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Recommended Learning Tools

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Recommended Teaching Tools for Faculty

Are you interested in using free, third-party Web 2.0 tools in your course but don't know where to start? This is a shortlist of tools that many web educators (including the A&II team at SMU) use and recommend.

Each tool displays links to the online help materials, but Googling your error messages is a way to solve common problems with widely used tools like this.

Feel free to explore and send us your suggestions to add to this collection. We are especially interested in discipline-specific, medical apps that are commonly used in your field. You an also read more about how a tool makes this list.

Classroom Technology

Canvas LMS

Canvas LMS
iOS| Android | Web
Stay in touch with your Canvas courses on your phone, tablet, or the web. Get announcements, assignment reminders, read course materials and submit assignments on the go. You can always access Canvas from your mobile browser, but it’s nice to have the app, too.
Canvas Mobile Phone Guide for Students
Canvas Guides

 

Canvas SpeedGrader for Faculty

Canvas SpeedGrader
iPad | Web
Grade student work quickly and efficiently in the cloud from your iPad or web browser. This tool supports grading, commenting, rubrics, and video comments. HIghly recommended for faculty who want a simpler way to provide prompt feedback to students.
How do I use the SpeedGrader™ for iPad app?
How do I use SpeedGrader on the Web?
Search for 'SpeedGrader' in the Canvas Guides

 

Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus LDB
Mac| Windows
Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment for online exams in Canvas, disabling students' ability to copy/paste, visit other websites, or take screenshots. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and is installed on all SMU computer lab computers. Instructors may require Lockdown Browser for certain exams in Canvas.
Respondus LockDown Browser Guide for Faculty
Instructor's Quick Start Guide

TurnItIn

Turnitin
Web| In Canvas
Turnitin is web-based collaborative writing solution that includes three powerful functions: plagiarism prevention, peer reviewing, and online grading for papers and essays. It provides simple tools to ensure that students are doing original work, and gives faculty a powerful toolkit of commenting features for annotating student submissions.

Turning Point Clickers

Turning Point Clickers
Mac| Windows
TurningPoint is a Classroom Response System (CRS) that enables you to poll your class in real time to check for understanding or stimulate critical thinking. TurningPoint clickers and transmitters can be reserved by emailing Ted Curran and can be picked up at the Library's circulation desk.
Find out more on our Turning Point resource page


Audio-Video Chat

These apps allow you to chat with text, voice, and video with students and colleagues from any device for free! Great for online class meetings, quick calls and texts, and video demonstrations of complex ideas. Some teachers use video chat tools to hold "Virtual Office Hours"-- a time when students can freely contact you for help or questions.

Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts
iOS | Android | Web

Google+ Hangouts is a free video-chat platform that runs on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices, and is accessible to anyone with a Gmail account. The tool is ideal for remote group study and project planning, and allows users to collaboratively work on Google Docs during conversations. Can be used for text-based chat, audio calls, or video conferences. Up to 10 people can "transmit" in a conference, but many more can watch the conference as it happens.

Skype

Skype

iOS | Android | Mac & Windows

Skype is another great option for audio, video, and text chat with small groups. Depending on your collaborators and your needs, Skype may be a great option for your video chats due to its widespread adoption and desktop-friendly app.

TodaysMeet

TodaysMeet

Web

Today's Meet is a free, anonymous chatroom space that you can set up for students to "talk back" during your lectures. Students can post questions and answers as you talk, then you can pause periodically to answer questions or share student insights. A simple, anonymous way to add an interactive "backchannel" to your class meetings.


Personal Productivity

Any.Do

Any.Do
iOS | Android | Chrome

Stylish, minimal, and clever task management for iOS, Android, and Chrome. Create lists anywhere. Get reminders. Share lists. Speak your tasks. Any.do is a to-do list manager with personality that reminds you of tasks in a friendly yet persistent way.

