Technology Tips

Teaching tips

Active and Cooperative Learning

The past decade has seen an explosion of interest among college faculty in the teaching methods variously grouped under the terms ‘active learning’ and ‘cooperative learning’. However, even with this interest, there remains much misunderstanding of and mistrust of the pedagogical “movement” behind the words. The majority of all college faculty still teach their classes in the traditional lecture mode. Some of the criticism and hesitation seems to originate in the idea that techniques of active and cooperative learning are genuine alternatives to, rather than enhancements of, professors’ lectures. We provide below a survey of a wide variety of active learning techniques which can be used to supplement rather than replace lectures. We are not advocating complete abandonment of lecturing, as both of us still lecture about half of the class period. The lecture is a very efficient way to present information but use of the lecture as the only mode of instruction presents problems for both the instructor and the students. There is a large amount of research attesting to the benefits of active learning.

“Active Learning” is, in short, anything that students do in a classroom other than merely passively listening to an instructor’s lecture. This includes everything from listening practices which help the students to absorb what they hear, to short writing exercises in which students react to lecture material, to complex group exercises in which students apply course material to “real life” situations and/or to new problems. The term “cooperative learning” covers the subset of active learning activities which students do as groups of three or more, rather than alone or in pairs; generally, cooperative learning techniques employ more formally structured groups of students assigned complex tasks, such as multiple-step exercises, research projects, or presentations. Cooperative learning is to be distinguished from another now well-defined term of art, “collaborative learning”, which refers to those classroom strategies which have the instructor and the students placed on an equal footing working together in, for example, designing assignments, choosing texts, and presenting material to the class. Clearly, collaborative learning is a more radical departure from tradition than merely utilizing techniques aimed at enhancing student retention of material presented by the instructor; we will limit our examples to the “less radical” active and cooperative learning techniques. “Techniques of active learning”, then, are those activities which an instructor incorporates into the classroom to foster active learning.


ISTE – International Society for Technology in Education

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving learning and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education.

ISTE represents more than 100,000 education leaders and emerging leaders throughout the world and informs its members regarding educational issues of national and global scope.

ISTE members include individuals, affiliate organizations, and corporations:

  • 18,500 individual members from more than 80 countries worldwide
  • 80 affiliate organizations
  • 6 affiliate regions worldwide
  • 60 corporations worldwide

ISTE membership is a powerful and meaningful way for educators to connect with peers, to gather in a variety of forums to share the challenges and excitement of teaching, and to be part of a community that leads the transformation of education.

NETS for Teachers Resources

ISTE offers a host of resources to help teachers learn about the NETS and how to use them.

NETS for Students Resources

ISTE offers a host of free resources to help teachers and administrators learn about the NETS and how to use them.

Classroom Response Systems



Visual Resources

Virtual European Museums

Smithsonian Collections

  • 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collections
  • 126 million of these specimens and artifacts are held by the National Museum of Natural History
  • 6.4 million digital records available online through the Collections Search Center
  • 1.8 million library volumes held by Smithsonian Institution Libraries
  • over 100,000 cubic feet of archival material held by Archives across the Smithsonian

The URLs below lead to sites where you can find images that are either in the public domain or that have been shared by their creators via Creative Commons licenses.


Free clipart for students & teachers!

60,000 pieces of free clipart and growing every week.

Welcome to quality educational clipart. Every item comes with a choice of image size and format as well as complete source information for proper citations in school projects. No advertisement-filled pages with pop-up windows or inappropriate links here. A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 50 educational clipart items in a single, non-commercial project without further permission.

The Commons on Flickr

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. …Under The Commons, cultural institutions that have reasonably concluded that a photograph is free of copyright restrictions are invited to share such photograph under their new usage guideline called no known copyright restrictions. If you go to and scroll down, you will see a very impressive list of participating institutions.

NYPL Digital Gallery

NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 700,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. – a treasure trove of images in different areas.

Some of these photos and images are available for use in the public domain, and they may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However some photos and images may be protected by license. We strongly recommend you thoroughly read the disclaimers on each site before use.

Public image archive for creatives by creatives. … Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not! See for a summary of their usage policy.

Software Resources


Title III has purchased 75 copies of Camtasia Studio 7 for faculty use to develop improved approaches to capturing teaching materials to distribute to students. Camtasia is an excellent tool to use in you Hybrid and Blended courses to develop “just in time learning” opportunities for students. “Just-in-time learning” systems deliver learning materials to students when and where they need it. Used as a supplement for and as an addition to traditional classroom teaching, users can tap into Web-based tutorials, interactive CD-ROMs and other tools to zero in on just the information they need to solve problems, to review lesson materials, prepare for class, perform specific tasks or quickly update their skills and learning.

