online supplements, apps, and extensions

  1. Digital extras are usually meant for face-to-face classrooms, so they are rarely useful for the all-online classroom. Their inputs and outputs are often designed to be displayed on digital whiteboards, in-class devices, and so on.
  2. Just like in a face-to-face classroom, teachers must consider the tradeoffs. Teachers will have to learn how to use the website or app, and because they only have so much time, they’ll have to take that time away from the time they’ve currently devoted to doing assessment, doing feedback, and reaching out to students. So, when adding in “extras,” the question is, “Is it really worth it?” Often, teachers are better off refining teacher talk (extra important online), improving concept presentation, making connections with students, and so on.
  3. Overwhelming students with the number of locations and gadgets and apps is easy to do. Teachers will spend significant time teaching students where to locate materials in the online classroom. Adding multiple websites? Students (and parents) would be overwhelmed.
  4. Why would teachers use something that doesn’t directly improve student learning? Very rarely do shiny new websites or apps have any evidence to support learning. If it’s not directly useful in improving student learning, then it has no place in your classroom.

Think twice before adding to your class. Content, not context.

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