Readers' Survey 2007: Best Tech Tool

Edutopia readers weigh in on their favorites.

Edutopia readers weigh in on their favorites.

The Computer

We were not really surprised that the winner by a wide margin is the computer. Way back in the 1980s, Time magazine named the computer Man of the Year, so by now it's not news that computers are as basic in schools as whiteboards and PB&J sandwiches. The wrinkle this year is that most of the readers who extolled the computer specified laptops, as portable as textbooks but far more abundant in content.

Other reader choices show that when computers are a given, more novel tech becomes standard: interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, iPods, and word processing (which won't by itself make kids better writers but can make them more willing ones). It's heartwarming to note that more than a few respondents still made the case for the pencil, with an eraser -- a classic blessing at both ends. Not one educator, by the way, nominated the cell phone.

Our Take

Upward Mobility

Computers are so embedded in business and private life that we hardly notice how much we depend on them. Let's put them on the essential commodity shelf, then, along with the refrigerator and the radio. The new sine qua non of modern life -- and modern learning -- is the Internet. Well, not new, because the smart young brainiacs at Netscape gave us regular folks the chance to trade Pez dispensers (hello, eBay!) or tell the world about our favorite color (MySpace is your space) years ago. But let a third grader "fly" to his or her home address on the magic carpet of Google Earth, and you may pique an interest in geography in a way no textbook map can.

NEXT PAGE OF READERS' SURVEY: Hottest topic in the teachers' lounge

2007 Readers' Survey Index

This article originally published on 5/8/2007

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Comments (13)

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Alisha (not verified)

Computers and smart boards

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Computers are such an important asset to the classroom today. Students are able to increase their knowledge and learn more over all quicker through the computer. My students go on a computer almost everyday in my classroom. The gains they have made at such a young ago are unbelievable. Not only are they wizards on the keyboard they know how to look up information and get research on specific subjects. These students are only eight and nine years old.
Having a smart board in your school is a great resource. Smart boards are great for classroom research, projects, discussions, and whole class activities. Students are so engaged when interacting with a smart board. This is a wonderful way to engage all students and get them involved with a lesson.

Phyllis (not verified)

SMART boards

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The most useful tech tool that I have in my class other than the computer is my interactive smartboard and document camera. My kids use it during center-time and they are becoming very tech-savy. We also use it during small-group and whole-class activites on a daily basis.

Jennifer Brown (not verified)

Tech Tool

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I love to use the smart board in my classroom. It is a great way to use technology and get students to participate in a small group or whole class discussion.

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