Digital tools offer unique opportunities to support remote, and collaborative MEL.
We highlight tools we have used and note additional tools.
All the tools listed here are free for basic use unless otherwise noted.
- Video and Audio Conferencing
- Social Media
- Collaborative Platforms
- Translate and Transcribe
Video and audio-conferencing tools have opened up opportunities for remote communication and are accessible over the internet using smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- Zoom is a popular web conferencing tool that allows participants to communicate live over audio and video. The host of the meeting needs a Zoom account. Zoom is free for meetings that are up to 40 minutes. Zoom also has a recording feature.
- Skype is a popular audio and video call communication tool. Users must download a free program to use on their smartphone, tablet or computer. Users can also call land-line phones using Skype for a fee. Skype includes a recording function but deletes recordings after 30 days.
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft Teams
- GoTo Meeting (USD59 per month for up to 100 participants)
Social media is an easy way to share information with both small and large groups of participants using the internet. However, it is important to review the ethics of sharing information online. Who will have access? Closed or open groups? Will there be ground rules? Who will moderate the group? Are there concerns about security or sensitive content? Social media platforms can be accessed on smartphones, tablets, or computers.
- Padlet is an online notice board that participants can use to post content such as photos, text, audio and video. The host requires an account and can make up to three notice boards for free. Participants do not need an account to post. All notice boards can be password protected and accessed through link or QR code.
- Facebook is a popular social networking platform. Users require a personal account to post or connect. Many individuals already have facebook accounts.
- Microsoft Stream
Messaging applications are an easy way to share information over the internet or telephone. However, the ethics of online messaging groups. Ideally, who will have access? Will there be ground rules? Who will moderate the group? Are there concerns about security or sensitive content? Messaging platforms are most often accessed on smartphones.
- WhatsApp -WhatsApp is a popular messaging application for Android and Apple smartphones. WhatsApp allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other content.
- Messenger – Facebook Messenger is a popular messaging application available on Apple and Android. It can be used to share and send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, and other content. It can also be used on computers and tablets.
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft Teams
Collaborative platforms are a fun and interactive way to connect across remote teams using the internet. Each platform has strengths and limitations and should be tested with possible participants prior to use. Most are best used on a computer.
- Miro is an online web-based whiteboarding platform that helps teams digitally brainstorm and work together with digital sticky notes. The host requires an account to build a whiteboard, but users can join anonymously without an account. Non-anonymous users must register. Hosts can create up three whiteboards for free.
- Google slides is an online web-based slideshow program hosted by Google. It can be used to create a whiteboard page with moveable sticky notes. The host must have a Google account to make a presentation. Other users can join anonymously or with their Google accounts. Use a master template to create a non-editable background.
- Padlet (Accessible on a smartphone, table, and computer)
- Google Jamboard
While often seen as a quantitative tool, surveys can be a great way to quickly collect information from a wider group of people using the internet. Many can be used on smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Mentimeter is an interactive poll and survey platform. Hosts will need to make an account that is free for a maximum of two questions. Mentimeter can be used for live polling in presentations or workshops, or as self-led surveying. Participants can respond on their smartphone or computers with a QR or number code.
- Phonic is an online survey platform that supports both audio and video responses. Hosts can make three surveys with up to 10 questions and 50 responses for free. Transcription in 32 languages, sentiment analysis, emotional classification and energy levels is also included in the free version. Phonic can also connect with systems such as Qualtrics. Respondents can use a computer, tablet or smartphone to respond through an internet browser.
- Google Forms
- Microsoft Forms
- Survey Monkey
While not perfect, auto transcription and translation can speed up analysis processes for qualitative data (text, audio or video).
Be sure to review the ethics of uploading material online and if using YouTube or Stream, ensure that videos are not openly accessible. These tools require a computer with internet access.
Video or audio auto transcription or auto caption generation
There are many useful free and paid analysis tools for qualitative data. As always, consider the ethics of sharing data and who will have access to materials. All these tools require a computer with internet access.
- Google Doc Template
- Google Sheets Template
- Google Slide Template
- Voyant – All imported data is stored in the Voyant server.
- Dovetail (USD 15/month for one user)
- Dedoose (USD 14.95/month per active user for desktop application)
- Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis – A comprehensive list of further paid software
All links were valid in May 2021.