These are amazing times for being a teacher. Our classrooms are no longer constrained to chalk or paper, our lessons no longer imprisoned in textbooks. Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes passion and initiative, and along with the challenges come the exhilarating opportunities.
EdTech tools have literally exploded everywhere, so it would be impossible or at least impractical to list them all. However, here are some that we have tried at our school: the good, the bad, and the best.
Edmodo – An effective social edu-platform that keeps us connected and organized
YouTube – Used it to flip the classroom
Duolingo– perfect for learning languages
Prezi – A way for both teachers and students to create engaging presentations
MakeyMakey – Maker kits that were a great addition to our MakerSpace
I really can’t mention any “bad” technologies. Yes, there were some we tried and eventually were not very excited about – but we realize that the very same tools could work wonders in other contexts. However, I must say I feel cautious about “one size fits all” EdTech classroom solutions – the kind that some companies try to push into schools. They offer you the skies of technological innovation –usually at a high cost- and promise you “effortless” integration. Materials are pre-done and ready to administer in the rented equipment. Two things worry me about these apparently brilliant solutions: One, with technology in the classroom, there is no such thing as effortless integration, ever. And if it is, then no one is really learning, at least as much as they could. We all need to stumble a little here and there to find a good match for our very diverse needs and interests – and those of our students’. Second, when you invest that much in something, you feel compelled to use it, even if it turns to be not what you expected. Out of economic guilt, you commit to your provider’s tech ideas, extinguishing your own.
Teachers and students should have the freedom to explore what works and what doesn’t in their unique environments. You can achieve the skies those companies offered you – and you don’t need to shed so much cash. Yes, you will work more, but the outcomes can be equal or larger.
These are the tools that have totally rocked our classrooms!
- Skype – we use it widely for connecting with schools around the globe, having virtual fieldtrips and inviting guest speakers to our classrooms. It’s easy to find partners in Microsoft Educator Community.
- Stop Motion Studio Creativity unleashed! My students created stop motion animation movies in a wide variety of themes- then we had a red-carpet premiere!
- Weebly – Easy and fun way to learn how to create websites and blogs. You can manage your students’ assignments from your educator profile.
- Paths to math: Created by fellow Top Global Teacher Blogger Maarit Rosi, it’s math teaching at its best. Students engage in real life problems to be solved – while having fun!
- PowToon – My kids absolutely love the animated videos you can create with this tool. Here is one example.
I am fully aware that there are so many more tools out there – and oh, we are so ready to welcome 2018 playing around with some of them!
As part of C.M. Rubin’s Top Global Teacher Bloggers, this is my response to this month’s question: What edtech tools have dramatically supported/improved learning in your classroom environment in the past few years?