by Koen Timmers Expert Educator Columnist, Belgium I strive to a paperless classroom. My students don’t receive any printed textbooks when a new school year takes off. Apart from the ecological reason, printed textbooks would be outdated from the beginning, as I offer project based learning. That’s why I decided 5 years ago to create my courseware while I teach. OneNote is the tool that enables all this content creation. My students get 30 minutes of introduction how to install and use OneNote. They can choose to use the software or webapp. They also get a quick guide. I share my OneNote document with 3 different classes. While I teach my students how to create a website, I paste screenshots in my OneNote document. Instead of drawing schemes on the blackboard, I draw them in the document. One section is called “collaboration”. My students can add wishes or comments, newly found sources or own written tutorials in this section. It’s wonderful to see this document and thus my courseware grow by the participation of my …
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by Koen Timmers Expert Educator Columnist, Belgium Fourteen years ago, I started my lesson by searching for chalk. Nowadays, I sip on my coffee and play a short fragment of Jimi Hendrix. Welcome to the world of distance learning! My school started a blended learning project, more than 5 years ago. My students are attending 50% of their lessons in the classroom and the rest at home. This miracle is enabled by some tools. Never heard of Lync? Microsoft Lync is a web conferencing tool which allows people to set up meetings, online workshops and even distance learning. By using screen, microphone and webcam, students and teacher can see and hear each other. Screen sharing allows students to pick up the information their teacher is sharing with them. Lync allows synchronous distance learning but it has more to offer. By recording lessons, ill or weaker students can catch up. The chat allows to share urls, or pieces of code. By setting up a whiteboard, teachers and students can use annotating tools to brainstorm, instruct or collaborate.
by Koen Timmers Expert Educator Columnist, Belgium Sway and I, it was love at first sight. As a teacher, I saw educational opportunities and as a web designer, I instantly loved its ease of use. Sway offers the opportunity to create trendy onepagers in the blink of an eye. The attractive user-interface ensures a fast result. Sway is a webapp; this means you don’t need to install software, don’t need to constantly hit save, yet still have access to your sways at all places. No more resizing images or putting them in place– Sway takes care of it all. What’s even more exciting is Sway will soon also be available as an app! This page will also give you a quick overview of the app. How exactly do we position Sway? Can we call it a website, a presentation, or perhaps something else? David Alexander, member of the Sway team at Microsoft, explains:
by Koen Timmers Expert Educator Columnist, Belgium As I teach web design, students need to have the right images and pieces of code to create a webpage. At first, I shared these files on our school’s intranet network, which of course can’t be accessed by students who weren’t able to attend my class. The implementation of cloud services seemed to overcome this problem. OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) solved my problem- all students, including those who happened to be ill, were able to access the needed documents and assignments. After a while I went a step further– I began to share digital courseware on OneDrive. As a computer science teacher, I strive to create a paperless classroom. I believe digital courseware can offer a lot of benefits and opportunities. Using digital courseware over paper takes some time to be accustomed to; ten years ago, only one student in a large group preferred a digital course. Nowadays, only one student prefers to receive a paper version.
by Koen Timmers MIE Expert, Belgium For 14 years I’ve been teaching ICT (web design) at CVO Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Since the beginning, I’ve been passionate about e-learning and decided to post all courseware and tutorials on my own website zelfstudie.be. Today, more than 18,000 members have access to nearly 9000 pages of courseware and external authors are publishing their own courseware to the public at large; it’s a digital educational library which is growing each day.