Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tech Toolbelt - Is it holding you up or weighing you down?

As the year went on, I started to develop a "Tech Toolbelt" for teachers of different subject areas. I found it helpful for me when working with them as a point of reference, and a way for technology to not be as overwhelming to teachers because they only need a few good tools in their toolbelt to start off with. I have only shown this to a few teachers directly; I mainly use it as a point of reference for myself as we begin our conversations.

Please note: just because there are "#" tools in the "Math Toolbelt" doesn't mean every math teacher needs all "#" tools.  They are just tools that I have found to be effectively used in that subject area.  There is a lot of overlap between subject areas as well.  I'd rather have a teacher have 2-3 tools in their toolbelt that they use really effectively and efficiently, than a bunch of tools that they don't use well.  (This is one of the reasons this document is just a point of reference for me to have in conversations and not a document I share with teachers openly).

 In addition, if your tech toolbelt gets too full because you are just trying every latest thing you hear about, your pants might just fall down!  (meaning the belt isn't doing your pants any good in holding them up, instead it's just weighing them down!)  Technology should be used to improve and enhance the teaching and learning in your classroom, not just used to "being using tech".  Teachers can reflect on the 4 E's when considering any of the tools in this list.

 At CUE2015, Jon Corippo said that it's hard to introduce students to new tech & new content at the same time. He suggested that we introduce students to new tech with something they are already familiar with. I came up with a list of ideas (definitely not fully finished, so please add any suggestions you have!) of ways that teachers could introduce new tech to students in non-content specific ways so they could get familiar with the tool. That way when they use the tool with content, they can focus on learning the material and not on figuring out the tool.

 This document is a work in progress (see below or access on Google Drive here). I'd love any ideas of things for the "beginning of year" or tools I'm missing that you think are crucial.


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