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Tool reviews -- 2014

Page history last edited by Ahmad Jan 8 years ago Saved with comment

Tool reviews -- 2014 Tool reviews -- 2014 Please use this page for your software reviews.


1) Add a short description of the software: what it's for, who produces it; why you have chosen it.

2) Put your name.

3) If you can embed your review into the page do this, or else provide a link.


Any queries contact me (Gary)


Rachel Eichhorn (MA DTCE)


Review of Moodle


Moodle is a free open source VLE with a focus on interactive and collaborative content construction.  For a smaller institution with limited resources, it is an excellent choice for a VLE.  It is intuitively designed and good technical support is available through hosting partners.  I have used it in my place of work for a number of years.  See my review below:





Mahir Gazdar MA TESOL Distance Student: Google Drive


The tool that I have reviewed is Google Drive, which is also known as Google Docs. This is a free wiki tool, which means that it can be used to share, edit and upload files between users with Google e-mail accounts. It is easy to use and it is a useful tool. I will be explaining how it can be used to improve students' writing, focusing on where I am teaching at the moment, in a remote area of Saudi Arabia. I have explained how to use it and described some of the advantages and disadvantages. Please follow the link below to see the review:




Andrew Oraeki MA:DTCE- Google Hangout

The tool I would like to review is Google Hangout. This is a very positive alternative to Skype. Google Hangout is a free web based video conferencing tool. It allows up to 10 people at a time for an unlimited time video conference. It has proven to be a very capable collaboration tool. We have used it 3 times now for some of the group activities and it has proven to be very stable and the connection is very strong. The aspect of it that makes it very secured is it's integration with Google Drive which you can use to share documents in real time also it has a direct Youtube link. This means that the 10 people in the Hangout can watch the video at the same time. When this happens the microphones are automatically muted. It is also good for realtime collaboration because you can share your screen with the people within the Hangout. So documents can be manipulated by each of the people in the Hangout. With time Hangout might prove a strong challenge to the high end video conferencing tools like Adobe connect.

The main drawback is that it doesn't allow recording of the sessions and it doesn't allow more than 10 people within the Hangout. To watch the video please go to the link



Daniel Williams (MA:DTCE) - School eLockers


The online learning tool I decided to review was School eLockers, it is a private cloud file sharing and collaborative environment designed specifically for schools. It can be accessed via www.schoolelockers.com and is made by an Australian company called Specialist Apps. They have a similar platform for businesses. I decided to do the review as it is a system that has just been integrated into our school environment and is very much a new tool for staff and students alike to help facilitate two things, become less paper based as this was costing a lot of money and promote collaboration between students and teachers, be used as a file storage system and lastly integrate mobile devices into classrooms efficiently.  Overall I feel it has some strengths and shortcomings which I wished to look at in more depth as part of the schools appraisal process of new systems and to help facilitate our move towards a more digitally focused classroom.


Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Jonathan Flynn (MA: DTCE) - Padlet


I've put together a review of Padlet. Padlet is a collaborative tool that supports various different kinds of interaction and contributions. Users can share their own writing, upload documents, or link to useful resources elsewhere on the web, such as other websites, infographics or journal articles. I chose padlet because I thought it could be used quite effectively to shake up teaching and learning online in the particular context I discuss in the review; that of a higher education institution where much of the online teaching and even assessment is performed through discussion forums on Moodle. I felt that padlet would be useful in this context to enliven discussion by enabling learners to build their own body of knowledge around a topic using various media in addition to text. A key reason I chose padlet is also because it's very accessible and intuitive to use. Much of the audience in the context I describe consists of mature learners who are often inexperienced with computers and web-based technology. Thus, I felt padlet was a better choice than a wiki because they could learn their way around padlet much quicker. Padlet is produced by a company of the same name and was previously known as Wallwisher.


NB. The embedded video seems to display at a pretty small resolution, so I've decided to use a link rather than embedding. 


Click here to watch video.


Hasan Tanis MA-DTCE On-Campus Student / Schoology


I have decided to review Schoology which is an online social network as well as Learning Management System.  It allows users to create, manage and share academic contents in order to collaborate with professionals who have the same interest with them. It was created by three undergraduates students while they were studying. The reason why I choice this tool is that I really like to use social media and I was looking for a tool to combine social media and Learning Management System for my professional activities in my company.  This website looks like Facebook and you can create your own courses same as any complicated LMS. You can add assessment, tests, discussion board as well as extra documents for your students on the courses. You can also improve your professional skills in terms of educational technology because of collaboration among a lot of people.  I think, Schoology might be useful for adult education as well because many adult people used to use Facebook, and Schoology's interface looks like it. Therefore, this similarity might support the adult learners to easily get familiar the LMS interface. 




