Category Archives: tools

What are the best tools?

I talked with the head of technology in my district today. It was great to bring up many ideas in my head to bounce off of him. Our district is just getting started investigating the on-line tools that many of you have been using for years. He understood more than I expected and agreed with my overall philosophy of opening up the filter and getting more technology into students’ hands.

The big difference between us is the rate of adoption. I am a no-holds barred, dive-in, and experiment with everything at once kind of guy. He is much more cautious and wants to integrate things slowly. I understand his position as an administrator and even the philosophy as to why it makes sense as articulated here by Chris Lehman. So I left the meeting excited that we are moving in the right direction philosophically and of course offered to pilot anything that he wanted to try.

So I need to give him a list of the five tools I would like unblocked for students. The district has unblocked almost everything for teachers this past year which was great. Now will begin the slower process of unblocking for students. Things like twitter and youtube will not be unblocked. I need the best tools that can be private, or self-contained in the district. I do not think they will unblock tools that give students access to outside chats.

I would like to blog, backchannel, bookmark, podcast, digital storytelling, and make stop-motion videos this year. My list right now is :

Voicethread-for digital storytelling
Livestream or jaycut-for video
Pixton-for cartoons
xtranormal or Glogster-for digital storytelling
tinychat or todaysmeet-for private backchannel
Diigo or Delicious-social bookmarking and collaborative editing of on-line texts

Sites that are already open include:
Google Docs, Earth, and Sketchup-collaboration and drawings

So readers, as you can see my list is too long. Based on your classroom experience which ones are the best? What tools have you used? Which would you recommend? What tools am I missing that I should include instead of these? Please give opinions in comments (I know I should have a poll).