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.