Technology for Effective Learning

“A good teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” Thomas Carruthers (19th Cent. British Physician)

ESC515: Assignment 2: A Portfolio of Digital Resources

“Laptops, SOLSTICE Centre, CETL, Edge Hill University” flickr photo by jisc_infonet shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

In this portfolio, web 2.0 resources are recommended and evaluated according to their application to the five ICT capabilities for education (ACARA, 2013).Particular attention is paid to their application in tertiary language learning educational environments.

Capability 1:   Turnitin   SimpleNote   Tagged   Plagiarism”Cutting and Pasting”[Video]

Capability 2:   GoogleScholar   YouTube   Pinterest   ShowMe

Capability 3:   Edmodo   GoogleDocs   WikiSpaces   WordPress

Capability 4:   ThingLink   ExplainEverything   VoiceThread   Audacity

Capability 5:   GoogleChrome  Scoopit   Evernote



Resource 1: Turnitin


Platform: All PC and mobile

Cost: No cost to user (licenced to institution ~$40,00/year for a university )

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: Online tool allowing teachers and students to assess the originality of submitted text compared to a huge database of documents.

Explanation:  It addresses capability 1: “recognise intellectual property”.

Evaluation: Turnitin is effective in teaching students the nature of plagiarism, and providing a tool to help identify it, and avoid it (Buckley & Cowap, 2013; Silvey, Snowball & Do, 2016). However, it needs careful implementation and explanation if it is not to replace one poorly understood/arbitrary system with another (Penketh & Beaumont, 2014).

Resource 2: Simplenote


Platform: All PC and mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: Simple, easy-to-use cross-platfrom (PC & mobile) tool for the management of image and text notes.

Explanation: It can be used in helping address capability 1: “apply digital information security practices”, and capability 5: “manage digital data”.

Evaluation: Poor password security habits are extremely common (Liang & Xue, 2010). Note-taking apps such as this one, can be used to establish good habits of creating, and recording different & complex passwords for new web tools, without requiring students to recall each one. The ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ website and the YouTube video listed below might also be used to impress on students the importance of this digital security practice.


Resource 3: ‘Tagged’ [Web Resources]


Platform: All PC and mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Secondary – Adult


Description: Online video case-study of the effects of malicious or thoughtless posting online.

Explanation: It addresses capability 1: “Apply personal security protocols” and “Identify the impacts of ICT in society”.

Evaluation: Students of all ages are more and more drawn into social media, which is also finding a foothold in formal education (Green & Hannon, 2007). This well-made and well-considered resource offers professional standard content, and great opportunities for group discussion and both written and spoken reflective work. It touches on the issues of cyberbullying, and digital footprints, and the lasting effects of our actions within the social media world (O’Keeffe & Pearson, 2011).

Resource 4: Plagiarism ‘Cutting and Pasting’ [YouTube Video]


Platform: All PC and mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Secondary – Adult

Description: Self-created YouTube video, explaining why ‘cutting and pasting’ from a text is not acceptable, and how it should be avoided.

Explanation: It addresses capability 1: “recognise intellectual property”.

Evaluation: Using downloadable (free) tools, such as explaineverything, YouTube videos can be created to address any learning point. In this case, the video examines an example of plagiarism and explains why it does not meet academic standards, and how it might be improved. Making videos available online means that learning can be flipped outside the classroom, and students can absorb the learning point at their own pace, as well as freeing up class time for more student-centred and practical activity (Bishop & Verleger, 2013).

Resource 5: Google Scholar/ Google Scholar Button [Browser Extension]



Google Scholar Button (Chrome)

Google Scholar Button (Firefox)

Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Secondary – Adult

Description: A specialised search engine limiting searches to academic results and providing additional functions such as citations and statistics. The Google scholar button is a browser extension which creates additional ease-of-use functionality to the standard browser.

Explanation: It addresses capability 2: “define and plan information searches” and “select and evaluate data and information”.

Evaluation: Information and digital literacy skills, including those related to conducting and evaluating academic online searches are frequently a problem area for students (Gross & Latham, 2012). As a result, explaining and practicing the use of search engines such as google scholar is an important feature of literacy instruction (ACRL, 2015).This can be further enhanced using browser extensions such as Google Scholar Button, which allow for more convenient and rapid searches. Such instruction must be well supported by guidance on how to critically evaluate search results (Head, 2013).

Here are some furhter links for exploring the uses of google scholar and google scholar button:

Resource 6: YouTube


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult


Description: Video hosting and sharing website.

Explanation: It addresses capability 2: ” locate, generate and access data and information” and “select and evaluate data and information”.

