Blog Post

Free tech tools you can use right now in your work with Newcomers

By: Marco Campana
July 4, 2022

I developed the website Frontline Tech for Settlement Practitioners as a proof of concept for the Canadian Immigrant and Refugee-serving Sector’s National Steering Committee on Technology (NSCT). The NSCT is responsible for adopting a shared and collaborative vision for a Strategic Plan and Road Map based on the recommendations stemming from the Technology Task Group and other key reports and consultation processes that occurred in the last two years. This plan aims to move the Sector towards digital transformation and hybrid service delivery that engages the sector and is responsive to the needs, priorities, abilities and circumstances of newcomers. 

The future home of this site will be developed and designed elsewhere (to be determined). However, the site in its current format is useful for you. You can access the archive of free (and freemium) resources & tech tools that frontline workers can use in their service delivery work. The library organizes and classifies successful examples of technology and innovation in the settlement sector. 

The focus is on practical projects, and client-facing tools, resources, and toolkits frontline workers can use as they progress towards digital transformation and hybrid/blended service delivery.

This site is made up of:

  • practical tools that frontline workers can access where they haven’t had time to invest, and build internal staff capacity
  • Tools they can use easily
  • Predominantly free (or freemium tools)
  • Easily accessible by frontline workers
  • Can be applied to real world situations

Each tool will include information using this template:

  • Description
  • Current known uses in the sector
  • Video overview
  • Pricing
  • Ease of use & Accessibility
  • Mobile friendly
  • Privacy/security features, including data security and message encryption
  • Multilingual capabilities
  • Additional resources

Jump into the site's categories

Collaborate with Others Using Online Writing/Documents
These tools include whiteboard and shared document tools you can use to collaborate with and share with Newcomers and colleagues.

Collaborate with Teams or on Projects
Virtual collaboration spaces where you can share visual information, have group text, voice, and video chats, including creating channels or sub-groups to focus on specific topics.

Conduct Online Surveys, Polls, and Collect Feedback
Tools you can use to conduct surveys, polls, and gather feedback, including tools you can use in real-time during live meetings/online sessions.

Create how-to Videos Capturing My Screen
Video screencasting tools you can use to create how-to videos that include voice narration, which you can use to describe what you are doing on the screen as you show it to Newcomers.

Create Multimedia Such as Video, Edit Photos, Create Presentations/Flyers
Online graphic/image, audio and video, slideshow, and visual design tools you can use to create multimedia content to use in your presentations, documents, meetings, and more.

Deliver Online Courses
Tools and platforms that can help you deliver actual online courses (such as Learning Management Systems) as well as interactive tools to use during online courses.

Digital WhiteBoards/Collaboration
Online whiteboard tools you can use for brainstorming, creating visualizations of meetings, which can be used in real-time as well as before and after live sessions to capture information visually.

Facilitate Online Group Discussion
Tools and platforms you can use to host online discussions, from digital messaging tools, to online discussion platforms, as well as interactive tools you can use to help with engagement during those discussions.

Hosting Videos Online to Share Easily
Websites where you can upload and host videos that are easy to share through other communication channels.

Message Newcomers & Colleagues with Digital Instant Messaging
Digital Instant Messaging tools you can use to communicate with Newcomers using text, voice, video, as well as share documents/attachments, and host group discussions or broadcast lists to share information.

Save Documents to the Cloud
Cloud storage sites where you can upload files, sync files saved on your computer to the cloud as backup, as well as use the sites to share files with others as an alternative to emailing (particularly useful for large files), as well as provide spaces where others can share large files with you.

Sending Email
Common free email tools you can use, perhaps to create alternative email addresses for different use.

Schedule Meetings with Clients and External Colleagues
Calendar scheduling tools and sites that connect to your calendar which you can use to provide a link to others to choose a date/time to meet with you. Also tools you can use to create polls to choose a meeting date/time for a group of people to submit their availability to.

Share Information Through Email Mailing Lists
Common free tools to create broadcast email newsletters to send messages to Newcomers about services, and other information.

Securely Manage My Passwords
Password managers you can use to create secure and unique passwords for the sites and tools you use, stored securely online.

Slides and Presentations
Tools and sites you can use to create online presentations and slideshows, like PowerPoint presentations.

Smartphone Apps for clients related to settlement & citizenship
Current smartphone apps created by sector and other organizations to provide Newcomers with information and orientation.

Stock Images/Illustrations for Presentations, Flyers, Websites, Social Media
Websites where you can find royalty/copyright free pictures and illustrations, with a focus on sites that have diverse and inclusive imagery for use in online content (such as websites), flyers, presentations, and other visualizations.

Texting from your computer
Key social media channels and tools you can use to post to and share information with Newcomers.

Tools to Post to and Share on Social Media
Key social media channels and tools you can use to post to and share information with Newcomers.

Video Chat with Newcomers
Video chat tools you can use to have video conversations and meetings with 1-on-1 or group settings.

Video Conferencing for Group Meetings/Sessions
Video streaming tools used mainly for live group video sessions, presentations, group discussions, collaboration, conversations, and service delivery.

Other useful information on the site includes:

A Note on Security and Privacy - an overview of key privacy and security considerations we should be aware of and keep in mind when providing online and hybrid services to Newcomers

Other Tech Tool Directories - There are many, many other tools out there, for varying purposes. Here is a list of a few other directories that have useful lists and categories relevant to immigrant and refugee-serving work.

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