Saturday, 13 September 2014

30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 13: EdTech Tools

Day 13: Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

Tool: Google Apps for Education, particularly the Google Drive
Use: Creation and collaboration. Students effectively create slideshows, surveys, documents and drawings on the Google Drive. They can easily share them with their teacher and peers for help, feedback and to work together.
Effectiveness: Green light - once you learn how to log in to your account, transferring word processing skills from Microsoft's publishing suite is simple. Students consistently discovered new features and shared with one another. So empowering.

Tool: Chromebooks
Use: Individual devices with Chrome accounts personalized so each student's experience was completely differentiated and targeted at him or her. Used for creation (Google Drive), collaboration, (Google Drive) research (all over!), backchanneling (Today's Meet), practicing skills (IXL, Khan Academy, TypingWeb), contributing (Kiva, Free Rice), goal setting and tracking (
Effectiveness: Once they're up and running - green light. My current 3/4s still need to do their training before we're off and running. Teachers need to carefully monitor on-task work!

Tool: iPads
Use: CREATION! We use our class iPads (Isaac, Ivy and Ilys, and our class iPod, Itty) to create. We love apps like Puppet Pals and iMovie to create videos that we share with our school, families and the world. We've created stop motion films of our class pets, clubs and daily activities.
COLLABORATION! We meet with other classes from around the world to work together and play games (like Mystery Skype). Students who are not able to be in class (on holidays, illness) join us on Skype. Parents and families near and far Skype in to see what we are up to! We share our ideas on Twitter and our class blog and seek feedback.
Effectiveness: Green light - super easy to use, intuitive, good battery life, with the iGuy Speck case, iPads are sturdy and are carried around the school like members of our team!

Tool: Projector and Smart Board
Use: In my room, the projector is hooked to my classroom desktop (which is not working!) and I can hook up our iPad or my laptop. In the past, it's been used daily to collaborate as a class - students or I take notes on what we are discussing and work together on documents. Last year's class needed transparency in their learning, so our Daybook was posted on the projector each morning (as well as shared with them)
Effectiveness: Yellow light - since my classroom computer needs to be replaced, my daily use of our projector is temporarily limited. I do not use the Smart Board effectively yet. We play with the touch screen ability sometimes, but I am not terribly comfortable with the system and miss out of what are surely lots of great learning opportunities.

Some other tools we started to play with last year and I hope to explore more this year include: Our Sphero, our MaKey MaKey boards and Sifteo Tiles. These are awesome maker tools.

Overall, I love how using tech in the classroom can help engage kids and make them creative, critical thinkers.


  1. Shauna, I'm particularly interested in Sphero and MaKey MaKey. How do you plan on using them in the classroom? How do you plan on connecting them to curriculum expectations? Both intrigue me, but I'm trying to figure out the best way to possibly use them. I'd love to hear your ideas! Thanks!


    1. Hi Aviva,

      In general, we used them as "Pickle" work last year (pick a job after you finish all your mandatory work). Students used them to extend their learning.

      With MaKey MaKey, students addressed interesting design challenges and created music.

      With Sphero, they practiced their programming skills on the various free apps that you can get from the App Store.

      Both Sphero and MaKey MaKey allowed for students to demonstrate problem solving and leadership skills.

      I'm still figuring out ways to creatively incorporate them into curricular expectations.

      I do have these fun little Sifteo tiles that students programmed for little quizzes - matching, ordering, multiple choice. They used these as part of their summative tasks in different units of study.