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Initiatives for distance learning

Initiatives for distance learning

Tutorial for distance learning freely available in Italian at

If you are a first-time teacher with distance teaching tools and methods, the tutorial guides you step by step, from the beginning, in familiarization with some of the main solutions currently available.

Italian Agency INDIRE, in agreement with the Italian Ministry of Education, launches an initiative of solidarity between schools to overcome the emergency COVID-19 and, at the same time, experiment with solutions for distance learning with innovative methodologies and tools.

INDIRE institute has the task of managing Erasmus+, the European Union program for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. It is also a national support service for the following European projects: eTwinning, the community of teachers to connect, collaborate and share ideas in Europe; Epale, the European online platform entirely dedicated to the adult education sector; Eurydice, the European education information network and education systems in 37 countries.

 1 Videolessons
By “video lesson” we mean a lesson broadcast in audio-video, live or pre-recorded. The video lesson can show the teacher himself as he speaks, or he can show slides, or applications and other contents with which the teacher interacts on his computer, or a whole of all this. If you want to show your image on video, you need a webcam (almost all notebooks now have one) and if you want to talk you will need a microphone.

But how do you produce a video lesson? And how do you share it with students? The methods are essentially two: 1) record a lesson and make it available to students online; 2) do a live lesson through a video conferencing application.
In this section, a series of video tutorials will guide you through these two modes.

1.1 Record a video lesson
To record a video lesson in which the subject is you, even a smartphone is sufficient. But to share your computer screens and other things, you will need a computer or a tablet, and also some special programs like Screencast-O-Matic or OBS.

Record a video lesson with YouTube
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
If you don’t have a Google Account, you’ll need to create one first. With YouTube you can record a lesson in which you are speaking, for which you will need a webcam and a microphone. On the other hand, you cannot show content that is on your computer.

Record a video lesson with PowerPoint
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
For PowerPoint we feel we made an exception: although it is NOT a free application, it is widespread both in schools and on home computers, so we include it among the tools covered in these tutorials. The video shows how, starting from a PowerPoint presentation, you can record a video lesson in which the teacher scrolls the slides and talks about them.

Record a video lesson with Screencast-O-Matic
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Screencast-O-Matic is NOT free, but you can use it for free for 30 days, in the trial version. This application, as well as others, allows you to produce video lessons in which, in addition to the image and the voice of the teacher, you can also show what the teacher sees on his computer (for example while browsing a website or interacting with an application).

 Record a video lesson with OBS
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Let’s face it: Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is NOT simple to use. We insert it because it is one of the very few professional level software completely free, and because it allows you to really do a little bit of everything (for example the direct streaming of a video lesson). Recommended only for those who … are not afraid.

Share a video lesson (incoming)
Once I record a video lesson, how do you share it with students? Here we present a very simple method, but for a more detailed discussion, refer to the topic “Archiving and sharing teaching resources” in the “Online Resources for Teaching” section.

1.2 Make a live video lesson
To participate in a video conference, in many cases it is necessary to create an account relating to the application to be used. This does not represent a problem in the II Cycle of Education, because students can create their own account and access the videoconference, being over 14. In case the students have a school email address, it is recommended to let them use that address to create a account.

Make a video conference with Skype
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Skype is the most popular video conferencing application. Many people, both in and out of school, already use it. And it can be used by a teacher to make a live video lesson with his students. Skype, like almost all applications of this kind, also allows you to communicate with the participants via chat, and to attach images and other documents. Skype is part of the Microsoft Office for Education suite (for schools that have it) but can also be used in the absence of the suite.

Make a video conference with Hangout
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Google Hangout is an application similar to Skype. It is part of the Google Suite for Education (where it is called Google Meet) but, like almost all Google applications, it can also be used alone. Requires a Google Account for all attendees.

2 Virtual classes
By “virtual classes” we mean all those online environments suitable for sharing, collaboration and communication with respect to a group (teacher and students) who access it with a verified and recognizable identity. Although, under certain conditions and at the cost of various limitations, a virtual classroom can also be set up through generic social applications (such as FaceBook) or in any case tools intended for other use (such as Skype), we have decided to treat, for the moment, only applications designed specifically for this purpose. Many of these applications are also present within school suites, such as Office 365 for Education or Google Suite for Education. If your school has one (or is about to have one) we advise you to refer to the solutions referring to one of these suites, so as to encourage coordination between teachers (and students) of the same school.

2.1 Collaborate online between students
Networking can mean many things. One of the most common is collaborative writing: students who remotely connect and participate in the shared writing of an online text. But there are many more. Here we describe the functionality of some of the most popular “virtual classes”.

Collaborate online with Google Classroom (incoming)
Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google for schools and universities which aims to simplify the creation and distribution of teaching materials, the assignment and evaluation of online tasks.

Collaborate online with Microsoft Teams
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines chat, video conferencing (Skype), file storage and integration of other applications.

Collaborate online with WeSchool
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
WeSchool is an Italian platform that does two things together: 1) it makes available to students a myriad of educational content on all disciplines 2) it allows the teacher to create his own virtual classroom shared with his students.

 3 Online Resources for Teaching
The net is full of free content that can be used for teaching (websites, videos, podcasts …). Just knowing how to look for them. We explain how in this section. And we also explain how to create educational content (other than video lessons) and how to store it online so that it can be reached and used by students. We also introduce the “Open Educational Resources” or “OER”, ie didactic resources that can also be modified, therefore adapted to the needs of the teacher.

3.1 Find OER and other teaching resources
Here we describe how to find educational content online, starting from Open Educational Resources or teaching materials mainly made available with licenses that allow their reuse, modification and distribution. In addition, we report a series of sites or repositories (containers of teaching resources) on a disciplinary basis.

What are OER and how they are found
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
OER (Open Educational Resources) are types of educational materials made available with licenses that allow their reuse, modification and distribution. We talk about it in this video starting from the minute 2:02.

Online resources for the 1st cycle of studies.
On this page you will find a list of online resources collected by INDIRE for teaching, divided by discipline.

Online resources for the 2nd cycle of studies.
On this page you will find a list of online resources collected by INDIRE for teaching, divided by discipline.

3.2 Produce educational resources
There are several ways to produce teaching resources (other than the video lesson). We can use PowerPoint, or create web pages with applications that make work a lot easier.

Produce educational resources with PowerPoint
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
PowerPoint is Microsoft’s popular application for creating presentations. And the so-called slides are regularly used also in support of the lesson in the classroom, or as autonomous teaching content to be delivered to students. In this tutorial we see how to get started with PowerPoint.

Produce educational resources with Google Sites
You can find at  a tutorial in Italian.
Sites is Google’s web application with which to easily create small websites. Here we see how it works, and how it can be used to do distance learning.

3.3 Store and share educational resources
Once the teacher has produced or found video lessons or other teaching resources, how can he make them available to his students? In this section we see some of the simplest ways, without requiring student authentication.

Store and share educational resources with Google Drive
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
Drive is the Google cloud: a network data storage and synchronization service. In Drive you can store your data which will be thus available, via the internet, anywhere and with any device. You can also share them with your students, who in turn could share their work with you.

Store and share educational resources with One Drive
You can find at a tutorial in Italian.
You can use OneDrive to share photos, Microsoft Office documents, other files and entire folders with other people. The files and folders stored in OneDrive are private until you decide to share them and you can view who you share a OneDrive file with or stop sharing it at any

By | 2021-03-02T12:36:36+01:00 April 15th, 2020|Categories: Resources|0 Comments