Archive | June 2011

Cool Tools to Liven Up The Classroom

I just read an article in T&D Magazine titled “Beef Up Your Training Toolbox with Web Tool.” The author, Mary E. Green, offered suggestions for how you can use web tools to increase engagement in the traditional classroom. The article inspired me to look at what is on my Cloud Apps page that may also be helpful to the classroom trainer. Here is what I pulled from the page that I think would be great to use in the traditional classroom. Plus, they are all free.

Cartoons (also suggested by Green) – A funny cartoon can liven up the class. The following allow you to make your own that you can use in the classroom.
DoInk
ToonDoo

Charts, Diagrams, and Data – Explain it in a chart using the apps below. Plus, you will be surprised how much supporting information you may find in the Google Public Data Explorer.
Cacoo (create diagrams)
ChartGo (create charts)
Google Public Data Explorer (Create charts and visualizations form public data)

QR Code Generators – Put QR codes in your manuals and on the classroom screen. They can contain text or URLs and is a great way to get additional information and resources to attendees with smart phones.
Kaywa
Snap.vu
YouScan.me

Screencasts – Software trainers, show them how it is done in a screencast that can be shared in the classroom and also accessed later at their convenience. Heck, give them the screencast’s link via a QR code while you are at it. Participants can create their own and use them to share their new skills with others.
Screen-o-Matic
Screenr

Social Bookmarking – Make sure they have all your online resources by giving them one link to all your bookmarks. Plus, when you add additional resources at a later time, they will see them too.
Delicious
Digg
Diigo
Linkpad.me

Social Media – Get a back channel going in the classroom and keep it posted on the screen. Plus, what a great way to continue supporting learners by interacting via social media after the class ends.
Twitter
Yammer
Storify (create stories using social media)

Video – Create your own video and post it, find relevant videos already out there, and/or get your learners to make and share their own video.
TeacherTube
YouTube

These are just the apps I pulled from the Cloud App page. Do you have suggestions of where classroom trainers can find useful online tools for the classroom? If so, feel free to add them to the comment section.

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Making It Over The Wall #LCBQ


Over at the Learning Circuits Blog the Big Question is “How do we break down organizational walls when it comes to learning?” So, here are some practical tips and advice on how to break down the organizational walls.

  • First off, always be on the lookout for opportunities to bring external learning inside the organization. Whether online courses that can be linked to from the LMS or bringing a live training event into the classroom, potential opportunities should always be on your radar.
  • Social media – Right now I am in the midst of encouraging staff to use social media as a learning and teaching tool. This is challenging especially when some staff are reluctant in embracing any new technology. Social media provides access to an immense amount of informal learning and direct access to experts outside the organization walls. My advice, be patient, keep encouraging its adoption, tout the positive results and give it time to catch on.
  • Give staff easily accessible avenues to getting over the wall like links to social bookmarks that contain well organized, tagged, learning opportunities. I also like to plaster QR codes wherever I can that also take staff to these bookmarks or to specific sites relating to subjects relevant to staff.
  • A big barrier for too many organizations is simply getting access outside the firewall especially access to social media. Start selling the powers to be on the benefits of more open access to social media.
  • An issue I have seen at numerous organizations is time limitation for non-exempt staff. In other words, organizations encourage exempt (salaried) staff to take courses during whatever time is convenient to them, but do the exact opposite for non-exempt staff. The reason being organizations do not want to pay staff for possible overtime. Either set aside time for their development within the allotted 40 hours of work time or be willing to pay for their time beyond the 40 hour work week. Remember, your staff deserves, and is well worth, your organization’s investment.
  • Coach staff on their job development. Coworkers should be open to giving advice and coaching fellow coworkers looking for opportunities for development including assisting with finding learning opportunities available outside the organizational wall.
  • How many times has a coworker went to a conference and not shared what they learned or the resources they found? Make sure there are avenues and expectations for this information to be shared. Even if it is as simple as sending an email with links to resources and learning opportunities found.
  • Less we not forget, tuition reimbursement programs greatly encourage staffs’ academic growth. If your organization does not have one, start asking for it. If they do have one, take advantage of it and encourage others to do the same.

Any other suggestions on how to assure learning is not restricted by the organization wall? Add them in the comments section or write a post and let us know at the Learning Circuits Blog.