Resource 1

Technological tools to be used in online learning

Attending online classes can cause many difficulties, but at the same time it is an opportunity for you to enter the virtual world of vocational education and training – a colourful, complex world, rich in various solutions. The virtual world can be successfully applied to VET, to the acquisition of vocational skills that are in demand on the labour market. In the virtual world, you can use various tools, so-called ICT – information and communication technologies. These are all computer programmes, applications and online tools that help you to collect, store and exchange information, organise tasks and make learning more interesting through an interesting form of communication. ICT tools can be successfully used in all forms of learning: face-to-face, online, hybrid or blended learning. These tools can be imposed by the teacher. Depending on the teacher’s approach to learning, you may suggest using the ones you know.

In order to participate freely in an online lesson, you need a tool that, for you, the learner, is intuitive and has all the necessary functions for ongoing contact with the class and the teacher. This allows you to focus on the content of the lesson and not on the technical aspects of the application or software. The most popular communicators used in education, including VET, are: Skype, MS Teams, Discord, Zoom, Google Meat and Cisco WebEx. Your school must have already chosen a communicator to be used in class.

Using instant messaging, in addition to being able to talk directly to your peers or teacher, you have the option of sending him or her chat messages (and in VET also to employers and clients). Here, the rules of netiquette apply. When communicating online, behave as if you were in the classroom. If you are switching on a webcam, wear appropriate clothes and take care of the space behind you that can be seen on the camera. If you are switching on a microphone remember that all the sounds, the TV on, other household members, pets will be heard by others. When talking to your peers, check whether the teacher can hear you. At school, you can see if the teacher is close to you. In online learning, you check the teacher’s presence by looking at the list of participants in the meeting. Your language in the presence of the teacher should be more formal. At all times, during online meetings, whether the teacher is with you/you or not, you must not insult other participants in the meeting! 

During online lessons, you can use chat. Netiquette applies in this space too, and all posts are saved in the instant messaging virtual space. Chat is a good place to send photos of your lessons or class materials. If you send your assignments in chat, remember that other class participants can also access them.

Resource 2

Applications for communication with peers and teachers

During the school year, in addition to communicating during lessons, there are times when you have to talk to your peers or your teachers. Everyday communication is facilitated by simple applications that can be used not only on the computer but also on mobile devices, such as Google Hangouts, Facebook, WhatsApp.

These apps allow you to quickly contact other lesson participants, in addition to the instant messaging used by the teacher. You can quickly send messages, links, files or upload photos. In classrooms, it is very popular to create groups where you can pass on important messages. Here, too, the rules of netiquette apply. All users have access to your posts and can archive the chat. Even if you delete a post, it is still visible by other users. Hate speech is forbidden. Also legal issues are important. Insulting posts, sharing someone’s image without their consent and similar behaviours are criminal offences and are liable to prosecution.

Resource 3

Other useful tools

Meeting and scheduling

Online learning requires the use of tools designed to create meetings and schedules. In the classroom, you also use a calendar and make appointments in the online world. Google Calendar or Doodle, for example, can be used here. These tools greatly organise your work in remote learning. You can also enter due dates for assignments or consultations with your employer there. If you and your peers use the same calendar, you are bound by the rules of netiquette.

Content sharing

The tools outlined above also allow you to upload files, photos, videos and documents. In vocational training, you will need a ‘virtual place’ to upload photos or recordings of your work performance. If you need to share a large number of files or content that “weighs a lot” and therefore takes up a lot of space on the drive, you won’t be able to upload them using any of the above communicators; you’ll need to use content-sharing tools such as Google Drive, Padlet, Dropbox or Pinterest. Here, too, the rules of netiquette described above apply.

Knowledge checking

Repetition of content and checking the level of understanding play an important role in acquiring new knowledge. To do so, you can use applications for creating games, quizzes or tests (e.g. Quizizz, Kahoot, Quizlet). Your teachers will certainly be familiar with them. You can use them to check the level of your knowledge in a particular subject and compare this level to that of your peers.

Programmes to create presentations

In online VET, teachers may ask you to create presentations on a variety of topics, including, for example, photos of you performing your task. A multimedia presentation is a frequently used and popular form of content delivery in lessons or lectures. Dedicated programmes will help you to prepare it: 

  • Powerpoint – a popular presentation creation programme, part of the Microsoft Office suite. 
  • Google Presentations – an online presentation editor that allows many people to work together on a presentation at the same time. 
  • Prezi – a programme that allows you to create a kind of mind map and present it in such a way that you can see the relationships between the different elements of the presentation. 
  • Emaze – a tool with additional options for adding videos and a soundtrack. 
  • Canva.

If you use resources available on the internet, it is essential that you include information about the author. Using presentations created by your other people is a fraud. Copyright applies there as well.