bolster instructor-student and student-student communication and collaboration.

Mind Meister: Online Collaborative Mind Mapping

MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool that lets you capture, develop and share ideas visually. It is designed for brainstorming, note taking, project planning and tons of other creative tasks. MindMeister is completely web-based, which means there's no download and no updating! Whether you're working on Windows, Mac OS or Linux, you can always access your mind maps right inside the web-browser.

Trello: Board Based Content Organizer

Trello is a list of lists filled with cards, used with a team or by yourself. Drag and drop cards between lists to show progress. Add as many people as you need and drag them to cards. Add and reorder lists as needed. You'll see everything about your project just by glancing at the board, and it all updates in real-time.

Popplet: Online Collaborative Mind Mapping

Prezi

Available on both the iPad and the web, you can create Popplet boards and access them from either platform.Students use Popplet for learning in the classroom and at home. Used as a mind-map, Popplet helps students think and learn visually. Students can capture facts, thoughts, and images and learn to create relationships between them.

RealTime Board: Online Whiteboard

Realtime Board is a collaborative online whiteboard that connects with Google Drive. Multiple users can work on a whiteboard simultaneously and see one another's work progress. Work created through this application is automatically saved into Google Drive.

Google Hangout: Video Calls and Screen Sharing

Google

Google Hangouts is Google's free video-conferencing tool. It serves as a great alternative to Skype. Up to 10 participants can join a Google Hangout at a time. Host office hours online and connect your classroom with other classrooms anywhere in the world.

See the Google Hangout Guide for Teachers for a step-by-step guide for using Google Hangout, as well as class ideas.

Google Docs: Collaborative Document Editor

Google

Google Docs allows users to create and edit docs, spreadsheets, and presentations in their browser. Multiple people can work at the same time, and changes are saved automatically. You will need a Google account to access this app.

Record audio feedback within Google Docs

Presentations

Familiarize yourself with presentation tools that go above and beyond PowerPoint.

Office Mix: Interactive PowerPoint

Smart1

Office Mix is a free add-in for PowerPoint. It is a solution from Microsoft that makes it easy for educators to create and share rich, interactive lessons. Mixes play like screencasting, web videos, but with support for animations, live links and more.

Below is a demonstration for creating content for a flipped classroom using Office Mix.

Prezi: Web-based Presentation Software

Prezi

Prezi uses similar concept as PowerPoint for content presentation. It is a web-based application combines motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to engage students.

Video and Audio

Use these tools to create easy videos and audio clips. Produce podcasts, screen-casts, and more.

Screencast-O-Matic: Screen & Webcam Recording

Screencast-O-Matic is a screencast tool which has both web-based and desktop versions. It's very easy to use and will run so long as you have Java installed on your computer. It has free video hosting and allows you to record your screen or both your screen and webcam. You may also publish your output directly to YouTube.

The free versions of Screencast-O-Matic has limited features though. For instance, there's a 15-minute recording time limit, there's a small watermark when recording, it doesn't allow webcam-only recording and it doesn't allow you to zoom and annotate while recording.

For webcam-only recording, you can consider using Photobooth on MAC, or browser based application Webcamera.io.

Zaption: Interactive Video Lessons

Zaption is a web based application that transforms videos as interactive experiences. Add images, text, quizzes and discussions to private videos as well as those from YouTube and Vimeo to create a "learning tour."

Moovly: Animated Videos

Moovly is an online application that allow you to build animated content using a library of content.

Powtoon: Animated Videos

PowToon aims to create the world's most minimalist, user friendly and intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional "look and feel" animated presentations.

Tellagami: Quick Animated Character Video

Tellagam is a fun, new way to share animated messages. Customize your character. Change its mood or outfit. Record your voice or add dialogue. Then share your Gami video.

Audacity: Record and Edit Audio

audacity

Audacity is a free open source digital audio editor and recording computer software application, available for Windows, OS X, Linux and other operating systems. It is very simple to record, edit, and publish audios for your course.

Audio Cutter/Joiner: One Step Audio Editing

Smart1

If you only need simple audio editing, or wish to use one portion of a long audio file, Audio Cutter is a web-based application that provides a three-step solution. You may choose an audio file from your local drive, dropbox, google drive, or an online source.

Smart1

If you wish to merge multiple tracks into one audio file instead, Audio Joiner is the simple web-based solution to do so.

Video Editing Software

Once you have created the video content, you may want to make some edits before publishing them for your course. Depending on your platform, you may choose Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie for your editing needs.

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker is a great way to get started on creating short simple videos. Users are often beginners who wish to acquire the basic movie making skills. Because the application has a simple design and options, it is great for one shot clips and photo slide shows.


Apple iMovie

iMovie is rich in options for both beginners and advanced users. Not only it is free, it has a large library and is easy to use. It has the ability to edit multiple video tracks, great for educational interviews, activity videos and more.

Video Format Converter

Depending on the platforms and applications you use to make your video, you could end up with a variety of different file formats. It is important to keep in mind that not all formats are compatible cross-platform. If you are making a video for your course, we strongly recommend converting it to .mp4 format before embedding it within the OWL platform

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Video Converter is a free web-based tool that converts almost any media format to MP4, AVI, MPEG, FLV, 3GP. It also extracts sound from video and can correct video resolution.

Embed Audio/Video in OWL

Once you are done editing your audio or video, you may export them and publish to your students within OWL.

To do so, click Add Content >Embed Content on Page within Lessons tab.

The following image demonstrates embedding an audio file created in Audacity.

audacity

Other eLearning Tools

Explore alternative media creation tools for creating info-graphics, interactive images, and more.

Wordle: Generate Word Clouds

wordle

Wordle is a toy for generating "word clouds" from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to your own desktop to use as you wish.

Timeline creator: Build Interactive Timelines

timeline

TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines like the sample above. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS's core functionality.

Click here to create your own interactive timeline.

ThingLink: Add Rich Media to Photos

thinglink

ThingLink is an interactive media platform that empowers publishers, educators, brands, and bloggers to create more engaging content by adding rich media links to photos and videos.

Pixton Comics: Make a Storyboard or Comic

Pixton is a web-based story-telling application, allows users to create comics and storyboards without previous knowledge. It is a creative way for students to demonstrate their understanding.

Piktochart: Infographic Design App

pikto

Piktochart is an easy infographic design app that requires very little effort to produce beautiful, high quality graphics.