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Tech Tools and Tips During Distance Learning: Teaching Tools

A compilation of free and subscription tools and tips created by the hive mind of SAS teachers sharing suggestions

Microsoft Teams 101

Download the app first by going to  Use your school login information to set it up. Have the app open as you work through the guides to familiarize yourself with the interface and features.

The links are in a recommended order, starting with creating a Team for your students.
(credit to Annalee Higgenbottom)
Here's the document that shows how to setup and record sessions for a whole Team to access and how to setup and record sessions for specific attendees only (a common use case being remediation sessions that you would rather not share to a larger group of students):  10 Creating Recordings of Teams Meetings.docx 

Creating Open Teams For Office Hours

How to create sessions that are open to any students, not just those of a particular class or course:

1 – Create a generic office hours team (see tech guide above)

2 – Share your team with students

Option 1 - Create a link to share the team by clicking on the three dots next to your team name and then select “Get link to team.” Share the link and students can request to join your team, you will still need to approve them.

Option 2 – Create a code to share the team by clicking on the three dots next to your team name and then select “Manage team.”

Looking for Schoology Help?

Find Schoology help by clicking the tab above that says "Tech Instructional Coach Tips," which will take you to links to their weekly updates. 

Puxi High School teachers' Schoology pages can be reviewed. This Teacher Guide, shows you how to get read-only access to those pages.

Make & Edit Screencasts

Credit goes to the collective hive mind of David Gran, Larry Ehnert, and Dakota Cronin for this advice to teachers.

For Videos

Premium Access to Meditation App

Many of us are experiencing the strain of having our routines and comforts disrupted, and finding balance and taking care of ourselves will likely require some adjustments. We need to take care of both our physical states but also our mental states, and fortunately SAS has free subscriptions to the very well-regarded meditation app Headspace.

To sign up for a Headspace Educator account click this link and use your SAS email address to sign up (your SAS email address is required - personal emails will not work). This will also work with student accounts, so please feel free to use the app with your classes as well.

How to Update Your Time Zone

eBooks on Distance Learning


For Interaction

  • Getting students to summarize and focus in on what is really important can be a challenge. Using the “Tweet” strategy can be a useful tool. Have students write an opinion statement about the concept being presented in an infographic, reading, video or presentation. The rules: It must be less than 140 characters and include a # statement - Just like Twitter. Have them Post their tweet on the wall in the classroom, message board, or using the backchannel template in Padlet.
    Example: Present the infographic below and have them summarize their reaction to the information presented.
    Example Tweet: Our lives are happening right in front of our faces but on a screen. #digitalrevolution, #Facebooksucks
    Click on the graphic below to add your own Tweet to the discussion
    (credit to Jerry Koontz)

From the Wellness Committee

Will It Work Without VPN?

If you would like any websites, resources, or URLs checked to see if they will function properly within China without a VPN, please email them to The Helpdesk is checked 24/7.

YouTube Alternatives

Two China-based video streaming services house a variety of useful and relevant content, available in a variety of languages. Links to clips can be shared directly and be accessible to students, no matter their geographical location.

1. Youku, the digital movie platform similar to Youtube, is accessible for our students in and around Shanghai. There are a lot of videos on the streaming service that could be useful for students in your classes, including Khan Academy. Using the search command at the top, you can find videos covering a lot of topics.

2. Bilibili is similar, and works to organize videos by categories as well.

(credit: Tiefel and Higginbottom)

Make Videos Load Faster

Compress your files! Teachers are strongly encouraged to make all shared video files as small as possible- less than 40MB is ideal. It is easily done in Quicktime or in iMovie.

In Quicktime simply chose File > Export as > and pick the size you want, the smaller the number the smaller the file size...but the lower the quality. For most things even 480p will be fine, especially those instructional narration videos.

In iMovie when you begin the process of creating the movie (File > Share > File) you will have a handy popup window (see second screenshot) that not only lets you chose the Resolution (the numbers again) but the Quality as well. What's really handy is it also gives you an estimate of the file size on the left under the preview picture.

(credit Jason Tiefel)

Or use the app Handbrake.  


NOTE: Video content created in Teams is automatically uploaded to Stream and links can be shared with students through a Schoology link. There is no need to compress this further. 


For Podcasts

Royalty Free Sounds & Music

For Quizzing

Using TurnItIn

For Blogging

More Professional Learning

Created by

Marie Slabyundefined
SAS Puxi High School Librarian