What makes for good technology for teachers?

There is sure a lot of new technology out there, and I think people just get overwhelmed. What I think gets missed sometimes is that people need to ease into new technology. Problem is, a lot of the stuff that is being presented to educators has a very high learning curve with a very limited potential for immediate use in the classroom.

I think there are certain criteria for what makes for really good technology for teachers:

1. It is free or of minimal cost
2. It requires minimal instruction
3. It’s available online
4. It’s compatible with most of the machines people commonly use
5. It does not require latest software, unless that can be downloaded online for free
6. It is something that can be explored and discovered leisurely at home
7. It is easily shown to a colleague
8. It creates a solution to a problem or presents an opportunity (not just a toy)
9. It is fun or interesting to learn
10. It can be taught to students

Of course this is idealistic, but an ever-increasing amount of web-based tools would fit well within these constraints. After all, if it’s not something that is easy to learn and use, teachers will not bother.

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2 thoughts on “What makes for good technology for teachers?

  1. Tony,You make a good point about trying to use a personal connection for people to try it out. I have always tried to use that as a way to get new technology integrated into a classroom – teaching a football coach to break down film using iMovie turned into a wonderful video documentary project about WW II. A graduation PowerPoint turned into students using the sofware in the teacher's class regularly as a student choice for presenting information. I could list several other examples. Don't lose heart, Mr. VonBank – you are on the right track!

  2. I absolutely agree with your feelings on "good technology" for teachers. I feel that suddenly I am being bombarded with new technology and new expectations, but no one is really teaching me what to do with what I've been given. A fifteen minute tutorial hardly gets across the full spectrum of things that can be done with a Promethean Board! What I am (slowly) discovering, however, is that there are absolutely loads of tools that can be found online that fit most of the criteria you have stated. Sure, I do love my Promethean Board (got it in January) and I am having fun learning how to use it–thanks in part to my knowledgeable 9th graders. But what I am having the most fun using and sharing with my students and my colleagues are some of the free sites I've encountered online. Sometimes it even feels like the students are more enganged, having more fun, and learning more when I'm using free stuff!

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