Affordances & Implications for Commonly Used Digital Tools


skypeSkype also has many functions for exchanging information both synchronously and asynchronously. It also allows its users to make free video or voice calls both individually or in groups; therefore, students who are unable to come to school can have lessons through Skype (Michels & Chang, 2011). Thanks to the voice calls on Skype, speaking practice can be carried out easily on it (Yen, Hou, & Chang, 2015).  Besides, Skype can help to eliminate the difficulties of expense and time for commuting to schools. In addition, it has two useful functions: instant messaging and file sending. This can help students to write comments share documents and interact with other users (Michels & Chang, 2011). Moreover, the user of Skype also can share his or her screen while presenting something which can extend the presentation skills. In addition, Skype also has software to video or audio record the call. In this online course, Skype was used as a means for synchronous discussions resulting in live interaction because Skype allows group calling for free which in the future, if other teacher could learn to apply in the similar situation.

I had great experiences teaching students on Skype. While I was on New Zealand, I was able to teach a group of students in Vietnam. We had live interactions in which I could ask students questions and give them some feedback on their own works. I also carried out group work by asking students to call each other and discuss about the topic in a certain amount of time before I called them back. It was amazing when I could diversify my activities through Skype. If you are interested in online teaching, Skype could be a great digital tool to try for your class.

Google docs

google-docsGoogle docs is a writing application on which many people can work collaboratively at the same time. Many students can write and edit on the same page; therefore, it can be very useful tool for learning and teaching writing.

Google docs is fantastic because it enables me to work with my students who are far away. I am in New Zealand and I can correct my students’ writing through Googles docs.  I usually employed Skype for phone calls to talk with my students and I gave my comments on students’ writing on Google docs. By doing this, I could edit my students’ works as I did in Microsoft words. I was able to use all the functions there. The good thing was that students could view the teacher’s feedback in a different color.

The best part of Google docs is that all the students can work collaboratively on the same Google page and give their comments on their friends’ work.  The second great thing about Google docs is that students’ names will appear when they are typing; therefore, as an instructor, you are able to know who is doing what. Last but not least, the file on Google docs can be kept online via students’ email and students can access to it anytime they like.


zoomZoom is an online tool for organizing online meeting. It is quite easy to use and the sound quality of Zoom is much better than other software.  It is also very easy to use. You just need to register an account and then you have a Zoom link which you can host a meeting online by sending this link to the participant. The participants just need to click on the link and install the software into their computer and attend the meeting.

The best thing about Zoom is that the teacher could adjust the volume of the participants, so if there is background noise from one student, the teacher could turn off student’s microphone.

Through my online teaching experience, Zoom was really great for the sound quality and easy for students to access. They could come in any time with the link the teacher gives him/ her. Especially, Zoom allows the teacher to record the online meeting, so the teacher could send the recording for students who did not attend the meeting. I have been teaching online using Zoom. This application is very useful for me in holding the online interaction with students and give them feedback.


facebookFacebook could be used for teaching as a learning platform.

Donlan (2012) showed that students used Facebook for variety of personal reasons such as contacting their friends, updating their status, chat with friends and making schedule. Furthermore, the Facebook interface is easy to use to establish networking with other students and students have been shown to be satisfied with Facebook as a learning platform because they can have two-way communications with the instructor. Compared to the traditional tools such as videos, Facebook was more advanced than one-way communication (Chou & Pi, 2015). Facebook was employed in this study as a learning platform because of the following reasons. First, most of the students had Facebook accounts and they used Facebook for variety of purposes, so they were quite familiar with the interface and knew how to use it very well. Second, closed Facebook group could be created in order that students’ confidentiality within the same group could be guaranteed and the outsiders could not have observed the process of interactions of all the students during the online course. Third, all kinds of materials such as videos, audio files, pictures, and text could be uploaded on Facebook easily. Fourth, every time students uploaded something on Facebook, the notification would be sent to the members of the group and they could follow the information easily.

I had great experiences in using Facebook as a learning platform. I could upload the topic and ask students to make recording with that topic before they could upload online. Then other students were able to listen to the recordings and comment on them. For writing, Facebook was also an effective tool because it empowered the online interaction when one student posted his/her writing on the closed Facebook group and other students could view and comments. The teacher could give multiple choice questions in the group with the poll functions. If you are interested in Facebook, you can try and share you experiences with us.