Tools to Encourage Interactive Learning and Discussion

Many free tools exist that allow for amazing synchronous and asynchronous reflection and discussion and take advantage of integrating student-owned devices.  We’ll explore the power of collaborative writing and discussion tools to increase engagement and participation for online and hybrid courses.

 Padlet is a free, web-based collaboration tool that allows for privacy  settings and personalized page options.  It's a terrific tool for posting  thoughts and reflections for sharing in real time as an alternative to  discussion boards.  Note that Padlet does not allow responding to  other posts.  Each post is independent and can include text and  image/video/website.  This makes it an easy way to have students share resources. Click here for tips on using Padlet.


  TitanPad allows for collaborative writing on a public page or through signing up for a private space.  This tool enables real time collaboration with 8 different author colors to keep track of changes. The timeslider feature allows you to see the collaboration history.  The account administrator can create other user accounts for private use. Click here for tips on using TitanPad.


  SpiderScribe is a collaborative mind-mapping tool that can  be shared via link or email or embedded in a website.  Easily add text, files, images, maps, and events.  Click here for a video tutorial on using SpiderScribe. Tap under the video to choose different topics.


Google Docs is the most well known and widely used real time collaborative writing tool, but most people who use it don't realize half of the tools it offers.  Let's take a look at some recent additions and hidden tools in Google Docs.  Click here to view a video tutorial of Google Docs.  Click here to learn about other features such as the bookmark, table of contents, personal dictionary, translate, and modes tools. 


Screencast-o-matic is a free and simple to use screencasting tool that allows you to select the portion of           

                                                                           your screen you want to record and allows for a 15 minute recording.  You can also stop and edit over  

                                                                            any mess-ups along the way.  Click here to learn how to use the tool.

EDpuzzle enables you to embed questions in video clips to improve the use of video in the classroom. 


Kahoot is a competition-style formative assessment tool that is truly fun and engaging.

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