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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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Lynn H. Jones's picture
Lynn H. Jones
Secondary mathematics teacher from Monroe, Louisiana

How do you make this choice? What is good for one class may not work for another. Our Spanish teacher has awakened her students with clickers, DanceMat, Smartboard, and document camera. I went to TCEA and I am still trying to look at all the neat resources they had. One site that is very interesting for ESL teachers, Speech teachers, and Speech Therapist is www.englishchannel.com. It takes a speech, breaks it down into sentences and when the student reads the sentence back, it will score them on pronunciation and show them how to pronounce the word.

Toni Krasnic's picture
Toni Krasnic
I help students learn and succeed in school and life with mind maps.

In our information-based society, the ability to manage and process large amounts of information is extremely important. One tool/technique that's superb at doing this is called visual mapping (aka mind mapping).

Visual mapping is a whole brain system (combination of right and left brain) to capture all your important information. It's a matter of taking information that you have and with which you are presented and then organizing it in a more useful and meaningful way. By using visual maps, you can better and more quickly capture, consolidate, organize, and analyze information and knowledge, and enhance your ability to understand subjects, solve problems, and learn.

Think of a visual map as a tree, where the various outlying branches -- the subconcepts -- all connect back to the trunk or central concept. The elements of a given visual map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, with the goal of representing accurate and meaningful connections among them.

Visual mapping is already successfully used in business (many of top companies use it) and education (in many UK schools, visual mapping is now a core learning skill in the curriculum), and can be easily learned and used by anyone, including high school students.

Visit www.ConciseLearning.com/visualmapping for more information on how students can learn using visual maps.

Toni Krasnic's picture
Toni Krasnic
I help students learn and succeed in school and life with mind maps.

Thanks for your interest Rebecca.

My favorite free software is XMind: http://www.xmind.net.

My favorite propriety software (what I use) is Mindjet's MindManager: http://www.mindjet.com. It costs $150 for students and teachers and it's used by 1.5 million users.

For videos on how to mind map, see this YouTube compilation: http://www.youtube.com/ConciseLearning#g/c/B95B4BEF46F9D498

To see a sample of one of my visual maps, click here: http://conciselearning.com/pdf/sos2exams.pdf.

I hope you find this useful.

Mary Ferrarini's picture
Mary Ferrarini
High School math teacher at Diman Regional Vocational High School

No dount about it -- Interactive White Boards. this tool allows you to bring in other technology (youtube, internet, electronic textbook)-- it opens up a whole world to a classroom.

Shari Sjogren's picture

Kindle, v5.0

I think a couple of years from now, the answer will be the the next Kindle-type device. Kids won't lug out of date textbooks aground. The size of the font and the background color will be customizable. The device will save your place, allow you to access video or supplemental pages right there, and possibly be capable of online classroom chats (but not regular internet). They'll be water resistant and drop resistant and have a long battery life.

J D Nick Yinger's picture
J D Nick Yinger
AP Chemistry, General Chemistry, Physical Science

High school chemistry:

I figure mine won't be especially popular with everyone, but I am at the point where so few students use the textbook as it is that I am ready to write it off as a waste of money.

I would find a device like an iPad or eReader that had a decent periodic table like the iPad app "The Elements: A Visual Representation", access to wikipedia and a calculator far more useful than a heavy book that is never read (despite assigned readings".

Furthermore, a web accessible eReader would allow a far greater use of Web 2.0 friendly curriculum. Which could utilize several of the other aforementioned widgets and apps.

I know it isn't the cheapest, but I think it could be a fantastic add.

J D Nick Yinger's picture
J D Nick Yinger
AP Chemistry, General Chemistry, Physical Science

I guess I should've read more comments sooner. It seems the kindle concept is much more popular than I thought.

Lynnette H's picture
Lynnette H
7/8 Social Studies

Technology is such a hotbed of discussion. After reviewing this site the ideas seem limitless. I think one tool that should be utilized more is the opportunity for students to create wikis. This is such a great medium for discussion and cooperative learning. The opportunities for the students to interact with other students around the globe can only expand their knowledge when done correctly.

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