Laura Underwood - MADTCE Distance Student


I've decided to review Storify, a tool for curating content from the social web. The reason I chose this is that I've used it with my Journalism & Professional Communications students to curate content from Twitter, Google News etc. It's really useful for them to be able to share what social media users are saying about a particular topic on the news, or as a means to collect information to reference for a project. I thought it would also be useful for other instructors to use for curating content for blogs to share with their students. It's a great way to get students to dig deep on a topic. It could be used to collect information from scholarly sources as well as get a handle on public opinion or share news stories. I like the way that it allows for insertion of Tweets, videos, images etc. as you can create something really dynamic with just a few clicks. It's also very easy to share the stories you create with the tool. 


My video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpF2EuYrLKI


ANA CARRASCO (MA DTCE onsite/full-time student): VYEW


The software I have reviewed is VYEW, a free conferencing, collaboration and presentation software produced by Simulāt (Berkeley). This company strives to building highly engaging products to facilitate web based learning and communication (http://simulat.com/content/?id=com).


I chose VYEW because it seems to be very suitable for learning and teaching Philosophy (apart from any other subject), and it is not easy to find a tool that meets the needs of teaching Philosophy online.


The review may be accessed here: http://screencast.com/t/nln632AP


Kenneth Simmons (MA DTCE)


The software that I have chosen to review is ClassDojo, which is an online tool that helps to monitor the behaviour of students within the learning environment. The tool is produced by Class Twist, Inc. and facilitates the feedback process from educator to parent or guardian and the student, it also allows for real-time data to be readily available as a means for student assessment whenever needed.

I chose ClassDojo as I believe it is an online tool that helps alleviate some of the workload associated with classroom management, it also has the capability to evolve in a plethora of diverse and perhaps unexpected ways, due in part to its flexibility and the imagination of the user.




Sarah Twiby - (MA TESOL Distance Student) - Second Life


 I have decided to review Second Life. This virtual world was developed by linden lab and launched in 2003. It is a free tool and it allows users to create their own avatar. This 3D virtual world allows users to interact just like they would in the real world.


The reason that I chose to review this tool is that I wanted to show how easy it is to use and how it can benefit an ESL classroom. It's a great tool, especially for middle school learners (16-19 years old) who are a little shy to speak in a foreign language. I think the tool is a great way of encouraging students to build confidence while creating a fun learning environment.


My review can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/DDmsnGMFY6k


Hussein Tania- 9254208- MA DTCE Distance Student- Canvas Instructure



I have reviewed Canvas Instructure, a Learning Management System widely launched in 2011 and currently being used in over 600 colleges, universities and school districts around the world.


I am in the process of proposing the integration of Canvas within my place of work and replace Moodle. I have found it to be an extremely useful tool on my MA this year with the tool with a simple, clean interface and user friendly features.




Aysegul Yorulmazlar  (MA TESOL Distance Student) – Google Hangouts 


I prepared a review of Google hangouts. It is a software developed by Google for video conferencing, which was launched on May 15, 2013. It can be used for text chat or video calls. I chose this tool because I have used it recently a lot to teach Turkish to a student of mine from US and also as a student to collaborate with my friends and professor preparing the assignments for EDUC 7005.  The connection was quite good most of the time and it provides some features that you will see in the video that make teaching and learning easier in an online setting as if you are in a borderless classroom. It is easy to use. It allows video conferencing of up to 10 people or even up to a circle of 100 people. It is a practical alternative tool for any kind of student to student or teacher to student interaction outside the limits of a classroom. It also has the option of hangout on air that will allow you to invite people and broadcast live in you tube. Currently I am arranging Google hangout classes for a group of 10 students who are members of the Ottoman dynasty living in different parts of UK but cannot get together but love to learn Turkish.  We are all so excited to be able to start this project thanks to Google hangouts. To watch the video please go to:



Kristof Van Houdt (9301017) - MA: DTCE - Review: Weebly

I have made a review of the online tool Weebly.com. It is a web-hosting service that allows the user to "drag-and-drop" while using their website builder. Ultimately, users can easily create their own websites or blogs for various purposes without having to know any kind of coding language. This is a useful given for me as I lack programming skills. Weebly has allowed me to create informational websites, an online course and a survey for students. It has great potential for both teachers and students, as the latter could perhaps use it for class projects. At the end of the day, it's the user's creativity that decides how the website will look. Having said that, the way the content has been set up will have an impact on how readers may interpret the content. In this regards, some form of online training would be useful to get the most out of all the features of the tool. To watch the review, please go to:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/08fi1niczrqsluo/Weebly%20Review%20-%209301017.avi


Debra Paterson (9117891)- MA TESOL- Review of Wikispaces Classroom


Wikispaces classroom is produced by the Wikispaces team located San Francisco, USA who launched their first product in 2005, and now have over 14 million registered users. They have a particular focus on wikis for education and offer Wikispaces Classroom for individual teachers and students for free as well as proposing Wikispaces Campus as a paid platform for schools and universities.

