Saturday, May 28, 2016

The most innovative tools on the internet

I am a fan of using the simplest tools to do a multitude of things.  It has lead me to find what I consider to be the most innovative tools on the internet.  I can use these tools every day for the next year and use them a different way every single day.  What is better, I do not have to learn 1000 different tools to do what I want to do.  I can work in a comfort zone and learn some great, in-depth things about these tools.

We need to model and inspire creativity to develop divergent thinking to get students to have an entrepreneurial spirit.

I have read blog posts and the horizon report on where technology is going and the most transformational tools on the internet.  I see augmented reality, but my students do not have the app on the chromebooks.  Google cardboard and expedition, but cardboard does not hold anything other than a cell phone (I don't have 40 of them).  Blended and mobile learning, but in my area I do not wish to create inequity for the students without devices, access to the device, or internet at home.  Digital textbooks, great resource as long as it is used correctly.  Social Media, blocked in my district.

I disagree with the idea that these are up and coming technology tools for the classroom.  I think that the up and coming technology is the tech that already exists.  The innovation comes with the application.  We are teaching the common core standards with a focus on collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.  We need to model and inspire creativity to develop divergent thinking to get students to have an entrepreneurial spirit.  An entrepreneur is the ultimate innovator, like a divergent thinker is the ultimate creative genius.

So what are the most innovative tools on the internet? Spreadsheet and a Slide

If a spreadsheet is just a place for numbers in boxes and a slide is the thing that holds words and pictures for your students to write and draw as you talk, then watch the video above.  Spreadsheets can be used for gradebooks, art, mapping workflow, collaborating, organizing, communicating and holding conversations, curating resources, posting student generated work, creating rubrics, document creation, databases, and the list goes on and on.  Slides can be used as video backgrounds, newspaper templates, newsletters, collages, children's books, collaborative spaces, class-wide blogging, sharing pictures, choose your own adventure stories, and many more.

Spreadsheets and Slides are the most expandable programs.  They have the lowest bottom floor of any internet tool available (maybe a doc), but they also have the largest potential for creativity and creation.

What does this mean for you as a teacher?

To integrate technology, you do not need to find the newest, best tool out there.  You need to use the one that you most likely already know how to use and apply it in a different way.  Think divergently.  If you do want another tool, use one that integrates with these to make your life easier.

What does this mean for you as a admin or leader of PD?

If you know EdTech you may have heard the terms SAMR and TPACK.  

I will go into those at a later post, but they generally talk about transforming activities, lessons, and student generated products with technology.  Teachers can transform their classes with simple technology.

Technology PD is simply professional development on teaching practice.  I am an advocate for the belief that it is not great teaching unless there is support for language learners, differentiation for fast and slow learners, and technology.  If your technology PD is on an expandable program like spreadsheets or slides, you are able to differentiate your PD for those who have a discomfort with clicking and making mistakes, requiring more attention while also providing an extension for those who may know the program but have only used it in a single facet.

Narrow the tools you teach, expand your influence to apprehensive teachers, get more teachers to integrate technology and transform their classrooms.

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