Evernote

Evernote
iOS | Android | Web
Evernote is an incredibly useful app for capturing notes, web clippings, voice dictations, photos, document scans, and other bits of information. All of these notes become searchable, sortable, findable with keywords, tags, and search. The more you use it, the more uses you will find for it. Highly recommended if you've ever wanted to go "paperless" or simply capture more of the little bits of information floating around your life.

Trello

Trello

iOS | Android | Web

Trello is an intuitive project management tool and todo manager that organizes your projects into virtual "boards" and "index cards". In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and the progress status of each task. It can be a great tool for project-based learning, allowing student groups to communicate on projects in an open, transparent way.

 

Feedly

Feedly

iOS | Android | Web

Feedly is a magazine-style news feed reader that collects news from all your favorite sources and serves it up in an attractive view on mobile or web. Think of it as a 21st Century newspaper where you get to decide which news is "fit to print".


Curation Tools

One job of a 21st Century educator is to create curated collections of high-quality information in an appealing and organized way for students to explore. Many tools exist to help you quickly save your favorite web links, videos, readings, and documents into beautiful content collections. These tools combine a great reading experience with easy workflows for creating curated collections of resources.

Flipboard

Flipboard
iOS | Android | Web

Flipboard is a beautiful, visual, magazine-style reader for mobile devices. It formats content from popular websites to look great on your device, and it also allows you to create your own "magazines" out of pictures, videos, and articles you find online. This is a great tool for creating readable, attractive, visual readers for users on mobile devices or the web. Integrated with your social media sites, it's also a great way to stay in touch with your Twitter and Facebook friends from a beautiful interface.

Read some Flipboard magazines

Get Help with Flipboard

Diigo

Diigo
iOS | Android | Web

Social Bookmarking tools take your ordinary browser bookmarks and put them in the cloud, making them a powerful tool for collaborating and sharing. Diigo is the most powerful innovator in social bookmarking that brings many tools for collaborative research, interactive learning, and knowledge sharing. It allows you to clip readings to share, annotate, and discuss with classmates and colleagues. Instead of just sharing links, Diigo enables you to add comments, highlights, and notes to a page and hold an online discussion around the content. If you like having access to interesting articles on your mobile device, just clip them to Diigo and you will be able to "read it later".

About Diigo

Take a Tour

Learnist

Learnist
iOS | Android | Web

Learnist is yet another visual "pinboard" for content you find around the web. Often described as "Pinterest for Education", Learnist is a great place to collect web resources into readable collections as you surf the Internet.

Get help with Learnist

Read the Learnist Blog


Blogging

Think having your own website is hard? Blogs make publishing on the web as simple as sending an email. You can post your thoughts, reflections, photos, videos, and anything else you can imagine on your own blog space without knowing a thing about coding. Blogs make a great personal portfolio to show off your best work that you can take with you after you leave SMU. Here are two of the best blogging platforms available, and they're both free!

Wordpress

Wordpress
iOS | Android | Web

The world's largest online publishing platform, Wordpress is a powerful yet user-friendly way to create a professional looking blog, ePortfolio, photoblog, podcast, or news publication. A wide range of professional features and excellent user support helps you get your words, text, videos, and ideas online in style.

Getting Started

User Support

Discussion Forums

Blogger

Blogger
iOS | Android | Web

Blogger is another popular, versatile, and powerful tool that you can use with your Google account. Googlephiles will appreciate its close integration with YouTube, AdSense, Google+, Hangouts, and more. Everything you need for blogging and more.

Blogger Help


Social Collaboration

When you need to work together with colleagues or classmates, you need a shared space online where you can work together on documents and files. These tools make online collaboration easy and powerful on any device.