Here is an introduction to using Wikispaces Classroom for colleagues in my school as I have realized that many are not aware of the affordances of wikis for language teaching and for managing project work. I plan to show this short video during a pedagogical exchange programmed for this month of June in which each participant has 5 mins to demonstrate a website useful for the classroom. Wikispaces Classroom not only provides the teacher with online space for sharing information on the web, but it also has a useful Projects function for easily structuring, managing and monitoring group work. Groups are provided with a private workspace and a protected environment for communication, but it is also easy to publish completed projects on the Web. 



Mohammed Almamari (9330750)-  MA TESOL: Dropbox review


In this review I describe Dropbox features. It is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. It was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, two MIT students tired of emailing files to themselves to work from more than one computer. Today, more than 275 million people across every continent use Dropbox to always have their stuff at hand, share with family and friends, and work on team projects. I think it will be very useful to use it students in my context as an online teaching and learning tool. It will help both teachers and students to save time, effort and paper for various purposes. The main feature which I focus on is utilising Dropbox to “share” folders and files. Teachers can use to share course content and whatever files he needs to spread among students as well as using it to collect students’ assignments and so on. Students can use to review what teachers supply them with any time anywhere. Besides, it is very practical and safe store for documents which can be accessed on all your devices; like smart phone, tablet, PC and Dropbox website.

This link will take you to my review:



Abigail Truebig (8867284) - MA DTCE - Helix Media Library


I selected Helix Media Library to review as it is a video and audio interface that is widely used in Education settings across the UK and a really good product to store multimedia resources. It is similar to YouTube but it provides a level of control that is kept by the education institution that licenses it - the multimedia is retained on their servers and the copyright is maintained in house. It provides some useful functionality in the form of playlists and locating resources via metadata and is far more suited to educational purposes than YouTube, iTunes and screencast.com. The product is provided by Streaming Ltd, which were originally an offshoot of Real Media - many of you may remember the Real Player a number of years ago - before they diversified out into other products. It does require institutions to maintain it and encourage use by faculty staff, but is widely and best used in conjunction with a virtual learning environment. All of the content can be played back via computer or mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, which the player is optimised to support. 



Luke Hayward (9257543) MA TESOL (Ed Tech) Free Quizmaker


The tool I have reviewed is Free Quizmaker by Ispring which can be used to create quizes, tests and surveys. I have chosen this tool because I have found it to be be a practical tool that is easy to use both for the teacher setting up the quizes/tests and the students who take them. It works particularly well within the context I work in where teachers are restricted in terms of the software they can add to the system and works well when combined with  VLE's etc... or can be sent by email. I have found it works particularly well for testing students on work before class using a flipped learning approach and to simulate different online tests the students have to take.


Please follow the link below:



Felix  Kwihangana (9178360) MA TESOL (Ed Tech)- Vocaroo


Vocaroo is an online podcasting tool that the developers describe as " a shiny new service for sending voice messages across the interwebs." It was not initially designed for teaching like most of online tools but can be useful for Foreign Language teaching by enabling students to use its recording and audio uploading features to practice speaking, listening and pronunciation! Vocaroo allows users to record messages, embed them on wikis, blogs or websites, or alternatively, they can download them in different formats, share them using automatically generated links or create QR codes automatically. Users can also upload audio recordings and links, embed codes and QR codes of their uploads will be generated in the same way as it happens when they record themselves online. There is not clear indication of who are the designers, but Vocaroo has been on the Web since 2007.  Unlike some online tools, vocaroo does not require users to create accounts or provide any information whatsoever to start using it. It is free and easy to use. These qualities made me chose it. In addition, I also chose Vocaroo because of its potentials in helping me increase my students' speaking and listening opportunities by using it in my EFL class. My short but successful previous experience with Vocaroo also played an important role in my decision.


Please watch the video below



Stuart Marshall - Review of Lectora


Lectora is a development tool that allows you to create eLearning modules. The modules can be published as standalone applications or in html format that can then be hosted online or within a Learning Management System (LMS). When published to 'SCORM' format (and hosted within an LMS) the learner's progress through the module can be tracked along with their scores for any assessment components. It is a tool that I use regularly in my role as a Learning Technologist.


