Digital Tools for Learner Engagement in the Virtual Classroom – Part 2

Toodledo – An East-to-use Digital Tool

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Recap:

The sudden onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis and the pandemic situation displaced education from the physical environment. This move to online mode of education forced educators to upgrade their technical skills almost overnight and grapple with unfamiliar digital tools and technology to keep learning going.

Certain aspects of the teaching learning process are important, regardless of whether the delivery is face to face or through online classes, such as:

  • ascertaining the level of student interest in the class,
  • helping students set goals according to their individual abilities,
  • giving learners prompt feedback,
  • keeping students motivated,
  • taking formative assessments to check the learners’ understanding of the subject matter.

Even in the virtual environment, peer learning and collaboration[1] has to be enabled to promote the emotional and social development of learners.

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Digital Tools for the Virtual Classroom

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There are plenty of digital tools that would help teachers in the virtual environment.

Many educators are now in the predicament of having to choose from a bewildering plethora of digital tools that claim to make their jobs easier. Budget constraints often mean that tools and software must be free to make them accessible to teachers.

After sifting through the wide variety of digital tools available, I have focused on three tools that would be of valuable assistance to teachers in keeping their learners engaged in the teaching learning process.

The free-to-use version of three digital tools – Toodledo, Mentimeter and Quillionz have been explored, to ascertain their ease of use and ability to meet all the requirements of teachers in empowering learners for goal setting, taking formative assessments, providing feedback and enabling peer learning, so that learners remain engaged in the teaching learning process in the virtual environment.

Operational Definition of Terms

  • Teacher / Educator – a person who teaches or instructs as a profession
  • Student / Learner – a person who is trying to gain knowledge or skill in something by studying, practicing, or being taught
  • Online classes – Instructional experiences using the digital network for interaction, learning and dialogue
  • Virtual environment – an environment that does not require face-to-face meetings in a physical location
  • Digital tools – Software, programs, applications, platforms and resources that can be used with computers, mobile devices or other digital devices and which incorporate text, audio and visual stimuli

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There are many factors in the learning environment, in the learners themselves and in the teachers that impact the effectiveness of the teaching learning process. In the virtual environment, these variables keep shifting, even multiplying.

Only goal setting, formative assessment through quizzes, timely feedback and peer learning have been considered as factors to be studied, from among the many that impact the engagement of learners in the teaching learning process in the virtual environment.

This Post explores the features and uses of Toodledo.

Toodledo

There is a strong connection between goal setting and success.[2] Goal setting enables a reality check that directs the goal setter’s energy towards what is to be achieved based on one’s strengths and weaknesses, taking action to achieve it and course correction when the planned progress veers away from the goal. Setting goals has been linked with higher motivation, self-esteem, self-confidence, and autonomy.[3] 

Toodledo is a digital tool that helps in defining goals clearly, determining the steps to be taken and keeping track of actual progress.

It helps users set their own goals by creating customised ‘To-do’ lists, task folders, structured outlines and tracking their habits.

The user can share information about their goals and work in progress with trusted people who act as goal-buddies, to remain accountable for their performance.

  • Toodledo keeps users self-motivated by creating a hotlist of their most important goals, creating a schedule with deadlines viewable in calendar form.
  • Audible pop-up alarms and ‘sync’ between devices increases the utility and ease of use of Toodledo.
  • Toodledo provides a variety of ‘Sort’ options as per ‘Folders’ or ‘Importance’ assigned to goals or ‘Repeat’ frequency or ‘Start’ date.
  • Tasks can be sorted as per :
  • Alphabetical order;
  • Contexts;
  • Date Added;
  • Date Completed or
  • Date Modified.

Toodledo can display the total number of tasks completed towards each goal with a visual display of what was done in the last 30 days, to check the work done so far and ascertain whether tasks have been accomplished as planned.

The goal-buddy system keeps learners accountable for their work.

The ‘Reminder Notification’ feature reminds them of pending tasks.

Toodledo helps create the conditions for success by helping learners create and sustain healthy habits like goal setting.

The tool works like a personal coach and mentor who is always available to cheer the learner, motivate learners to take responsibility for managing their tasks for goal accomplishment, thereby improving the possibility of success.

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References

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[1] From the 2014 Gates Foundation report, “Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools

[2] A 2015 research study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were more successful in achieving them.

[3] A 2006 research study by Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham revealed that setting goals is linked with self-confidence, motivation and autonomy.

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