By Tracy Rea
How many hours have you spent searching for technology tools to support the learning in your classroom? With the limitless amount of educational software, online technology and applications available for teachers to implement and students to access, it can be a very daunting task to search out the ‘just right’ technology to meet the needs of your students.
Ask for Support!
Teacher/Colleague/Administration/Board Technology Facilitator recommended technology right in your school or board. These people are on the front line with you and know your students and school. Contact the Technology Facilitator or invite them into you class to introduce or co-plan and co-teach with you.
Sign up for Twitter!
I wish I had of done it sooner! Using Twitter will help you to search quickly through the feeds or use the search engine to see posts that other educators have tweeted. Make sure you are following experts and educators…as I’m pretty sure Beyonce and JLo aren’t tweeting anything about the latest Seating Chart application or online Math learning tool.
Use a Technology Specific Generator
TeachPitch is a free cloud-based learning platform that identifies online technology resources for teachers to see them, save, share and rate them as well as connecting them to other teachers around the world. This website was founded by a former teacher Aldo de Pape, who also found it difficult to have the time and knowledge to go through the myriad of technology resources that are available on the internet. By the way, this was a recommended resource I just happened to find on my Twitter feed!
Now that you have some quick sources, there are still some other important things to consider when choosing the technology.
1) Will it meet the Criteria and Learning Goal that I want my students to achieve? There has to be a purpose!
2) Do I have to ‘teach’ how to use the tool to get my students using the technology? If necessary, contact your Technology Facilitator or another colleague for support.
3) Is it free? Remember ‘free’ is not always the best learning option
4) Do I need a teacher account? Do they offer a teacher account?
5) Do my students need an account/email address? This can be a deterrent for elementary teachers
6) Is this a legal site for students? What are the Terms? Check with your Administration or Technology Facilitator to ensure it is Board Recommended.
7) Is it easy for my students to access, navigate, save, share, retrieve, submit their work?
8) Can I monitor student work in current time or track data to use for formative assessments?
9) Always explore the tool before you introduce it to your students
10) Is it ENGAGING? Remember, technology is used to enhance and support learning.
Happy searching…and don’t forget to share!