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Looking for the Right Tech Tool?

Posted on 10/26/2018

Tool Chest

When you are looking for a tech tool or two to use in your classroom with your students, where do you turn for information on the right tool to pick? There is so much information on the Internet that it can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Our OTAN website (https://www.otan.us/External link opens in new window or tab ) includes tech resources that we recommend teachers take a look at, including:

  • Web-based class activities External link opens in new window or tab , monthly articles highlighting a tech tool or topic and its use in the classroom with students
  • Teaching with Technology External link opens in new window or tab , a searchable database with lesson plan ideas that integrate low-tech and high-tech options
  • Curriculum Offers External link opens in new window or tab , access to select online curriculum products that OTAN has negotiated on behalf of the adult education field in California
  • Face-to-face and online trainings on a variety of technology tools and topics

There are other resources that we have come across recently that are also useful for the field when looking for helpful tools and resources.

Educator Richard Byrne maintains the popular edtech blog Free Technology for Teachers (https://www.freetech4teachers.com/ External link opens in new window or tab ). He recently published the Practical Ed Tech Handbook, divided into the following sections:

  • Communication with students and parents
  • Web search strategies
  • Digital citizenship
  • Video creation and flipped lessons
  • Audio recording and publishing
  • Backchannels and informal assessment
  • Digital portfolios
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Learning to program

Within each section, you’ll find detailed descriptions of tools that Richard and other teachers have found helpful and links to the tools. To get your own copy of the Handbook, click on this link: https://practicaledtech.com/free-handbook/ External link opens in new window or tab

The EdSurge Product Index (https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews External link opens in new window or tab ) is a site with hundreds of product reviews separated into five main categories:

  • Curriculum Products
  • Teacher Needs
  • Educational Operations
  • Post-Secondary
  • Everything Else

Within the main categories are sub-categories that help the user zero in on a specific topic with recommended tools. Short descriptions of and links to the tools are provided.

Email newsletters are also a great way to stay up-to-date on new tools as they come out and articles on how others are integrating technology into their instruction. Some of the newsletters and email discussions we follow are SmartBrief on EdTech External link opens in new window or tab , the Integrating Technology Group on LINCS External link opens in new window or tab , the EdTech Update External link opens in new window or tab , and edWeb.net External link opens in new window or tab .

When you’re looking for the right tool for your classroom, don’t search longer, search smarter!