Modern students can study in different ways: in a large class, individually with a teacher, remotely, or even independently. And distance learning takes a special place here. It has many advantages and is an excellent alternative to the classic lessons. However, it also comes with several drawbacks that can jeopardize the success of the whole idea. In practice, both students and teachers face serious difficulties that prevent successful learning:
- Difficulty in adapting to the online format of learning — moving from traditional classroom learning to an online learning hub makes the process completely different and decreases its effectiveness;
- Low computer literacy — the lack of computer literacy is a serious problem in the modern world that has affected both students and teachers;
- Not knowing the basics of time management – the freedom that the online learning format offers often decreases one’s vigilance and creates a false sense of time. Distance education puts higher demands on discipline and self-organization;
- Poor self-motivation — a lack of motivation is a common problem for the majority of students. The online format requires a lot of discipline and dedication to complete assignments on your own, stay motivated and make progress.
Obviously, there are many advantages of e-learning; however, distance education still results in some problems. So how to make the transition from offline to online learning as effective as possible? How to build a distance learning system without the need to spend days on end only to get middle-level marks in the end?
Digital Solutions for Distant Learning Systems
Many people believe that modern technologies change the world for the worse: the internet separates people from each other and mobile games are the main enemy of good academic performance. Despite the fact that we are often distracted by messages on social networks, the internet can still be used to the benefit of ourselves and our studies. Software and web developers have done a lot to make life easier for students. And the royal selection of the following remote tools for distance learning students will prove how modern technology can work for (and not against) you.
Have a complex task assigned to you? Do not know how to solve a particular assignment? This is what modern students struggle with. Distance learning complicates the situation since your contact with classmates and tutors is reduced, and you cannot just sit and work on the task together. If it is the problem that you are faced with, then Scribble will be of great service to you. The remote learning tool allows you to create an online whiteboard where you can work together with your friends. Create a board with the assignment to wrestle with, outline key task specs and ask for some help.
Individual boards can always be shared with other app users through special device-sharing options. There is a unique ID code for each board, and you just need to share it with your friends so that they can view the board and draw on it with their own device. Apart from a simple board creating/editing feature, users can also talk to or see the person they are drawing with, but a phone or a video chatting app is needed for that. Scribble Together Whiteboard works well on a wide range of devices and is compatible with Pencil. The solution works instantly, so you do not need to wait in order to see what other people draw on your board.
There is nothing better than having all the lecture materials stored on your PC or in a shared place in MP4 or any other format. And this is especially true with a distance learning routine. If you want to ensure that important lecture information is on your radar, then Movavi Video Suite will come in handy for you. This e-learning software is an all-in-one platform that supports all video formats and will help you with the following tasks:
- Basic video editing operations — trim, copy, paste, join and cut clips;
- Basic audio editing operations — noise suppression, increase/decrease the volume of an audio track, sound amplification, etc.;
- Basic video converting operations — convert video files to more than 180 formats, compress videos without quality loss;
- Working with the timeline — changing the speed of a clip, changing the scale, rotating a clip in space, working with a chroma key, adding animation, text, highlighting individual sections of a clip, etc.
- Recording your screen — capturing sound, desktop and webcam video.
Movavi Video Suite is a great software for video editing that allows you to create video lectures compatible with a wide range of devices. The best thing about the program is that it works with a huge number of formats and video filters that will significantly improve the quality of the video you get. It can be a very useful program even for beginners who do not have in-depth knowledge of video production or editing. In the service pack, you will find detailed instructions and video tutorials for using the application — so you will hardly have any problems with this software.
Zoom is one of the most popular university platforms for online learning. The free pack of this learning software allows you to add up to 50 participants and hold conferences up to 40 minutes long. Anyone with a link or conference ID can join it with a click. The conference can be scheduled in advance, or you can even set it up as a recurring event accessible through the general login link. This video conferencing software is great for individual and group lessons; students can enter a conference from either a computer, tablet or even a mobile phone.
The key features of the program are as follows:
- Video and audio communication with each participant — the meeting organizer can mute/unmute the microphone, disable the video or request that all participants turn on a webcam;
- Limitless communication possibilities — you can share the screen with sound if you need to. It is possible to share individual applications without sharing the entire screen. For example, you can enable a browser demonstration without allowing other conference participants to see what’s happening on your machine;
- Active participation of all users — an interactive whiteboard is integrated into the platform. You can easily switch from screen sharing to whiteboard, where everyone can leave their notes and inputs;
- Advanced file-sharing system — there is a chat where you can write messages, transfer files to everyone, or select just one student. The chat can be set to be automatically saved or saved manually at each meeting as per your needs;
- Video recording functions — you can record a lesson to either a computer or the cloud. It is even possible to configure the auto-start recording and pause it at any time.
There is no need to purchase a paid Zoom subscription. You can get a free pack and test its functionality before actually paying money for the program.
GroupMe is a free service for organizing group communication. The platform provides advanced functionality for sending messages to group chats or SMS to any individual app user. The messaging app works on any device thanks to applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. If you have any updates to share with your school/college classmates, just bring them to the chat. The program is free for any number of participants, which makes it available to a wide range of people.
The software allows you to send text messages, put likes, add emojis, share photos and videos, enable geolocation, etc. The system provides for the creation of group/private chats and the ability to disable notifications. SMS messages from GroupMe can be sent from the laptop and computer without installing additional applications; you just need to specify the subscriber’s number and that’s it. The program allows you to use simple global commands to manage your contact lists (change the group name, add and remove a member, perform bulk mailing). The service is especially useful for personal communication with classmates. The same refers to solving complex academic tasks together with your classmates and keeping track of the homework pipeline.
Created a presentation and want to get feedback from your friends or tutor? There is probably no easier way to do so than through Prezi. This presentation software allows you to create, edit and share your presentations in a couple of clicks. It can only take a couple of minutes to develop a presentation; the service will help you make the final touches and polish the file.
Instead of slides, Prezi users have special fields presenting all the key information so that it can be further distributed in the right order for the convenience of the audience. All elements are available for zoom, rotation and other effects. The development company regularly improves the product. Now you can find and insert photos from Google into your presentation without leaving Prezi. There is even a function for those who wish to transfer their presentation from PowerPoint — Prezi will save you from this hassle.
What does Prezi do?
- Create and share beautiful presentations;
- Create various projects from scratch;
- Work on the project from different devices simultaneously;
- Access to a professionally designed set of color themes and templates;
- Customize and save your own templates;
- Embed YouTube videos with a built-in search function;
- Easily find a background for your presentation;
- Synchronize the entire archive of presentations on all devices.
The tool allows you to collaborate on a presentation, publish presentations in group channels and save projects for offline display without using the internet. Thanks to the above, Prezi should be on the top list of other study tools for students.
Get the Max Out of Distance Education!
The world is changing, and the future of online education is not an exception. Of course, distance learning is very different from traditional ways of learning, which gives rise to certain problems. But they are easy to solve if you change the attitude toward the online format and have good distance learning tools at hand. After all, it is obvious that e-learning opens the door to great opportunities. Learning to use gadgets not only for fun, becoming flexible, taking responsibility for your knowledge, mastering new standards — these are some of them.