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Posted on May 1, 2014

Shaping the Future of Learning

Shaping the Future of Learning

Technology Tools for the Classroom

by Michelle Davis, Director of Educational Technology and Learning Design, and Jenny Williams, Director of Educational Support Services ◊

It simply isn’t the 20th Century anymore, is it?
So why would we teach as though it was?”
– Dr. Stephen Heppell 1

Will Richardson describes our current educational climate as “the messiest, most upheaval-filled 10 years of education that any of us has ever seen”.2 The revolutionary impact of technological change often challenges us with more questions than answers. For example, in the midst of this upheaval, how can we discern how big a role or what kind of role technology should play in our classrooms? As Christians, how do we maintain balance between using technology without allowing it to use us – by shaping our values and perceptions? As Derek Schuurman explains, “Because computer technology is value-laden, Christians need to be attuned to the values and norms that are at play in the design and use of computer technology”.3 Furthermore, with the profusion of educational technology tools now available, how can we identify which ones might be the right fit for our schools and classrooms? In light of these perplexing questions and considerations, here’s an alternate title for this piece:

Educational Technology Tools:
Where’s the good stuff?

We know that educational technology provides opportunity. Technology tools offer limitless possibilities for engaging learners, differentiating for skill levels, and extending participatory learning beyond the classroom walls. These tools can be implemented gradually and they don’t need to feature a daunting price tag.

As a practical resource to assist with selecting and incorporating technology in the classroom, we’ve compiled and annotated a number of worthwhile resources for consideration. We have provided links to several websites featuring “top lists” of educational technology resources along with accompanying explanations. To provide further examples of the usefulness of these tools, we have also annotated a few specific tools to illustrate their usefulness as education applications.

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We invite you to explore our LiveBinder resource, created as an extension to this article, for reviews of these excellent technology resources:

www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=1283224

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Footnotes

1   Psalm 139

2  Bradley Productions. (2013, August). Including Isaachttp://www.bradley-productions.com/2013/08/including-isaac-kala-project.html.

3   Crawford, C. (2001, February). Continuous and Inclusive Education: Economic and Legislative Implications Drawn from the Canadian Experience. Paper presented at the North-South Dialogue on Inclusive Education. Mumbia, India: Roeher Institute

4   Siegel-Causey, E., McMorris, C., McGowen, S., & Sands-Buss, S. (1998). In junior high you take earth science: Including a students with severe disabilities into an academic class. Teaching Exceptional Children, 31(1), 66-72.

5   Katz, J., & Mirenda, P. (2002). Including students with developmental disabilities in general education classrooms: Educational Benefits. International Journal of Special Education, 17, 14-35. “Mainstreaming in Classrooms.” 1 Dec. 2001. http://kidshealth.org/kid/grow/mainstreaming.html

6  Staub, D (2005). Inclusion and the other kids: Here’s What Research Shows so Far About Inclusion’s Effect on Nondisabled Students. National Institute for Urban School Improvement.  http://www.urbanschools.org/pdf/OP_Kids.pdf

7   Noddings, N. (1991). Stories in dialogue: Caring and interpersonal reasoning. In C. Witherell & N. Noddings (Eds.,), Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education (pp. 157-170). New York: Teachers College Press

8   Staub, D (2005).

9   Katz, J., & Mirenda, P. (2002). Including students with developmental disabilities in general education classrooms: Educational Benefits. International Journal of Special Education, 17, 14-35.

10   Sharpe 2001.

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