Tech Be Nimble
When it comes to comics, xkcd is one of my favorites and this is a classic for me. I frequently reference it when Apple announces a new product. :)
I'm more than a little embarrassed that I didn't already know about this great resource, but I figure if I don't know about it, there might be others in the same boat. So I'm spreading the word!
Richard Byrne has a great site that links to tools and resources that are FREE and have EDUCATIONAL USES!
Obligatory disclaimer: the content and learning goals should come first. Only use tools to enhance what you teach. Unless you have a major assignment due for grad school and are looking for a way to procrastinate -- then, spend all day exploring this site and thinking of ways to use these tools in the classroom! ;)
UDL (or Universal Design for Learning) offers some really excellent affordances when it comes to staying nimble. If your entire curriculum is designed around the assumption of variation in learners and treats "difference" as "normal," you're prepared for anyone who walks through your classroom door. The best source of information that I've found for those interested in learning more about UDL is here: http://www.cast.org/udl/
Here's an infographic I put together with Canva for an upcoming Edcamp if you're interested in a quick summary:
This excerpt of a recent blog post from blogger Mark Isero caught my eye:
"One day, out of exasperation, I loaned my personal Kindle to a student who was a reluctant reader; he loved it. So I thought it might be a good idea to ask other people for their used digital reading devices and to see what would happen. For the first year, there were on five to eight devices, and I loaned them out. I noticed that really skilled readers liked the devices and so did really struggling readers, particularly boys. In particular, struggling readers liked the coolness of the tech, that you can make the text bigger, that you can look up words, that you can have text to speech, and that you can hide what you're reading."
As a former reading specialist, I've been a little old-fashioned about books in the classroom -- kids need to hold the book! They need to turn the pages! They need to smell that delicious old/new book smell! But Mark's point about being able to "hide what you're reading" really resonated with me. For kids who are reading below level, for kids who are reading things that interest them but might be embarrassing, the Kindle is a perfect solution. Actually, now that I think about it, this applies equally to adults (I'm looking at you, 50 Shades of Grey devotees).
What other unexpected affordances have Kindle-users noticed?
I love this series from Edutopia. If you're looking for some inspirational examples of technology integration in the classroom, make some time to review a couple of these sample lessons; they're short, sweet, and usually very high-quality.
Needs change. Technology changes. The best educational technology stays nimble.