Evaluation: In K-12 schools, concerns about the appropriacy of material often create barriers to video-sharing sites (Conole & Alevizou, 2010). However, it is possible to put measures in place to alleviate these concerns, and with adult students the issue is less pressing (Liu, Evans, Horwitz, Lee,  McCrory, Park, & Parrish, 2013). YouTube offers very tangible benefits in providing material for blended (Conole, 2012), and flipped classrooms (Bishop & Verleger, 2013), as well as supporting student-directed, participatory and discovery learning (Beetham & Oliver, 2010). It is also a particularly effective platform for modelling language related learning (Mao, 2014). However, the volume of material, and possibility of inaccurate information means that inquiry should be guided, and students taught to critically evaluate what they find (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2012).


Resource 7: Pinterest


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult

Description: A social bookmarking site/tool encouraging students or teachers to find, evaluate, curate, share and comment on visual material, such as images, info-graphics, videos or web pages.

Explanation: It addresses capability 2:  “select and evaluate data and information”.

Evaluation: Pinterest’s very visual presentation allows educators to cater to a greater variety of learning styles, providing for a more effective learning experience (Mayer & Massa, 2003). Pinterest provides opportunities for collaborative projects, and class/topic-based magazines, which spark peer feedback and socially constructed understandings of learning points (Beetham & Oliver, 2010). Although the ‘pinning’ of images and websites raises issues of copyright, this can be viewed as an opportunity for further instruction and practice in this area (Hansen, Nowlan & Winter, 2012). Social bookmarking sites can also play a useful role in developing personal learning networks, both for students and teachers (Ossiannilsson, Uhlin & Creelman, 2014).


Resource 8: ShowMe



Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free Account = 1 hour of video, $4.16/month= unlimited plus download

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult

Description: Centred around an education-only video-sharing website, ShowMe also offers easy-to-use features for creating instructional videos.

Explanation:It addresses capability 2: “select and evaluate data and information”, and allows for capability 4: “generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks”.

Evaluation:  ShowMe has a huge variety of user-created instructional videos around most educational topics. Since the available videos are limited to educational topics, this enormously reduces concerns about inappropriate material and student distraction (Conole & Alevizou, 2010). The site allows students to search for, and evaluate instructional videos, and then post or bookmark them to other social media sites such as Pinterest or Edmodo. In addition, it allows both teachers and students to create and share their own instructional videos, allowing for collaborative and creative group work, as well as socially-constructed learning and reflection (Beetham & Oliver, 2010).

A self-created ShowMe video on Pronunciation

Resource 9: Edmodo


Platform: All PC and Mobile


Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: An education only social networking and sharing website.

Explanation: It addresses capability 3: “collaborate, share and exchange” and “understand computer mediated communications”.

Evaluation: Edmodo capitalises on student familiarity with social networking ‘post-stream’ communication, to create a social, participatory, and collaborative learning environment (Green & Hannon, 2007). Added to this are quizzing, polling and file sharing tools that support blended learning and formative assessment (Conole, 2012), and gamification features, such as peer comparison of results and a badge system, which are aimed at improving student engagement and motivation (Gee, 2005). Like all gamified systems, Edmodo  can be demotivating for slower or weaker students, and must be carefully handled, with opportunities for ‘re-takes’ and non-score-related badges (Buckley & Doyle, 2014).

Resource 10: Google Docs


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult

Description: An online word-processing, and cloud-based collaboration service.

Explanation:  It addresses capability 3: “collaborate, share and exchange” and “understand computer mediated communications”.

Evaluation:Hosting cloud-based documents, Google Docs facilitates word-processing by groups of students in synchronous or asynchronous collaboration. This allows for a socially-constructed and reflective approach to the learning task (Beetham & Oliver, 2010), but also helps develop the skills of collaboration and group-problem solving so important in today’s world (Zhou, Simpson & Domizi, 2012). In asynchronous situations, with students of mixed ability, direct editing can sometimes lead to frustration, so that careful set-up of how ‘suggested edits’ are made and implemented is recommended (Blau & Caspi, 2009).


Resource 11: Wkiki Spaces


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult

Description: A web-hosting, collaborative editing and publishing service.

Explanation: It addresses capability 3: “collaborate, share and exchange” and “understand computer mediated communications”.

Evaluation:Typically used for the production of topic-based portfolios or project work (although can be used for peer editing of written assignments), wikispaces offers the affordances of web 2.0 collaboration, knowledge sharing and management (Singh, Harun & Fareed, 2013). It can also be effective as a classroom note-taking and brainstorming platform, where ideas and answers to questions can be laid out, discussed and developed collaboratively (Yan, 2008).

