Nowadays, education is farmed in a multimedial and digital context, in which the technological and web tools are an essential resource to improve learning and to engage students.
How to create engaging multimedia content, web sites, blogs and e-learning platforms to support distance and blended learning?
During the one-week training course, which took place from 01/08 to 07/08 in Palermo (Sicily), the teachers and the education staff had the opportunity to learn how to create improve their skills related to e-learning, distance learning and web design.
Capturing the attention of students is a great challenge! Knowing how to exploit the potential of digital tools is a resource that we cannot underestimate, but that we must enhance it within school contexts.
The aim of this course was to improve the use of ICT in education by empowering teachers, trainers, headmasters and other educational staff to teach with the support of web platforms and technological tools.
The two main cloud-based web platforms that were explored to support e-learning and distance learning were Weebly and EdModo.
Weebly is a web platform that allows you to easily customize web page designs through useful tools. The educational staff learned how to create their own engaging website, practicing with the different tools that the platform offers. These tools allow the users to add different pages,to give a structure to the web site, to add a photo gallery, to upload a video, to add a survey or a test in a website, etc.
The use of Weebly at school is essential for creating a website to share activities and materials with students and to encourage students to create their own website in relation to educational topics.
On the other side, Edmodo is a social learning community that provides educational resources for teachers and students. This platform allows to create a set of Classes that supports the teaching schedule and that allows teachers to organize the learning material online; once the teaching schedule is set up, it is possible to invite the students to join the classes, start to assess with quizzes and to engage with anonymous polls and collaborative discussions.
Therefore, using Edmodo , the participants learned how to set up and manage an e-learning platform and how to involve students and parents in the learning process, giving to education an extra dimension, more technological and motivational.
The teachers also explored the use of some tools for editing photos, for creating collages and for video-editing, like Snapseed, Photogrid, Magisto and PowToon. These tools are useful for the creation of multimedia material, to be included on websites or to be used for distance learning. In this way, the educational staff learned how to create and edit multimedia content which is useful to boost learners’ motivation through engaging and attractive materials.
Additional useful web platforms, apps and e-learning tools to enable distance and blended learning are Mentimeter, an online interactive and creative presentation software, Socrative, an app for classroom engagement which allows to monitor the learning, to assess, to wrap up the lessons and to create instant student feedback, TedEd and Edpuzzle, two platforms for teachers and students which can be used to create a lesson or activity around a video adding voiceovers and questions on videos taken from Youtube or other sources, and to create interactive video lessons.
On the other side, through the cultural activities, which took place in the Arab-Norman sites of Palermo, in the ancient village of Cefalù and in the beautiful Monreale, the participants had the opportunity to know each other and create an intercultural network. In conclusion, it was a productive and stimulating week, and the integration of training and culture created a climate of development and growth, not only with regard to knowledge and skills, but also from a relational and personal point of view!