The review looks at a couple of particular affordances that the tool offers to allow for a learner-centred approach to eLearning.



Alessandra Brotherton-Ratcliffe - MA (DTCE)


For this review I looked into "Pearltrees", an online collaborative tool. I am using it to share content with my English students. I have chosen it as an alternative to Dropbox: it is very visual, easy to organise and more engaging.


Here is the link: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c2hl17n4XW

Rabab Almzmomi / FULL TIME  / MA (DTCE)


I have reviewed Edmodo  is a "social learning platform" also it is  flexible compared to other Web 2.0 tools which help the education process; and is a free social learning network providing a service to teachers, students, schools and districts.  Edmodo use it to   posting assignments, creating polls for student responses, embedding video clips, create learning groups, posting a quizzes for students to take, and creating a calendar of events and assignments. Students can also turn in assignments or upload assignments for their teachers to view and grade.  the interface is similar to facebook but Edmodo is designed to teach. The secure platform ensures students safety and privacy,  Parents who have registered can see information sent by the teacher and their child (including grades) and send messages to them.  

I like this tool because very useful for parents to know the progress of their child .


The review can be accessed here https://www.dropbox.com/s/3d1u47uq60d0j3e/Edmodo%20online%20tool%20.mp4



Christopher Lea (8557670) – MA DTCE - Edmodo


For my review, I have chosen to look at Edmodo. This is a popular learning management system with a user base of over 34 million teachers and students worldwide. It can be accessed at www.edmodo.com and is also available as an app for mobile devices on iOS and Android.


The reason I have chosen to review Edmodo is because I will be creating course materials and training teachers on its use next term as my organization has decided to use it firstly with young adult courses, followed by teen courses if it goes well.  It is Edmodo’s safety features that make it particularly interesting for use with younger learners. The ease of use is also a major factor as many of our teachers are will need to buy into this and so the time needed outside of the lesson time to administrate the course needs to be minimal, and many of our teachers are not adept at using digital applications for online learning.





WordPress Multisites for ePortfolios (05:32)


The benefits of student-produced portfolios for learning are not only the final product, but importantly arise from the processes of content curation, creation and feedback from peers, mentors and tutors. I discuss how WordPress Multisites can be used to provide eportfolios for postgraduate pharmacy and nursing students. Each student is given the same basic template and structure to start with and over the course of a practice placement and beyond, they evidence their learning processes and outcomes in their ePortfolio within the multisite. Access to other students' eportfolios in the same cohort can be blocked or allowed. University tutors and external mentors can provide feedback in the ePortfolio itself. These features and more make WordPress multisites particularly suitable for the eportfolio requirements of this programme.


WordPress is a content management application with multisite functionality so many sites can be run from one installation. It is free, open source software from WordPress.org.


Kayla Barlow



View on YouTube: http://youtu.be/MM2LT-bmsZ8 


References and bibliography



Wikipedia – WordPress: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WordPress (Accessed 07 May 2014)

What is WordPress (in about a minute): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdvEdMMtNMY (Accessed 07 May 2014)

How to set up WordPress Multisite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwGC-_KH0jY (Accessed 07 May 2014)

How to set install and setup WordPress Multisite network: http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-install-and-setup-wordpress-multisite-network/ (Accessed 07 May 2014)

WordPress Multisite Guide: http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-multisite-guide (Accessed 07 May 2014)

WordPress web software:  http://wordpress.org/ (Accessed 07 May 2014)

WordPress blogs: http://wordpress.com/ (Accessed 07 May 2014)



JISC (2008) Effective Practice with e-Portfolios http://www.jisc.ac.uk/effectivepracticeeportfolios  (Accessed 07 May 2014)

JISC (2008) e-Portfolios InfoKit  http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/e-portfolios (Accessed 07 May 2014)

JISC (2014) e-Portfolios Overview. Available at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/eportfolios.aspx#two (Accessed 07 May 2014)

Sutherland, S. and Powell, A. (2007), CETIS SIG mailing list discussions [Online] Available at: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A1=ind0707&L=CETIS-PORTFOLIO#3 (Accessed: 13 August 2012).

JISC – Stories of e-Portfolio Implementation – Thanet College, Kent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhz-bBgl56k  (Accessed 07 May 2014)


University of Manchester Independent Prescribing Short Course: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/09815/independent-prescribing-short-course/  (Accessed 07 May 2014)


Demonstration Independent Prescribing e-Portfolio: http://www.mcrkayla.co.uk/portfolios/portfoliosubsite/ (Accessed 07 May 2014)




Azucena Castellanos - MA TESOL - Student I.D. 9327697


For this tool review I chose Eyejot. It's a tool I learned about in this course unit, so I've been using it for a short time. Anyway, I think it's very valuable and worth sharing with all the teachers interested in providing different opportunities for communication and interaction in their classes.






