Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Choosing Tech Tools

Thanks to EdCampOmaha (see previous post), I am new to twitter. It is an incredible resource for professional learning, and I cannot believe how many new tools I have already discovered through talented teachers' tweets. As I spend time thinking of ways to use these tools in my own classroom I want to work efficiently, focusing on what will most impact student learning.


This article from The Tempered Radical offers suggestions I really like. Instead of focusing on tools, we should consider outcomes first. Decide which broad skills we believe students need, and then choose tools that help them develop those skills. This makes sense to me, and I'm curious what you think.

At this point, I prioritize technology most when it engages students in a learning community larger than the one we share in our classroom. I believe in infusing technology in my classes to prepare students to contribute to the global discussions that will guide our future. I want my students to see themselves as integral parts of our class, of course, but also as equally important voices in a much larger discussion. While we contribute to a class wiki shared within the school, we learn even more if we skype with other classes studying the same topic, or with experts on the material. It is great to create visual representations of what we learn to help ourselves, but it is exponentially better to share those and help others.

Sometimes the extra bells and whistles many tech tools offer help keep students' attention, but do they really expand learning? I'll be the first to admit I've had success creating game show reviews, and there is certainly a place for those things in the classroom. However, our time is limited and I don't want my primary focus when integrating technology to be on bright, shiny tools that do little more than encourage memorization.

Considering outcomes before choosing tech tools should help eliminate this issue. However, different learners will connect with different tools, and their outcomes will then vary in part because of the tool used. There are so many great tools out there, and so many reasons for using different types...

 What's your advice? How do you decide which tools to learn more about, and which to include in your classes? I am eager to use more of these incredible tools in my lessons, and would love any tips on how you choose the best ones.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the new generation is very perceptive when it comes to information. If we make a short analysis of the past generation, we will see that my generation for example (84') for example, when technology and internet was something utopic, we cant compare the transition. Now you have a lot of more options and a lot of more resources and option to the information.