Tech Trends at Swarthmore

At a recent Academic Technology meeting we were discussing ITS-provided software and tools that have gotten the most interest from Faculty this past year. Take a look; if you see something you’d like to try, email


Padlet allows learners to collaborate online by posting text, images, links, documents, videos, and voice recordings. Included in the default templates are map and timeline-based “padlets”. This video gives a sense of how to set things up.


A versatile and easy platform used for blogging, portfolios, and publishing student content. You might also use WordPress for your CV, Field Research, Academic Conferences, or a Professional Portfolio through Domain of One’s Own. You can restrict access, or publish content for the world to see. More information on blogging assignments.

Ed discussion boards

A next-generation discussion tool that allows you to incorporate: videos, images, attachments, runnable code, math equations, image annotations, and markdown shortcuts. It was built for STEM, but we think it is useful for anyone incorporating online discussions.


A free social-learning platform for reading and annotating text. It aims to motivate students through active and collaborative learning strategies. As they read, students can highlight text, creating comments and asking questions that other participants can reply to. They can also create private notes. The software can generate a “confusion report” and provide other analytics of student engagement. You may find these “Instructor Stories” useful.


If you’re thinking of having students author media-rich essays or digital exhibits Scalar may be worth a look. “The content is both linear—using paths like a traditional table of contents—and nonlinear—using tags for navigation. Because paths may contain other paths and tags may contain other tags, Scalar creates a “crisscrossing” effect within content, which contributes to a much richer experience than traditional print materials can.” For examples and more information check out this article.