A few days ago, I was helping my friend’s wife, who is doing a Bachelor of Education Degree with the University of Namibia, with her assignment. One question, focusing on the use of ICT in teaching and learning, was very vague but I still had to help her with the best possible solution. As a result, I started searching the net for online teaching and learning tools with an aim of finding out how such tools work.

I did not search for a long a time. Within a few minutes, I stumbled on an article, titled 10 free online tools for teaching and learning, by Louisa Mellor. This article was written three years ago, but when you read it, you will think it is very recent. The tools described in this article are simply awesome!

For instance, Louisa Mellor reports that one of such tools, known as Study Blue, offers revision and assessment facilities for secondary school learners. Users can upload class study materials, create electronic flashcards to study and share with others, and practice quizzes.

Study Blue content can also be accessed freely through mobile apps. According to their website, Study Blue offers the largest and fastest-growing library of online study materials, containing more than 350 million user-generated digital note cards covering every topic from Algebra to Zoology.

Apart from Study Blue, other tools described by Louisa Mellor are as follows: Wallwisher, Prezi, AnimotoWordle, Storybird, Popplet, Google DocsDipity, and Storify. I have briefly looked at all these tools. They are all unique in their own ways. Whether you are an educator, parent, or learner, I encouraged you to spare some time to look at them and see the one which would be the best for you, your children, your friends or the community around you.

I advise parents, who are well-to-do, to embrace these tools and introduce them to their children. This can become a smart way for kids to use cell phones. I am told that some of these apps are highly addictive. With the parents’ guidance and direction, the kids would be putting these gadgets and the internet connection at home to good use.

These days, there are free parental apps to help parents monitor your kids’ online activities and even provide restrictions on online sites they can visit. Once the child becomes used to online teaching and learning tools, parents may even leave the smart phone with a child for some time for them to study online.

Parents are also supposed to check what the child is studying on a regular basis. It is even possible for the parent to collaborate with the child’s teacher in setting and checking the goals for the child when he is studying online. This smart use of smart phones that can revolutionise our education systems.

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