A fairly comprehensive tutorial on Wikispaces aimed at teachers

Resource 12: Wordpress


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Secondary – Adult

Description: A full-featured blog and website creation tool.

Explanation: It addresses capability 3: “collaborate, share and exchange” and “understand computer mediated communications”.

Evaluation: Suited to more mature, digitally literate users, WordPress is ideally suited for reflective learning journals, which support peer and teacher comments and knowledge sharing, as well as offer opportunities for formative assessment (Pursel & Xie, 2014). Learning journals such as this support active, ongoing and longer-lasting learning, as well as offering the advantages of constructivist collaboration (Du & Wagner, 2007).

Resource 13: ThingLink


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free education account covers 1 class and 100 students.

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: An online service for creating and hosting images with media-rich tags and interactive links.

Explanation: It addresses capability 4: “generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks”.

Evaluation: : Thinglink allows teachers to upload and ‘tag’ images with text labels that can link users to other online material such as quizzes, videos or instructional websites. Similarly, students can be placed in groups and create their own tagged images, selecting and tagging appropriate links in a collaborative and socially mediated manner. As the starting point for guided inquiry on a topic (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2012),  or as an interactive visual aid for learning (Boyle, 2015), Thinglink has a lot to offer.


An example of a ThingLink (

Resource 14: Explain Everything


Platform: A Mobile App

Cost: free account= create video and passive viewing only, $2.67/user/year for active collaboration

Suitability: Early Primary – Adult

Description: A narrated video presentation creator and interactive whiteboard application.

Explanation: It addresses capability 4: “generate ideas, plans and processes”, and “generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks”


Explain Everything is an excellent tool for the blended (Conole, 2012), or flipped classroom (Bishop & Verleger, 2013). It enables teachers to create video instruction for students to view, and review at any time (See the example video below). These features are free. It’s real potential, however, unlocked by paid accounts, is in offering groups of students a collaborative tool to create their own video presentations on a topic, activating a more creative, participatory and collaborative exploration of the learning point (Beetham & Oliver, 2010). It also allows for real-time in class interaction using mobile devices, with multi-media presentations and an ‘interactive whiteboard’ on each device.


A video intro to a few educational applications of the Explain Everything app from Steve Dotto (DottoTech, 2016)

Resource 15: Voicethread


Platform: All PC and  Mobile

Cost: Free account allows 5 voicethreads, with unlimited comments, single educator 79$/year, school $450/year

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: Voicethread is a creation and hosting service for voice or video comments in response to an image/images posted by the teacher.

Explanation: : It addresses capability 4: “generate ideas, plans and processes”, “generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks”

Evaluation: As a result of the asynchronous nature of the comment stream,allowing students to re-record a comment until happy with it, as well as the variety of media available (text, voice or video), Voicethread has advantages in overcoming special needs and differing skill and confidence levels (Brunvand & Byrd, 2011). It has also been shown to enhance the engagement with, and enjoyment of learning tasks (Nagash & Powell, 2015), and is well-suited to promoting social cohesion and collaboration in tertiary education (Martin & Tapp, 2016) and for language learning (Boyle, 2015). Cost can be an issue, however.

An example of a Voicethread homework used in my classroom.

Resource 16: Audacity


Platform: Windows PCs.

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Secondary – Adult

Description: Audacity is a full-featured voice recording and sound file editing software.

Explanation: It addresses capability 4: “generate ideas, plans and processes”, and “generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks”.

Evaluation:More suitable for the more digitally literate user, Audacity is a great introduction to sound file editing and creation. Of particular utility is the ability to remove background noise, as well as overlay music. This makes it an ideal tool for quality podcast creation. Having students collaboratively develop weekly podcasts for publishing through social media (Edmodo) or blogs (WordPress), is an excellent way to develop digital literacy and collaborative skills as well as supporting reflective, dialogic, socially constructed learning  (Bower, Hedberg & Kuswaram, 2010). This type of task is also especially relevant and effective for language learning students (Boyle, 2015)

Resource 17: Google Chrome



Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: Chrome is a cross-platform free-ware web browser.

Explanation: It addresses capability 5: “select and use hardware and software”, “understand ICT systems” and “manage digital data”.