Dropbox

Dropbox

iOS | Android | Web
Dropbox is a popular free service for adding a simple cloud-syncing folder to your desktop and mobile devices. Use it as a "virtual flash drive" to keep important files handy on any device, or share selected files with your collaborators.
Dropbox Help

Google Drive & Docs

Google Drive & Docs
iOS | Android | Web

Google Docs is a revolutionary tool that allows you to work collaboratively with Office documents completely "in the cloud". These documents can be collaboratively edited by multiple people at once, and can be embedded directly into Canvas courses as assignments or presentations. Google Drive adds the ability to store large files in the cloud for free and sync them to all your devices (similar to Dropbox).

Take the Tour

Read the Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

Prezi.com

Prezi Presentations
iOS | Web

Prezi is a different kind of online presentation tool- instead of a series of a slides, it's more like a big flat surface that you can move a camera around to give the best view. Just add text, photos, video and audio and tell the camera which order to show your slideshow in. It's great for giving people the "big picture" view, then zooming in on the details. Your prezis are stored in the cloud and can be embedded into other sites like Canvas courses. Prezi offers free premium accounts for educators, so it's worth giving it a try. It's not for everybody, but some people love it-- could that somebody be you?

Video: What is Prezi?

Getting Started with Prezi


Assistive Technology

These tools can help you overcome learning challenges like impaired vision or hearing using the devices you already have.

TextAloud

TextAloud

iOS | Android "Eyes Free" mode | Windows

TextAloud is SMU’s text-to-speech reader, installed on all public-use University computers. The application reads text from email, web pages, reports and more, aloud on your PC. TextAloud can also save your daily reading to MP3 or Windows Media files ready for playback on your iPod, PocketPC, or even on your TV with Tivo's Home Media Option. Be more productive or just be entertained wherever you go with our text reader.

Take the Tour

Frequently Asked Questions


Research and Library Tools

These apps can help you navigate the many resources available in the SMU library and access our powerful databases for academic journals, books, and publications.

Lexicomp

LexiComp

iOS | Android | Web

Lexi-Drugs is our most comprehensive drug database, with content that addresses all patient populations and covers clinical specialties such as Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Oncology, Psychiatry, Anesthesiology, and more. With Lexi-Interact, you can perform an analysis of a patient's entire drug and natural product profile and identify possible interactions.
* Lexicomp
* Lexicomp Support

CINAHL

CINAHL
iOS | Android | Web

This comprehensive research database provides full text for hundreds of nursing and allied health journals indexed in the CINAHL database, and includes a higher number of records, additional journals, records dating back to 1937 and expanded content.
* CINAHL
* CINAHL Support Center

PubMed

PubMed
Web

PubMed compromises more than 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher websites.
* PubMed
* PubMed Mobile Help

RefWorks

RefWorks
Web

RefMobile gives you access to your references in RefWorks from your smart phone, mobile phone, or PDA. SMU's group code is: RWSMerrittU
* Working with RefMobile

Zotero

Zotero
Web | Mac | Windows | Linux
Zotero is a powerful, easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research.

SMU Research Guides (mobile)

SMU Research Guides are a means for librarians to provide customized content that focuses on a specific course or a specific resource.
* SMU Research Guides


Video Tools

Need to share some video online? These tools can help you get those videos off your camera and into the world! These sites are not just a great place to search for and watch videos but they offer generous free video storage that you can embed anywhere else on the web.

Vimeo

Vimeo
iOS | Android | Web

Vimeo is our recommended tool for uploading web video for embedding in your Canvas course or Campus Pack Web 2.0 tools. [Learn how here.] It has many of the consumer-friendly features of YouTube with the added benefits of allowing longer videos and showing them at higher resolution.

Get Tips on Creating Great Videos at Vimeo's Video School

Vimeo Help Center

YouTube

YouTube
iOS | Android | Web

YouTube is the world's largest repository of video content and a great place to post video to share. YouTube EDU is a special site just for academic-focused video content like university lectures.

YouTube Help


Student Discounts on Hardware & Software

Software

Student Software Discounts | JourneyEd

Get educational pricing on software from Adobe, Microsoft, and other top vendors.

Computer Hardware and Software Discounts

Special offers just for SMU students.