Great Tools That We Use: The MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board

The Sloan Consortium’s 7th Annual International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Online Learning provided those in attendance an opportunity to share ideas and gain exposure to technology that can be useful in the online classroom. One of the last sessions of the symposium, hosted by MERLOT’s Teacher Education editorial board, was called “Great Tools That We Use,” and it provided those in attendance with a list of easy-to-use applications that can be integrated into the classroom right away.

Plus, with the educational movement becoming increasingly mobile, all of these tools have an Apple or Android app that cater to on-the-go students and teachers. Plus, most of them have a free version.

Perfect Captions (

Perfect Captions allows you to take a photo with your mobile device and annotate it using its captions feature. Once complete the student can e-mail it or share it on various social media. This app is only available across the Apple family of devices.

MoveNote (

Think Jing with Google integration. MoveNote allows you to create a video or audio presentation right in your e-mail account. You can add documents or PowerPoints, advance slides, highlight materials and then send directly from your e-mail once you’re done. The best part is it works on any platform and any device. There is even an administrative version for students and teachers. The MERLOT editorial board mentioned that it has heard teachers are using it to provide step-by-step presentations that cater to students with autism.

Appolearning (

Appolearning helps K-12 teachers find peer-reviewed and peer-rated educational apps for the classroom. Apps are divided by grade, discipline and topic and provide information on how to use the app. You can also search for apps by Apple and Android devices.

Scientific Research (

Along the lines of Appolearning, Scientific Research is an app and web site with open access to research journals and peer-reviewed article. The app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

TouchCast (

If you want to create a video presentation on your iPad, TouchCast may be an option. It’s a video creation tool for the web that can be used to develop media directly on the iPad. You can import edited video and integrate “hot spots,” which students can touch to access more content. TouchCast can also be used as a whiteboard tool. TouchCast is beginning to branch out into Android devices.

Blendspace (

Blendspace’s web site says you can create lessons in five minutes. It looked pretty simple during MERLOT’s presentation. Blendspace allows you to combine different media into interactive presentations that can be access on the desktop or on mobile devices. You can bring in content from Dropbox or Google, use polls and quizzes to engage students and even embed the presentation within your LMS.

ArtRage (

The only app on this list that doesn’t have a free version ($5 for the iPad, $2 for the iPhone), ArtRage is still pretty cool. The app allows students to simulate real world art tools. The best part? No cleanup.

The folks at MERLOT were kind enough to make their presentation public if you want to go deeper:

Challenge yourself and try a new technology the next time you teach online.

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