Simple Solutions for New Makers: Effective Tools for Engaging the Learner and Teaching Online with Technology

Concurrent Session 5
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Brief Abstract

New to applying technology in the classroom? Unaccustomed to the technology tools available online?  Looking to add elements (tools) to your mixture (courses)? Come experiment in a learning laboratory! Bring your device or follow along in this hands on interactive session.


Dr. Angela M. Gibson serves as Lecturer in the Higher Education Administration Leadership doctoral certificate program and the Adult Education graduate program at Texas A and M University - Kingsville. Additionally, she serves as faculty for the Online Learning Consortium Institute for Professional Development teaching in the Online Teaching Certificate Program, designing and facilitating professional training, and serving as a mentor to professional educators. She is also a Contributing Faculty and Doctoral Advisor for the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in the Doctor of Education program. She has taught first-year, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional students, designed and developed curriculum, and created initiatives and strategic planning for student engagement, first-year experience, strategic learning, and innovation. Dr. Gibson has over 25 years experience in higher education, academics, and student affairs at a diverse set of colleges and universities. She made the rank of Professor at American Public University. Angela received a M.A. in Human Performance Systems, with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, from Marymount University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, with concentrations in Adult Education and Community College Education, from Texas A and M University - Kingsville. She has been published in various peer reviewed journals, is on journal editorial boards, presents at national and international conferences, and served on the Online Learning Conference Steering Committee and was the 2017 Chair of the Technology Test Kitchen. In 2019, Angela was a Campfire Keynote Speaker for the OLC Innovate Conference. Dr. Gibson is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and volunteers as an informal STEM educator creating learning opportunities at schools and community organizations as well as providing social media outreach for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). She is a recipient of the Online Learning Consortium 2014 Effective Practice Award.

Extended Abstract

New to applying technology in the classroom? Unaccustomed to the technology tools available online?  Looking to add elements (tools) to your mixture (courses)? Come experiment and test things out in our little laboratory space. Join in the fun and practice mixing up solutions of audio and video technology tools to increase the engagement and learning in your enhanced, blended or fully online classroom.

Technology for learning is critical for blended and fully online courses.  Further, purposeful use of technical tools can aid in the design and delivery of instruction and reach all types of learners. Thoughtful incorporation and application of technology can better transfer the learning to the student no matter the preferred way of learning. Whether designer or instructor, there is no doubt that integration of tech tools can further connect students to content and increase engagement in the learning experience (Beetham, 2013).

However, online learners still disengage and become frustrated with coursework or training programs. Though there are factors connected to learning obstacles that stem from the learner themselves, pathways for learning and academic success can be blocked by the design and/or the delivery of the instruction itself. If in review of content, there is little to reach different types of learners, or no variation in content or learning assets, then a portion of those in a class or training program will have to work harder at the work or possibly disengage or even fail (van Merrienboer & Ayres, 2006).

Delivery of instruction needs to be based in multi-modal learning. Learning effectiveness leads to student satisfaction, and the connection between content and multimedia can enhance student engagement and learning (Smith, 2013). Delivering information through various formats – audio, visual, interactive, text based – appeals to multiple learning styles and intelligences (Anderson, Atkins, Ball, Homicz Millar, Selfe, & Selfe, 2006). Utilizing multi-modal learning, instructors and designers are able to better organize course content and differentiate learning. 

Differentiated instruction involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content, to processing, to constructing, and making sense of ideas.  Utilization of multi-modal assets creates a more adhesive nature of knowledge and can increase placement in long-term memory and aid in recall.  Creation and incorporation of these effective instructional tools increase interactivity with the learning.  Also, students may be able to make connections between concepts more readily if more in tune with the course (Kelly, 2010).

With differentiated instruction, the objective is to develop teaching materials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of learning preference or differences in ability. Evaluation of materials, learning activities, individual and collaborative assignments, and engagement and interaction between instructor and student (communication and feedback) is key.  Technology facilitation provides the platforms to offer multi-modal learner support, connection to content, and amassing of resources (Weir, 2008).  

One size does not fit all in learning whether as youth learners or adult learners. Providing more than one means of content delivery opens the door to those not skilled in adapting to environments where their preferred way of learning is not overt or not present. Youth learners today require engagement for successful learning. Meanwhile, adult learners need to feel connected to the learning to internalize and engage in the process.  If the adult learner does not do well in text based elearning situations, they will be uncomfortable, disconnected, and/or have to get over the obstacle of adjusting their learning style before they can even get to the knowledge or skills being taught. A more dynamic course, with a mix of purposefully applied multimedia of content and audio and visual assets, will not only appeal and connect to the adult learner but also engage the youth learner (Knowles, 1984).

Although we know the research, finding your way around the multitude of technology tools online can be as overwhelming as new cooks in a spice isle at a grocery store.  If our recipe for instructional design and delivery includes the wrong elements, our students can get a bad taste for the product.  Easy to use instruments, such as Voki, ScreencastOMatic, Adobe Spark, Kahoot!, PowToon, and Animoto, offer fresh ways to engage learners. 

Those new to technology and multimedia tools might find they spend more time trying to figure out what to do with the tool than actually using it to successfully to deliver instruction.  Each of the tools are excellent starters for the unexperienced or unfamiliar creating their own multi-media.  As an added flavor kick, each tool is free with a basic account.

For each technology tool, presenters will provide background on the pedagogical and andragogical framework offering ingredients to ensure successful development and delivery in a learning environment. Discussions will include how to mix in aspects of the three Community of Inquiry presences, social presence – teaching presence – and cognitive presence, for a rich and well received product for learners.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices (laptop, tablet) or follow along on the screen and in group collaboration for a great hands-on experience in learning. 


Anderson, D., Atkins, A., Ball, C., Homicz Millar, K., Selfe, C., & Selfe R. (2006). Integrating multimodality into composition curricula: Survey methodology and results from a CCCC research grant. Composition Studies, 34(2), 59-83. Retrieved from

Beetham, H. (2013). Designing for Active Learning in Technology-Rich Contexts.  In H. Beetham and R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age. Retrieved from 

Kelly, R. (2010). Three strategies for engaging students through multimodal course design. Retrieved from

Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Smith, R. (2013). Improved learning outcomes through a multimodal text. Retrieved from

van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Ayers, P. (2006). Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 5-13. Retrieved from

Weir, L. (2008). Research review: Multimodal learning through media.  Retrieved from