Tools Tools Tools

There are so many cool tools out there these days that it is hard to keep up and know which ones are best and what it is best used for!  It is so wonderful to have so many options when we reach into the big pot of extending technology and find a tool that will extend our learning even further.  I have some experience working with a number of the tools in the Top 100 tools for learning list compiled by Jane Hart.  The ones I feel that have made learning easier for me are YouTube, Google Docs and Drop box.


YouTube is a video sharing service that allows users to watch videos posted by other users and upload videos of their own. The service was started as an independent website in 2005 and was acquired by Google in 2006. Videos that have been uploaded to YouTube may appear on the YouTube website and can also be posted on other websites, though the files are hosted on the YouTube server.(

This tool can be an invaluable learning tool to any online or regular classroom learning if used correctly.  There is so much fantastic information in this tool just waiting to be shared with our students.  It is great that we can just click on the link and we are able to view many videos and clips that support our lessons and make student learning more exciting.  YouTube is a great way to add videos into an online learning environment, especially if the students may need to watch demonstrations to know how to perform an activity.  It is also a great way to enhance student understanding of something by using a video to support the content of the unit, activity etc.

YouTube would be the R in the SAMR model.  YouTube offers access to videos and clips that once we would never have been able to show our students, because of cost, accessibility and resources.

 Google Docs

A family of Web-based applications from Google that includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, forms creation and cloud storage. Launched in 2006, documents can be uploaded and downloaded in Word, Open Office, RTF, HTML or text formats. Spreadsheets can be uploaded and downloaded in Excel, OpenOffice and comma delimited (CSV) formats. Files can also be downloaded as PDF.(

Google Docs is a fantastic tool when working in groups and you can’t get together to work on a project or assignment.  This tool gives students more opportunities to work on group projects away from school and still be able to collaborate as a group.  Google Docs is such an amazing tool when working in an online learning environment.  I used this tool myself while taking a number of different AQ courses.  We had to work in groups and all members of the course were all over the world.  Some of my groups members were in China, England and on the other side of Ontario.  We were able to work together collaboratively through Google Docs, which I feel helped us to be more successful in our online courses.

Google Docs would be the S in the SAMR model, which stands for Substitution.  When using Google Docs as a word processor, the new technology just replaces the old technology but doesn’t change the task.


Dropbox is cloud storage service that enables users to store files on remote cloud servers and the ability to share files within a synchronized format. It provides an online storage solution powered by cloud computing service model of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Dropbox users are provided by an online storage space hosted on Dropbox accessible anywhere via the Internet. The storage space provides storage for virtually any kind of fie type from documents, images, videos etc.(

This tool offers so much to an online learner!  Students just have to drop assignments, projects and such into the dropbox for their teacher to access.  There is no photocopying, scanning, emailing etc etc.  All the students have to do is save their file to the dropbox and “Voila” the teacher has it!  I feel that this is a great tool for learners, it takes the stress off having to worry about teachers receiving their assignments.  Most dropboxes send out a confirmation email when you have saved an item to it, saving students the worry and stress of their work getting lost in “no man’s land”!

Dropbox would be the A in the SAMR model, which stands for Augmentation.  The dropbox is a form of handing in assignments, but it is more accessible and faster to use then the other old typical ways.



2 thoughts on “Tools Tools Tools

  1. Hi Julie,
    All of these can be used so well in the classroom!
    Just an idea for you to connect Google Docs and Dropbox together: many teachers I work with use Google Classroom. Google Classroom is like a class website where teachers can post work and updates, and students can check it for reminders. A teacher can assign a task, students then work on it in Google Docs and submit it directly as part of the Classroom. It works similarly to Dropbox, except it also allows the teacher to track each student’s submissions and work progress (can check revision history and how long they worked on it). Every student and teacher in my board has a Google Account so this works out very well. If your board has this, you might want to check it out just to eliminate an entire different website!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Julie!

    These are two great tools for working with students at a distance – and f2f!

    Dropbox is an option when we are not using an LMS. We would want to closely check the end-user agreement and make sure we only store items that comply with Ontario information and privacy requirements, as dropbox is not ministry licensed.

    Google Docs, when used within a GAFE environment, does comply with those requirements as OSAPAC has created an addendum for boards to use in their agreements to ensure this.

    Before using tools with students, it’s always best to consult with the employer’s CIO to ensure compliance. Many boards rank tools with green/yellow/red – Use, use with caution, don’t use with students – to assist teachers in making decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

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