The Cool Tools Problem and What to Do about it
Submitted by David J. Rosen on April 28, 2017 - 1:04pm
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Evaluating Online Tools and Resources Colleagues,
You may be following the Integrating Technology CoP ESL Pro discussion this week on Integrating Technology in ESL Instruction. It's been a great introduction to ESL Pro, professional development for ESL/ESOL teachers, focusing this week on integrating technology. I want to call your attention to a post today by guest presenter and ESL Pro author, Kathy Harris, who wrote in response to an article by Candace Roberts in a recent Hechinger Report: "The four ways we can train teachers to use technology that hasn't been invented yet."http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-four-ways-can-train-teachers-use-technology-hasnt-invented-yet/
Note: in the cross-posted message below I have underlined the "cool tools" problem description.
Thank you for sharing the article "The four ways we can train teachers to use technology that hasn't been invented yet." After reading your post I read the article and really enjoyed it. I especially appreciate the focus on instruction, as opposed to the technology itself. I think that Roberts does a nice job in the article. Although she doesn't address it specifically, I think that she points to one of the problems that comes up when talking about technology and teaching. I call it the "cool tools" problem. It is really easy to focus on a cool new tool and then find ways to use it. But I don't think that approach helps teachers or students. Instead, we need to focus on our objectives in the classroom and our students' needs, which Roberts does in her article. Then we can ask ourselves, what tools make this work better. In unit 2 of the module I tried to organize resources around an instructional focus to address just this problem.
Since I get excited when I learn about a new cool tool, and immediately think about all of the ways that I can use it, I too am part of the cool tools problem. It is hard to avoid!
For all: Just for fun, what "cool tool" are you interested in at the moment? I'm having fun exploring Canva for making infographics :-)
The relevance to this group, as I see it, is for everyone to make sure that the tools and resources you plan to test out with your students and to evaluate are not just cool but can help your students to meet your instructional, and their learning, objectives. There are a couple things you can do now:
1. Check out the Diigo list of tools (If you are having trouble accessing that, Ed can help) to see if there already are tools listed that you think can help your students meet your instructional objectives and/or
2. Tell us what your instructional objectives are, and we may be able to suggest some tools or resources and add them to the Diigo list.
Anyone have other ideas about how to address the "cool tools" problem?
David J. Rosen, Moderator
Integrating Technology CoP