What’s the Best Tool for the Task?

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 1.42.28 PMIncluded in the Digital Tips Advent Calendar and part of the Effective Technology Integration category

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates

Teachers often have great projects and activities they want to enhance by adding a technology component. Often, the problem is determining which tools will be the most effective in meeting our needs. These are important questions to consider when integrating technology:

  • Do my students have access to the tool when they leave my classroom?
  • Can the technology support how students will have to turn in the assignment? Can the bandwidth support multiple uploads or will students turn in the project with a flash drive?
  • Is the technology free and user-friendly?
  • Does the technology support various learning styles?
  • How long will my students need to learn how to use the tool and can I afford the time to teach them how to use the tool?
  • Will I be able to embed?
  • What are the privacy settings and can I adjust them to match my needs?
  • Is the tool safe for students to explore aside from my guidance?
  • Do students have to register or can I make them accounts?
  • What are the age restrictions?

In addition to these questions, you can find various tools for different types of tasks by visiting the various sites below. I, also, recommend creating a digital sandbox for your learners so they can choose between a few of the tools you love!

Challenge:

Find the right tool for your task.

31 Days of Digital Tech Integration Tips

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, author, and international speaker. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She has co-founded and organized the acclaimed educational projects, Edchat, ELTChat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the ELTON nominated Virtual Round Table language and technology conference. Her prolific presence in the educator community through social media has been recognized by several notable entities, such as The New York Times, UNESCO Bangkok, Edweek, Converge Magazine, the United Federation of Teachers, the 140 Conference, Mashable, English Central, Tefl.net, and T/H/E JOURNAL. Her education blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, is ranked as one of the top 10 language teaching and technology blogs and the 50 best blogs for education leaders. In 2012 find her book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators published by Eye on Education and participate with over 7000 educators worldwide in this online professional development course that helps educators develop Personal Learning Networks and accomplish social media and teaching goals. Find her on Twitter, @ShellTerrell. Shelly has taught English language learners at various levels since 1998 in the US, Greece, and in Germany. She currently presents and hosts workshops on integrating technology effectively with young learners and adults. Shelly holds an Honours BA in English and a minor in Communication with a specialization in Electronic Media from the University of Texas in San Antonio and an Honours MA in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix.

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