Evaluation: In the emerging information ecology, navigating, accessing and managing the internet is a key literacy for all 21st century learners and citizens (Thomas & Brown, 2011O’Connell, 2012). This being the case, both students and teachers need to know how to get the most out of their browser, in terms of utilising the basic settings and tools, and in personalising the browser by adding browser extensions. In this summary of digital tools, google scholarPinterest, Scoopit and Evernote (and others) have chrome extensions that significantly improve the ease of using the browser to find and manage information.

Resource 18: Scoopit


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free account= 10 scoops/day but minimal customisation of look and search options.

Suitability: Late Primary – Adult

Description: A ‘magazine style’ web content curation tool, with automatic suggestions on user-defined topics.

Explanation: It addresses capability 5: “manage digital data”, and capability 2: “select and evaluate data and information”.

Evaluation: Curation tools allow for the kind of social, participatory and collaborative work that demonstrate good 21st century learning pedagogy (Beetham & Oliver, 2010). They also provide opportunities for learning about critical thinking, personal expression and other core digital and information literacies (Mihailidis & Cohen, 2013). They can be used to develop a higher degree of interaction with subject content, improve engagement and motivation, and, consequently, create deeper and more lasting learning outcomes (Antonio, Martin & Stagg, 2012). Curation tools also require understanding of copyright and conventions for acceptable curation practice – which also feed into capability 1 (Sannino, 2012).

Here is a Scoop.It collection on the use of Evernote in education by Mark Deschaine:

Resource 19: Evernote


Platform: All PC and Mobile

Cost: Free account= 60Mb/month with 2 devices

Suitability: Early Secondary – Adult

Description:A tool for creating and organising notes and images , as well as a curation tool for documents and webpages.

Explanation:: It addresses capability 5: “manage digital data”.

Evaluation: Digital curation tools allow for a more self-directed exploaration, fostering a greater sense of ownership of, and engagement with the learning (Antonio, Martin & Stagg, 2012). Due to its mobile integration, Evernote is particularly useful for ‘on demand’ curation of information, images and voice recording, as well as online materials, therefore having great utility for adult academic learners or professionals (O’Toole, 2013). With this potential for organising and collating a wide range for resources, Evernote is also a useful tool for educational portfolios, especially since it has many features that make it easy to use collaboratively and socially (Blair & Serafini, 2014).

Resource 20:


Platform: All PC and Mobile


Suitability: Educators

Description: A blog dedicated to reviewing educational technology with a focus on software and mobile applications.

Explanation: It addresses capability 5: “select and use hardware and software”, and  “understand ICT systems”.


For educators, the sheer number of digital applications can be overwhelming. This is why developing solutions such as, or Evernote for managing this ‘infowhelm‘ (O’Connell, 2012) is so important, as is developing a good personal learning network (Ossiannilsson, Uhlin & Creelman, 2014). This blog by Richard Byrne is a particularly useful part of my own PLN. Presenting a new technology often twice weekly, it is aimed at educators without favouring younger or older students, and, best of all, almost every post comes with a short ‘how to’ video that spells out exactly what you need to know.

Byrne, R (2017). The best free technology for teachers in January [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Below are two example videos from Richard Byrne, hosted on Youtube: (simplenote) (kahoot)


Audacity [Sound File Creator/Editor]                                             

Edmodo [Educational Social Networking Site]                                      https://www.edmodo/

Evernote {Note taking/ Information Curation Site]                   

ExplainEverything [Instructional Video Creator]                         [Educational Technology Blog]          

GoogleChrome [Web Browswer]                    

GoogleDocs [Cloud Document Hosting/Editing Site]                

GoogleScholar [Specialised Search Engine]                                  

Pinterest [Visual Bookmarking/Curation Site]                            

Plagiarism”Cutting and Pasting”[YouTube video]                      

Scoopit [Magazine Style Web Curation Site]                               

ShowMe [Instructional Video Hosting/Creation Site]              

SimpleNote [Note-taking/ Note curation Tool]                          

Tagged [Australian Education Department E-safety Site]      

ThingLink  [Image Tagging and Hosting Site]                               

Turnitin [Plagiarism Detection and Reporting Site]                   

VoiceThread [Online Comment Creation and Hosting Site]   

WikiSpaces [Wiki Hosting Site]                                                         

WordPress [Blog Creation and Hosting Site]                               

YouTube {User-created Haring and Hosting Site]                      


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ACRL (2015) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education [Web Document]. Retrieved from

Antonio, A., Martin, N., & Stagg, A. (2012). Engaging higher education students via digital curation. In Future challenges, sustainable futures. Proceedings of the 29th Australasian Society for Computers in Tertiary Education Conference (pp. 55-59). Retrieved from,_amy_-_engaging.pdf

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2013). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum [Web Document]. Retrieved from

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