The future of #edtech is now

My professional life revolves around education and I am constantly thinking how to better integrate technology to leverage great thinking. It’s both exciting and challenging to keep up with the newest tools and updates but easy to get carried away with the novelty of new “toys” and forget to make sure that the pedagogy of how we’re using it is sound. To that end I’d like to share some resources for reflection.

TIMThis Technology Integration Matrix is well laid out and I like the indicators down the left side they’ve chosen as their
“characteristics of the learning environment”. It’s important to note the progression from Entry to Transformation as students go from being passive consumers just downloading content, much like you might pass out papers in class, to more active participants where the teacher is a facilitator and student learning is greatly expanded. I also like how they have included links to example lessons for different subjects to serve as great idea starters from which to replicate or innovate.

Many of the lessons from the matrix use ISTE’s NETS as a basis for evaluation which is another great technology integration resource. The NETS family of standards have been developed for various stakeholders in education including students, teachers, administrators and coaches. Having used these in workshops before I love how four of the six NETS for students iste_nets-srefreshare not related to  technology at all. Good teaching is good teaching and while technology can expand our reach beyond our grasp it is essential to remember the importance of solid pedagogy.

When evaluating tools I look for a number of things. Cost is always an issue so free is definitely good but I’m willing to pay for a some increased functionality if it allows me to collaborate and share critical thinking easily and effectively. Among the free resources I use heavily Google Docs and Drive is a great place to do that and I also use Evernote quite a lot. It allows me to clip web pages (like I do in My Evernotebook) or parts of them as well as add my own content in the form of notes. In my quest to go paperless it also syncs my handwritten iPad notes from Penultimate automatically so I can see them on any device. Jing is another really handy tool that allows you to take and annotate screen shots. It also allows you to record up to 5 minutes of video as you navigate and narrate your screen, a great way to provide tutorials for example. Along a similar line is Voicethread which allows for asynchronous verbal interaction and collaboration online centered around different types of media.

Edcanvas is a new and exciting tool I recently discovered that incorporates many of the elements of those mentioned above. I really love the possibilities to easily pull together, present and collaborate on many different types of media. I also like how this video shows off their “lesson tracker” feature allowing you to gather data and feedback from students. This kind of functionality and features are exactly what I’m looking for! I would love to go on about more tech tools like Aurasma, Striking.ly, and Explain Everything if room permitted but I’ll invite you to share your favorites and comment on those I’ve shared.

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