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7/16/2013
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10 Tech Tools To Engage Students

Websites, apps and devices help teachers teach and kids learn in new ways. Check out these 10 great education tech choices.
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Information technology has become so tightly woven into our workday and personal lives that it's hard to imagine life without it. We get directions from GPS, read books on our e-readers, collaborate with colleagues on documents in the cloud, connect with friends on social media and more, and we do it all from our smartphones and tablets.

Technology is also driving the way teachers teach and students learn. The National Education Technology Plan 2010 calls for revolutionary changes in education using tech. "Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels," the plan says. "Technology will help us execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning that better prepare and enhance educators' competencies and expertise over the course of their careers. To shorten our learning curve, we should look to other kinds of enterprises, such as business and entertainment, that have used technology to improve outcomes while increasing productivity."

In other words, what works for the business world should work in the classroom.

This is true now more than ever as the Common Core State Standards are adopted across the country. Focusing on college and career readiness and replacing state-specific -- and wildly varying -- existing guidelines, the standards mandate not only what students should learn from kindergarten through high school, but how teaching and learning should happen. Technology promises to drive this new way of teaching and learning.

The Common Core State Standards are vague about what technology should be used, and that is more than likely intentional: Any specific technologies recommended today are sure to be outdated five years or even a year from now, as new and intriguing technologies pop up.

The good news is that there are many options to choose from. Blogging platforms, electronic whiteboards, tablets, smartphones -- the list goes on and on. The bad news is that many schools and school districts aren't equipped to evaluate and implement new technologies. And, while several options today are free, there is still a general skittishness about the use of things like social media in the classroom, especially at the elementary school level. These fears seem to be abating, however, as schools look to and learn from models in the business world, including bring-your-own-device (BYOD).

In this slideshow, take a tour of 10 tools that can help you create an engaging learning environment, as well as accommodate tight education budgets. Some of the tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, will require especially keen oversight by teachers. Look at these sites as an opportunity to teach students not only the curriculum at hand, but also safe and effective use of technology.

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Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2013 | 12:40:17 PM
re: 10 Tech Tools To Engage Students
I've seen Twitter used in the classroom as a way for students to write and share haikus. I think innovative uses like this are awesome ways to engage students, but I think boundaries are needed to ensure technology is not being incorporated just for the sake of incorporating it.
Mike Blumenstein
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Mike Blumenstein,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2013 | 5:19:03 PM
re: 10 Tech Tools To Engage Students
Another application that should be on every teacher and administrator's radar is ExitTicket.

ExitTicket captures the student's progress, checks for not only understanding of the specific question, but the understanding of the concepts and curriculum and engages the students with Gamification and badging. We are still in our Early Adopter stage, preparing for the full launch August 1st, sign up today to get grandfathered into the Early adopters group while you compare these for FREE.

"ExitTicket is a engaging student response system delivering instant feedback and performance metrics to teachers and students, allowing immediate intervention and reteaching with a tap of a finger, while tracking the student's progress."

http://exitticket.org
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2013 | 11:23:01 PM
re: 10 Tech Tools To Engage Students
Thanks, Mike. Sounds a little more interactive than the traditional exit note on Post-It :)

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, InformationWeek
Mike Blumenstein
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Mike Blumenstein,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2013 | 11:25:56 PM
re: 10 Tech Tools To Engage Students
You are most welcome!
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