Free or paid for digital tools?

There is a common trend across digital tools.  Starting out as free anything with any potential is rapidly monetized.  This is not surprising as a lot of time and resources will have been used to develop a good product and a return on investment will be needed.

This impact on teaching that embeds digital tools.  If teaching is poorly resourced then free tools are all that will be available.  This may lead to an inferior quality of learning experience.

Throughout this course we have been encouraged to use “free” tools. There is no such thing as free!  At the very least shareware allows for a cut down version to be used.  Some tools purport to be free but require an account to be setup and then sell the acquired information (read terms and conditions carefully especially if requiring learners to set up accounts). Others are plastered in adverts that make them inappropriate to use in a learning environment.

The move towards digital is in danger of being subtitled The Cheap way – fewer staff, remote learners, free tools.  That way poor learning lies. An effective learning environment has to be well setup with a few choice tools to ensure learners receive a professional service.  If additional resources can be used cheaply and easily to enhance the learning that is all to the good.