By: Christine Upton
As a teacher completing a graduate program in Education at a Technology driven University I am often asked by other teachers, “What are the best tech tools out there?” It is important for educators to understand that using technology does not just mean bringing a laptop cart into the classroom or having a class set of IPads. Teacher’s need to make sure the tech tools they are using provide meaningful opportunities for their students. Although, it may seem as easy just to Google “fun tech tools for students,” teachers should follow these three steps when choosing the right tech tool for their learning environments.
Step 1: Who is Your Audience?
Remember back to your secondary school days when there was nothing worse than having an assignment given to you where you would say to yourself, “is this teacher for real…I am not in elementary school anymore”! Well, the same goes for incorporating tech tools today. Be aware of the age appropriateness of the particular tech tool that you are going to use. Make sure it accommodates the Net generations fast-paced digital usage.
Step 2: Stay Out of Trouble!
Many Ontario school boards have policies in place for students when it comes to their digital technology information sharing. Make sure you find out all of the terms and conditions of various technology tools before you have your students sign up. If students personal information becomes private the blame can come back at you. I recommend collaborating with your board technology facilitator before trying out a new program. For example, recently I wanted my students to create a digital portfolio on a website. I emailed my boards facilitator regarding using a website builder called Wix and that I was worried about student privacy issues. Within an hour, he wrote back with recommendations to use Weebly Education!
Step 3: What’s the Point?
Meaningful! Make sure the technology you choose to use in your classroom is useful and connects with your learning goals. Use technology tools that create real-world; authentic learning experiences for your students. When students engage with technology, they will be motivated to learn the tool itself. Remember we are working with the Net Generation after all! Technology tools are great for collaboration, organizational tools & feedback but most importantly we want our students to wonder, make connections, and scaffold their learning. Check out these meaningful technology tools created by M.Ed students at UOIT.