Camtasia 7 Tutorials


KNOPPIX is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linuxsoftware, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a productive Linux system for the desktop, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it (over 8GB on the DVD “Maxi” edition).


Tux4Kids develops high-quality software for kids, with the goal of combining fun and learning into an irresistable package. Our software is free: you can download it for use at home or onto hundreds of computers in a school. We support all major platforms, including Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/Unix. Our programs are used by people around the globe, and they have been translated into dozens of different languages. As open-source software, these programs can be freely extended or customized, and they are supported by active communities of volunteer developers. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or a kid, give Tux4Kids software a try!


OpenOffice is the leading open source office productivity suite, with more than 100 million users worldwide in home, corporate, government, research, and academic environments, across 15 languages. Apache OpenOffice 3.4 is available for download free of charge. OpenOffice 3.4 features:

  • word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, databases, drawing, and mathematical editing applications support for Windows, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit) and Macintosh operating environments
  • native language support for English, Arabic, Czech, German, Spanish, French, Galician, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese
  • improved ODF support, including new ODF 1.2 encryption options and new spreadsheet functions
  • enhanced pivot table support in Calc
  • enhanced graphics, including line caps, shear transformations and native support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
  • improvements in performance and quality

Video DownloadHelper

DownloadHelper is a way to discover many sites showing Web videos from all around the world.

DownloadHelper is also a free Firefox extension for downloading and converting videos from many sites with minimum effort. Install the extension!

Using DownloadHelper, you can easily save videos from most of the popular video sites.

It is also possible to capture all the images from a gallery in a single operation.

Note that DownloadHelper does not break any real protection implemented on the sites. It gives easier access to available content that will be downloaded by your browser anyway. With some exceptions, downloaded videos must be kept on your disk for personal use and are not to be shown on other websites.

Books, Journals and Articles


Celebrating 30 Years as the #1 Ed Tech Publication!

For 30 years, Tech & Learning has served the K-12 education community with practical resources and expert strategies for transforming education through integration of digital technologies. Our audience includes all job roles within the district community, with district-level technology coordinators the primary recipients. Beyond that, our magazine is often used as a professional development tool to help educators across the board get up to speed with the newest technologies and products in order to best prepare students for the global environment.

eSchool News

Connects you to all the latest news, information, and resources on how today’s educators are using technology to advance learning.

  • eClassroom News
    Connects you to all the latest news, information and resources on how today’s teachers are using technology in the classroom to advance learning.
  • eSchool Media
    The eSchool Media family of networks serves ed-tech decision makers throughout the world, primarily in the United States and Canada.
  • Setup Subscription

Assistive Technology in Education/Life Skills

“Assistive technology is defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability” (IDEA 2004, 2004). The term “functional capabilities” could mean a full realm of skills and competencies to perform successfully in the educational classroom. However, this wikibook will pertain to the functional skills or life skills children with disabilities need to develop in order to transition successfully into independent living after school graduation by “transfering skills to new environments” (Rocchio, 1995, p. 1). Functional skills are built on real-life living and learning. Contributing to the world these students live in while taking care of themselves are what many people with severe disabilities and their families hope for to ensure the most complete and gratifying quality of life for the individual (Langone, Clees, Rieber, Matzko, 2003).”

Assistive Technology in the Classroom: Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities

Book Description
Publication Date: August 20, 2011 | ISBN-10: 0131390406 | ISBN-13: 978-0131390409 | Edition: 2

A current look at the most effective uses of assistive technology for students with disabilities that emphasizes the link between technology and learning.

This updated text focuses on the use of assistive technology to increase the independence and participation of students with disabilities in schools by providing them with access to the curriculum. With an emphasis on both the relationship between assistive technology and learning and on how assistive technology can be integrated into the curriculum, this text assesses the school-related tasks that students with special needs must perform in order to be successful. Additionally, this text provides descriptions of technology-based solutions, presenting these obstacles in clear, engaging prose. Instead of approaching this topic through disability categories, this book recognizes that each child is unique and that there are multiple factors to examine before choosing technology tools for each student. Throughout the book, assistive technology tools are not discussed in isolation—the context for technology use is always the classroom, the teaching-learning process, and its impact on students with disabilities.

iPad Resources

Interactive Smart Tools and Software


Epson Bright Link