Inspire Learning Beyond Your Classroom Walls by Setting Up a Virtual Learning Community

Part of the December 2019 STEM Resources Digital Calendar!

More important than the learning that transpires in our classrooms is the learning we inspire beyond our classroom walls. One way to motivate students to continue using the knowledge acquired in our classes is to set up a virtual learning community. The free web tools below help teachers create a safe online class where students can access learning materials, post their work, and comment on the works of others. These platforms are online and accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week on multiple devices (computers, tablets, mobile devices and Chromebooks). Virtual learning communities enable every student to share their thoughts, ideas, and creativity with their peers in multiple formats, such as text, video, audio, and embedded media. Students are motivated to share more when they see feedback from their classmates, teachers, and parents.

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Free Virtual Learning Environments

Seesaw is the student engagement platform and digital portfolio tool I use with my elementary students. The free version allows teachers to set up 10 classes managed by 2 teachers. Students express their creativity, collaborate and complete tasks with a variety of tools, including the ability to draw, add audio, create videos, add text, take photos, and upload work. Families and peers can leave comments. Teachers can communicate privately with parents in multiple languages.

Google Classroom is a favorite with teachers, because it is quick and easy to set up and integrates with various web tools and apps. Teachers can create classes, distribute assignments, grade and send feedback, and see everything in one place.

Edmodo is another safe platform that enables teachers to share content, distribute assignments and quizzes, award digital badges, and quickly communicate with students and parents. Students can respond to each other’s work and

Canvas is a learning management system that allows teachers to create courses, create quizzes, deliver assignments, set up online discussions, and monitor student progress, absences, and more.

Moodle is an open source learning management system you install on your own server. Moodle offers several free features, such as the ability to create discussions, quizzes, assignments, surveys, and more! Grade and send feedback.

Edublogs is a student blogging platform and virtual classroom that allows students to share and publish their work with classmates, families, and peers worldwide. Edublogs also hosts several student challenges to inspire continuous writing and creativity. The staff offers incredible support to teachers and students.

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To thank you for your sharing, friendship and support over the years I am sharing free tips, learning resources, web tools and apps for 25 days in my Digital December STEM Advent Calendar. Just click on the calendar below and a post will appear for that day. NOTE! The post will not appear until that day. If you enjoy these resources, then take one of my fully accredited continuing education and graduate online courses or check out my latest book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions!

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