As teachers, we are encouraged to use technology in our classroom, but what does that mean? We want to implement technology in ways that help engage our learners in deep learning or to develop critical thinking skills. As I determine my top 3 tools of technology, I want to keep in mind that technology is a mind tool that engages students minds in deep learning…
My first choice is the chalkboard and/or whiteboard. Yes, I said it. The chalkboard. I have one in my shared classroom and I love using it. Example? I write the incomplete plans for 4 sample personal budgets in my Personal Finance class using a different color for each budget on my whiteboard and have students come fill in my blanks with a yellow marker. I design this activity using cooperative learning teams and students determine, together, the best use of the funds earned on the job. Most schools have replaced chalkboards with whiteboards which have the exact same capabilities as the age old chalkboard. This is my attempt at being realistic about how we view the use of technology in the classroom. Technology does not have to be electronic, it can be any tool that engages the mind in deeper learning.
Second choice is O365. One of my goals as a teacher with a 360 degree view of my classroom is to expose my students to the top platforms used to communicate and complete business activities such as setting up meetings in the 21st century.
I have a new vision of cross-training my students using platforms including Google, Apple and featuring Microsoft O365 as I believe it best models what will be used in business situations. I absolutely love the tiles and layout of O365. It is intuitive. I firmly believe that students taught to use O365 will be better positioned to get hired after high school and college. Better yet, if students were literate in a few platforms then they will blow the competition away!
Third and final choice is Docs.com. This tool is the answer to every business teacher (and job seekers) prayers! I have been waiting for 20 years for a program that could provide a template for creating a professional on-line portfolio and here it is….docs.com. This tool actually creates an immediate digital footprint for the user using their sign in and doubles as a personal website and resume with a bonus digital portfolio all in one. Absolutely amazing. I am a novice to this new tool but plan to fully integrate this technology into all of my business curriculum so that my students will be literally accepted to the college of their dreams, hired to the job of their dreams, and promoted at the dream organization!
Using technology as a mind tool is the best way for success with technology in the classroom. I select technology based on what I enjoy and what is highly effective in my view as a teacher. From chalkboards to post-it notes to code.org, as long as it is helping students achieve the goals you as the teacher set forth….then it is fabulous!