Technology is everywhere and with so many tools, sites and apps being easily accessible it is easy to incorporate these into the lessons without putting much thought into it. However, using technology needs to serve a clear purpose: it needs to enhance students’ learning. So when selecting additional tools & Apps for online learning it might be worth to take the 5As into consideration:
1-Assessment: the first thing to check is what your learners will be assessed on at the end of the course so you can create lessons that work towards enabling learning to meet these curriculum aims. You want your lessons to be aligned with the school’s curriculum or test requirements.
2- Aims: based on what learners will be assessed on, we need to select appropriate aims for each lesson to work that towards the assessment criteria. Make sure that lesson aims are realistic and based on your students’ current level and move towards the aim in order to close the gap between where learners are now and where we need them to be at the end of the course.
3- Appropriate activities: choosing activities should be guided by age-appropriacy and the lesson aims you have set. Even though you might like a certain activity, you need to ask yourself if it is really helping learners reach the lesson’s aims? If not, no matter how much you like the activity, omit it and keep it for another day! Then, of course, we need to check if and how those F2F activities can be adapted for the online learning environment. Or look at other tools & Apps that can help you deliver activities…
4- Appropriate technology use- When selecting an additional app or website to enrichen your online lesson with, remember they need to be simple and straightforward for learners to use. You don’t want to spend more time explaining the app than doing the activity! Introduce one new tool at a time and stick with it before introducing something else. Your main consideration in the selection process should be if the tool aids the learning and/ or adds something more to the learning. Be aware of age here as well, some of the tools require learners to sign up online and this can only be done with a family account if learners are under a certain age.
5- Accessible to All learners: If you have learners working on different devices, check out how using that App for your favourite activity works on a tablet, a mobile phone and on a PC and Mac. It can be that there is a difference in functionalities depending on the device. And then, of course, there’s the challenge of slow internet connections! Some apps don’t load easily if the wifi-connection is weak, so be prepared to have a back-up activity ready so learners can still do the task, in particular, if you are planning on flipping your lessons.