When it comes to educational tools there are some that have greatly impacted my career and the lives of my students, and others, well, they can stay away.  As my 15 years in the profession has evolved, so have the tools.  The joys of using some, the frustrations of using others, or creating content and lessons for a toolset only to find out the toolset is no longer going to be available such as Jamboard, or that I have to start paying to continue to use them.

For starters, Google classroom is one that I have been using for quite a few years now, and don’t see myself changing anytime soon.  The platform offers a meeting space, is incredibly easy to navigate for students (my experiences with Grade 5 and up), keeps my desk from being bombarded with paper copies everywhere, communication and feedback on assignments is helpful, and one thing I love is the ability to assign different assignments to specific students.  This allows to me to differentiate with other tools such as Diffit or MagicSchool, and have students be able to access their assignments curated to their appropriate level.  The ability to also archive my classes and reuse assignments once created, can be a timesaver to look back at or modify.  I’ll leave my review or these two for Week 12 and Generative AI.

From a creating assignments and media context, I rely on Canva for presentations.  Their ready to use templates are easy to use, and the graphics the students enjoy.  Being able to record the presentation, also helps for when students need a refresher or happen to miss a class.  For these reasons I also enjoy using Screencastify to record content for my classes.  When the pandemic hit, the need to record oneself and share videos became ever so important.  I enjoy the editing variations each has as well.

For assessment, Edbsy has a great LMS system for me.  Much better than the old days of having to enter marks into Maplewood or other markbook systems.  The ability to share marks or show what needs to be completed to parents is handy.  I enjoy the other built in communication features, in particular the permission forms.  My students enjoy using Flipgrid or the Flip classroom.  It’s a quick way for them to respond to questions or prompts without the need to write anything down.  From filming short ads for Art or Health, to a quick exit slip about a Science lesson, I can see and hear their responses.  Google Forms, Kahoots, Mentimeter, are all other tools that I often use too for assessment and feedback.

With the use of any of the above tools I could quickly transition back to an online or distance education classroom if I had to.  IF.  Now, these tools may be great but they all do have negatives to them.  Currently, I struggle with my Flip classroom because of not always having access to the technology needed to record.  Only takes one dead Chromebook in a limited class set and all of a sudden I am without multiple student responses.  To get them to go back and record at a later date isn’t always an option either or they might of changed their opinion or what they remember.  Students need access to tech to use most of these tools, without the proper technology, wifi connections, knowledge of how to use the tools, and the list goes on, can all be downsides of any good technological tool.

I use the tools that work for me, and I know my fellow teachers use other tools that work for them and their students.  In today’s classrooms it is truly a buffet of technology, with classrooms selecting what dish best serves their needs.  What’s the couple tech tools you would need to load your plate up on?