Toolboxes – an overview of overviews
There are now so many digital tools, apps, programs and platforms for digital teaching and learning that it can be difficult to choose. Annotated overviews, websites and toolboxes are intended to make this selection easier and to make applications easier to find. We have tried out and compared some of them.
FindMyTool originated as a collaborative tool on Github and includes over 800 tools as of today. The filterable collection in the form of tiles is available in German, is constantly being expanded and updated, and allows suggestions. The use is free and possible without registration.
The bildung.digital list is aimed specifically at schools and teachers and is organized by application area. Only tools recommended by the editorial team are presented. The list is free of charge and available in German without registration.
Portal:Tools is designed by Martin Luther University Halle for university teaching as a filterable table and presents a large selection of corresponding tools in German. There is the possibility to suggest tools and the use is free of charge without registration.
The digital tool collection from Hochschulforum Digitalisierung is the result of a community survey. The list includes a selection of tools for online events and is organized by application area. The list is free and available in German without registration.
On the crowd-sourced website AlternativeTo.net, users can search specifically for alternatives to a particular tool. The website displays descriptions and user comments about each tool and lets you filter the provided overview of alternatives by platform, features and license. It is available free of charge and without registration in English.
These examples differ, among other things, in their structure and focus such as specific topics or teaching/learning contexts. We are happy about all solutions that help to make tools findable and to decide consciously and criterion-guided for or against certain tools.
Like quite a few other OER projects, some overviews are funded by third party funding or limited by a funding line, so hosting may not be taken over in the long term (think of the wonderful OER Worldmap, which is unfortunately no longer available). With the idea of being able to optimize and administer an overview in the long term, the OESA Toolbox was created in May 2020 during the hackathon “Wir hacken das digitale Sommersemester” (We hack the digital summer semester) by the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (Higher Education Forum Digitization) as a volunteer-organized and independent project. It is intended as a filterable overview that can be used to search specifically for tools, categories, settings and functions. If a tool is missing from the overview, a new line can be added without registration and tracking, and we add any fields that may have been left empty. We host the toolbox in Germany and have provided a manual with ideas for didactic use under an open license (CC-BY-SA).
Looking to the future, we want to help optimize existing offerings and make interfaces available. For example, we are curious to see how the national education platform can advise teachers and learners in the search for and selection of suitable applications.