5 GREAT TOOLS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING COMPUTER APPLICATIONSPosted on October 7, 2014liamstel

1. Teaching Tool

As a web design teacher there simply isn’t enough emphasis that can be placed on the necessity for your students to understand the importance of cross browser compatibility.
This is where we take the most obvious tool available to us and look it right in the eye. There is a term of phrase widely used which comes to mind,

“Hiding in plain sight”
What am I talking about you ask? ………….. The internet of course!
How can students be expected to learn web design if we can’t teach them how their work will look on-line. I’m not talking about the internet in its basic form I’m talking about the internet as it has become known in the eyes of the masses. By this I mean the browser they use. There are so many devices out there in the hands of people who couldn’t care less about the browser installed, they just want fast access to “pretty” “organised” information.
So here it is “ Use the internet to teach your students how their page looks in all major browsers”.
There is a maze of browsers out there but the main ones can’t be overlooked.
Safari , Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Google chrome the list goes on. I can’t give you the whole internet in a pretty package but this will help … get your students on tohttp://www.oldapps.com/category/browsers have them download as many browsers as they like and test every page in each one. If it looks the same Success! If it doesn’t then teach them Every CSS tag, every trick and every tool to satisfy each and every browser , one by one, so that they never fail as a designer no matter who looks at their work and on what device.

2. Teaching Tool

Continuing the theme of teaching computer applications there is a need to keep your students engaged with displays they follow and presentations they admire.
Focus the attention of your class on the task and your half way to making them remember what they need to know. They can’t remember it if they aren’t seeing it.
So, you want to teach your new word processing class the basics! You know you have to show them the visuals and make it stick in their mind. But How? Bingo! a visual presentation from start to finish linked like a walk down a garden path with visual references along the way.

Screenshot Of Popplet in action
Screenshot Of Popplet in action

Screenshot Of Popplet in action
Picture it!
File ……… Open in front of their very eyes with a screenshot of the file tab then the open link accompanied by some graphics like the “filing cabinet picture”. Repeated, step by step, until they know it all. Imagine you only need to click your keyboard arrow to display the absolute fundamentals of this process. In plain easy to understand eye-catching graphics that will remain embedded in your students minds forever. Walk and talk them through it.
Imagine you had this tool at your disposal! Take it another step, imagine class begins in 10 minutes and you didn’t prepare. What do you do?
Imagine no more and get to www.popplet.com for a totally free easy to use system that can give you a graphic interface for your students to learn everything you want to teach them.
This has it all, add text, add graphics (from many sources) add freehand drawings, YouTube videos, change colours and completely customise every portion of your presentation. The best bit is it can be done in minutes.
In my opinion this is an invaluable tool to have by your side for every class you teach.

3. Learning Tool

So your word processing class are a little behind in their keyboard skills and seem unwilling to improve. Lets present them with a learning tool that they will engage with and not feel under pressure to learn.
Dedicate a whole class to this and get them interacting and learning with great ease.
One of my favourite tools for this the interactive game typing race. It’s on-line, its free and its addictive especially to people who are competing with new classmates and peers.
This tool takes the learning process and makes it feel like a game. Your students will potentially spend hours playing outside class and before you know it and before they know it they are totally aware of where every letter is on the keyboard.
Its concept is extremely simple and amazingly effective. The user races an animated car along a cartoon road and stays in the game by typing the letters, words and numbers that appear on the road in front of them. The quicker and more accurately they type the better the score and the longer they stay in the game.
They may tell you they fear the computer. They may tell you they have no understanding of how to do it but make it fun for them and they wont be able to get enough. Get them interested in passing their own personal best and they wont rest until they do. The benefits of this are glaringly obvious they learn, they learn fast and they learn without consciously trying to learn. Success all round in a relatively short space of time.
For a novice keyboard user they start easy and work their way up to an advanced level. This can happen over the course of only a few days and it’s a skill that will stay with them for life. Learning made fun.
here it ishttp://media.abcya.com/games/typing_race_cars/flash/typing_race_cars.swf

Screenshot of typing game
Screenshot of typing game
Screenshot of typing game

4. Learning Tool

CSS Mate is exactly the type of tool that a new student in a web design course wants to be introduced to. If we all had access to tools like this when we were novice web design students we would have sailed through the early stages of cascading style sheet development.
There is nothing out there that can come close, in my opinion, to hands on live and interactive learning experiences. Instant results before your eyes to see what you’re trying to learn come to life.
Starting out trying to learn the basics of CSS can be daunting to any student. However if there is a live portal that shows you the basics then that is a gift in any language.
So what’s so special about CSS Mate? Just about everything really!
Ok honestly! From the point of view of a new student to CSS this simple easy to use interface allows them to, visualise, understand and achieve the basic scripting of CSS commands. From the very basics of inserting font to border and shadow, CSS Mate shows the learner how to script the command so that it replicates what they are trying to achieve.
This gives a visual interface with easy to read text, drop down menus and text boxes where the user can insert, alter and manipulate the content and see the CSS output command. They can also copy and paste this code to their own editor and see it live on-line using any html editor they like.
I believe that, if you want your learners to get up to speed quickly and easily, you have to tell them about CSS mate and let them try it for themselves.
Here it is, so pass it on to your learners, its free.

http://cssmate.com/csseditor.html
Cssmate.com
Cssmate.com

CSSMate.com Screenshot

5. Teaching & Learning tool.

So, what if you want to use technology to help you teach basic word processing or even advanced HTML to your learners and engage them to learn interactively at the same time? One great way to do this is to use a website called https://getkahoot.com/
This is my favourite tool and a tool that gives you enormous scope to engage your learners.
You teach them, they interact and learn.

A simple concept right!
Of course!

Interaction is fun and can create lasting memories in the minds of your learners.
Look at how this works…. You log on to the Kahoot website and create an interactive quiz. lets say you ask 10 word processing based questions. Each question has 4 multiple choice questions and off you go.
The learners take out their smartphones (class computers or tablets ) and log on to the site too, joining your quiz. The questions pop up one at a time. The class choose an answer on their device and the results are displayed instantly at the top of the class on the projector!
Amazing right? See where the learning comes in? You give them the question, they choose the answer. If they get it right fantastic, if they don’t the right answer is presented to them after each question.

You teach they learn! All with the aid of an interactive website.
Take it a step further and create an interactive discussion or survey. Use images to add to the interactive experience.
Use it to run instant “pop quiz” style activities in any of your classes. From beginners computers to advanced web design there is no end to the ways you can engage your learners. In any computer application class this single website can assist and enhance the teaching and learning experience with its flawless simplicity.