Cross posted at the EdTech Innovations Blog.
It seems that every time I turn around I see another new, or new and
improved, tool out there that catches my attention and sends my mind
into the, “I gotta sign up for that,” mode. I have to admit it is very enticing when you see all of these innovative new tools coming at you fast and furious.
When you look at all of these new Web 2.0 technology offerings,
making a choice can be like drinking water from a fire hose. I mean
before you know it, if you lose your focus, you are signed up for a
large number of sites that you find out you don’t have any time to
master or really integrate into your curriculum. The best advice that I
can give is to take a deep breath and do your homework while
developing your own Web 2.0 “Tool Kit.” By doing this you can develop
skills and lessons based around your tool kit and then grow them from
there. It’s very tempting to want to try all of the new things that
you come across, but you need to explore them and make a decision as to
whether that will work for you or not. Don’t try to “drink” them all in, take small “sips.”
So, how would one go about developing their own Web 2.0 toolkit?
Here’s my advice, and of course, I want to hear yours and what you use:
- Take time and reflect on your curricular goals and try to pinpoint
areas that could be improved by the integration of a new tool or
technology. Reflection is the key here, don’t jump into the world of
Web 2.0 without a plan and a clear focus on what you want yourself, and
your students, to get out of it.
- Once you have a plan start to reach out to your colleagues both in
person and through any networks that you have developed via your
Personal Learning Network (You are developing your PLN aren’t you??).
Ask, what others in your curricular area have had successes and
struggles with and filter that through your level of expertise as well
as the vision that you have created in step one.
- Once you have made the decision take “baby steps,” and make sure
that you learn it well enough first before you fully implement it. Then
identify a group of students that you feel would be a good group to
pilot your new-found tool. Don’t be afraid to have it fail at first, let
the kids teach you what they have found it can do. They may come up
with an entirely new, and innovative, approach to using it. Remember
they are the experts sometimes.
- Once you have gone through the steps above stop and reflect again. I
can’t stress this enough, reflection should be a part of your daily
routine. If it’s not, then you are missing a very important step in your
personal and professional life. Reflect on your successes and failures,
as well as the feedback you received from your students and any
observations that you have made.
Creating your Web 2.0 toolkit can be a daunting task. But, every
craftsman has one and if you want to be successful educating our modern
learners the you need your own to master your craft as well. Like real
tools, your Web 2.o “Tool Kit,” will get old, and better tools will come
around, so always remember to go back through the process every once in
a while to see if it’s time to re-tool. Also, by all means continue to
add new tools and grow it as well!!
So, now it’s your turn. How have you developed your tool kit? What
implementation strategies have worked for you and what are your favorite
tools? Let’s share our success and failures so we can all grow
Remember don’t “drink” too fast, take small “sips” and leave time for reflection!!
Frank Pileiro is a Technology Coordinator in Southern New Jersey. He is passionate about educating with creativity and innovation, as well as imparting these skills to our students with instructional technologies. He is the author of the EdTech Innovations blog, where he writes about educational technology innovation and integration. He be followed on Twitter @MrP_LPS.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of his employer.