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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

One of the things I'm learning as a curriculum technology specialist is that I have to be careful about how many tools I share at any given time. I maintain a blog for my district called Provenzano's GPSTech Guide. Every week I send out my Tech Tuesday update to the district.

When I first started, I used to jam every post with every tool I found during the week, because I thought, "All of the tools will help everyone!" As I the year progressed, I would get emails asking about tools I'd mentioned in previous posts that readers seemed to have missed. I quickly developed a few steps that better helped me share information with my district.

1) Don't Share Everything Right Away

There are many great tools out there, but there is no need to write all of them down at once. Stick with three tools per week. This is easy to take in and will not overwhelm a person new to tech -- and it should be enough to keep tech-savvy users coming back.

2) Variety Is Key

I would sometimes dedicate weeks to certain content areas and fill it with resources for them. That's a bad idea. What I did not realize at the time was that I was turning away readers who were not teachers of that subject. If I didn't hit their content area for a couple of weeks, they might not come back to see anything because they would assume the site was not for them. So try to share a range of tools for different content and grade levels.

3) Be Open to Suggestions

Always encourage people to share the tools they use with you and with others around them. The more accepting I was about hearing from others, the more input I received. I think some teachers assume that I know about all the tools out there, but that is far from the truth. I encourage my teachers to share anything they find because I might not have heard of it, or I might have heard about it but never used it. Creating a line of communication when sharing tools and ideas is important for helping teachers integrate technology into the curriculum.

These simple steps have made it easier to share tools with my staff. I get more positive feedback now than ever before. I encourage all tech people to share the sites they find with their staff. If you do, follow these tips and everyone is sure to benefit.

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