Steven Grundy (MA DTCE)


A review of Adobe Connect


Adobe Connect is a web conferencing platform from Adobe Systems.  I have chosen to review this particular piece of software, as it is one that I have been investigating with the aim of delivering online classes.  This review will look at some of the features of the program that lend themselves to online teaching and learning.



Cherry Siddall (MA DTCE) - Showbie Review


I have created a review of an iPad app called Showbie, which allows teachers to submit assignments, students to submit work and then teachers to mark this using verbal or written feedback.  Students at the International School of Stavanger all have their own iPad for the whole of their time in the senior school, and so use of this app has become ubiquitous.  Even some staff who have been initially resistant to ICT are keen to use it as they can see the advantages that having work organised electronically can bring..  As you have the ability to be able to open the documents submitted in other apps, I have also briefly mentioned Notability, which is an excellent piece of software for annotation  I have focused on this from a teacher perspective and have only looked at the iPad version of this program, rather than the web platform due to the fact that staff and students mostly use this platform.





Rawan Alqarawi (9166667) - MA DTCE - Evernote


The program has been developed by the Evernote company, which is an independent company that has been backed by a range of financial supporters. It launched in 2008, and by 2011, it had over 11million users.The program is used for online communication and organization, with the note-taking ability the main function.  I have chosen it for this presentation because it is an effective tool for both students and teachers, both in terms of communicating information but also helping students develop key learning skills.





Tamim Aljasir  (8533678)–  MA TESOL - Canvas by Instructure, Inc.

I have previously worked with blackboard and moodle. From my encounters with those two VLEs Bb is usually used only to manage content and assignment submissions. Moodle on the other hand can be a useful online learning tool when used properly. However, I believe that Canvas holds the potentials to be the most engaging VLE. Like moodle, Canvas is built around pedagogy, namely Social constructionism. Canvas had done a great job with the user interface, the web 2.0 tools integration, and its intuitiveness. However, some other areas that needs improving like the dissection board and personalization.




Christopher Patton (8739858) - Evernote


My review is on Evernote, a note taking and archiving tool. Evernote was developed by a company of the same name. Evernote also markets other tools in the same vein, including Skitch and Penultimate.
I use Evernote to keep track of notes at administrative meetings, to make notes on research papers for this MA, and to collate writing assignments in classes. 

Radoslaw Czarnowski - Tesol MA - DIIGO Review

I have chosen to review Diigo - a social bookmarking, web annotation and collaborative research tool, produced by Diigo Inc.
I have chosen to review Diigo because I believe that nowadays, the ability to organise, categorise and store knowledge is very important and I believe this tool to be a great help in achieving those goals. I also like the fact that it supports collaborative work and enables both the teacher and students to contribute to the knowledge database created within it.
Sorry - can't seem to embed it, here is the link:

Helen Davies - MA: DTCE - RebelMouse Review

I have chosen to review RebelMouse, which is a content creation tool.


Founded in 2012 by former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry, this tool allows easy content creation for those who do not have a wealth of technical skills.  RebelMouse creates a social front page, where you can connect to Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram and so on, to create your entire online presence in one place. RebelMouse can also be embedded in an existing blog or site such as WordPress. Your front page automatically updates as you post on social networks as well as when you blog directly on your site.  It is an easy way to curate around a topic, bringing in content from around the Web to become a hub for any subject that interests you (and your students). Its application in the educational world is obvious, providing that control on the feeds is maintained.  I am hoping to use this to create a site for my postgraduate students, as a way of keeping up to date on common issues around the Web.
The link to my review is here: 
Abdulhalim Alshehri  -  MA : DTCE 7800877 Minecraft Review

I have chosen to talk about Minecraft that was produced by a Swedish game designer Marks Pearson. Minecraft has several positive features, it is one of the most popular games in modern times. The game itself allows users to be creative and users could build their own virtual environment. It is also easy to use and it has a good social aspect.  All these features and many more features of main craft made it a suitable place to learn and teach and it could be good virtual environment for e-learning.. To see the presentation please click the following link : 




Comments (2)

Abigail Truebig said

at 4:31 pm on May 10, 2014

Hi all,

just to let you know that if you upload to screencast.com and embed onto this page, Apple users can't play it back! I've just used the link as it plays back fine on my ipad.


Azucena Castellanos said

at 4:13 am on May 11, 2014

Hi Andrew Oraeki. I'm sorry but for some reason I couldn't see your video.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.