When I think of all of the available technologies that exist today to help teachers, students, and other learners, I instantly start to hyperventilate. I have the same feeling when I am in the peanut butter aisle at the grocery store. I mean really, how many types of peanut butter does one person need. I feel the same when using read/write tools and applications in the classroom. There are so many choices it is sometimes hard for me to choose which one to use, not to mention the ones in which my district places emphasis on for that particular school year. In three years I went from Wiki, to Moodle, and then to Blackboard. My own learning curve aside, my students didn’t know if they were coming or going.
Almost 50 years ago, Gordon Moore made a prediction about technology that proved to be highly accurate. Moore’s hypothesis was that the capacity of circuits would double every two years, making hardware that was only two years old obsolete. While this does not hold true necessarily for software, educators are constantly inundated with the latest and greatest which can cause one of my favorite expressions; paralysis by analysis. There are so many choices we either choose to few or too many, and are then left feeling overwhelmed.
In my classroom I use tools, both old and new, that I deem to be effective and that I feel will benefit students. These tools run the gamut from simple email and word processing to the use of newer applications such as Explain Everything or Prezi. I even go old school and use the tried and true number 2 pencil and foolscap paper. While I tend to get excited about the latest and greatest app to hit the education market, I make a conscious effort to not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. This is as hard for me as I am sure it is hard for you as teachers are, by nature, individuals who want to do the best job they can and hey, who can resist the siren call of that new shiny application that promises doubling your student’s educational gains.
There are many read/write tools that are highly effective for the classroom. I have mentioned a few of mine above. What are some of yours?