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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What is the one new technological tool that all middle/high schools should add?

What is the one new technological tool that all middle/high schools should add?

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If you could suggest that every middle and high school teacher add one new technological widget to their repertoire of tools for promoting the highest quality learning, what would you recommend that they add? How could this tool promote high quality learning? (Do you have any specific examples of how this tool has already lifted learning?)

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Russell Dysart's picture

Using a class blog to record class notes, insights, and selected essays is an excellent way to give your students a global audience. Students are motivated by the fact that their work will reach outside the confines of the classroom. I am just beginning to familiarize myself with this technology and have set up a blog today: http://dysartclass.blogspot.com. It was easy to do. The next step is for me to learn about RSS feeds and set up an educational community similar to this one.

Sharon Porter's picture

I love using VoiceThread. My graduate students can weigh ion on a topic, see each other's faces but still enter their thoughts on a topic when they get a chance.

Amanda Ruddick's picture

I totally agree. The possibilities are endless of what teachers and students can produce with Kidspiration, as well as, the newest Inspiration version. The biggest problem I can see with this is that the majority of students cannot work on their assignment at home. A solution is Inspire Data. It is especially useful for group work. Not sure how the power of the two programs differ.

Liz Delmatoff's picture

I love this tool and use with with middle schoolers daily. It is basically a closed, safe, fun social media tool, very similar to Facebook. We can share ideas, work together, post notices, text, chat, share vids, pics and links, participate in polls and record grades and assignments. It's free and fabulous!

Paul Bogush's picture
Paul Bogush
8th Grade Social Studies

Skype would be the tool.
Imagine working in an office cubicle and not being able to collaborate or communicate with anyone else!
Skype connects kids directly with "the real world" and gets them out of their cubicle.
One project we do with skype:

Aaron Fowles's picture
Aaron Fowles
ESL Teacher

Collaborative Writing software a la Google Docs, Wave, or Ietherpad. Being able to provide students with real-time feedback on their writing is absolutely wonderful and pedagogically useful.

Jim Snyder's picture
Jim Snyder
Math Coach and Interventionist

Not to be too facetious, but I deliver math content at a performing arts high school. They have been continually ignored for technology upgrades and most teaching sites in the computer labs are blocked. My biggest tech upgrade would be "refillable dry erase markers". The technology gap is serious. Where standardized tests are the benchmark; comparing low tech school test scores with high tech school test scores proves a dis-service to the school system and hobbles teachers and students.

Liz Delmatoff's picture

Cell phones are a great tool for "low tech" classrooms. Most cell phones are really advenced - even the cheap ones. They are tiny little computers that kids use all day. I am amazed by how even the most economically deprived kids have cells. One phone for a small group is the same as one computer for a small group. There are some great lesson plan ideas out there for cellphone use, especially in math and world languages.

Amanda Ruddick's picture

I would like to comment on Jim's post. Unfortunately, you are having the same problems in your school that others are having. In addition, even the schools that have relatively up-to-date equipment are blocked from, and do not offer affective content area technology integration professional development.

I do promote using the ipod touch and of course ipad (expensive), however, the tool I would recommend would be access to the free resources on the net. Google for schools, moodle online courses, ect.

Another option, that some teachers do not understand, is that they really only need 5 to 6 laptops in their classroom. Not 30 or more for each student. All these 1:1 programs, it is crazy! Did someone in education forget that we are supposed to be promoting group work. Teaching kids to work together. By providing 1:1, you are teaching kids to work by themselves. They are in the same classroom. It also teachers socialization skills.

Laura Friesen's picture

I am loving google docs for group work and projects. It makes time spent on problems valuable, truly collaborative, and transparent. I have only been using it as a student in a Masters program for the past year and already I can't imagine being without it. How did we function before? Students frequently ask me to help them edit documents (although I do not teach English) and it works exceptionally well for this, too. However, I am hoping to implement google docs in my classroom for a variety of collaborative projects and that is where the true power lies.

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