Friday, August 5, 2011

10 Common Challenges We'll Face This Fall - Challenge #2: Selection

Image Credit: BenYankee
One of my most popular presentations, the one that I'm most frequently asked to give, is 10 Common Challenges Facing Educators. When giving this presentation I outline challenges that classroom teachers often face and present some resources and strategies for addressing those challenges. In preparation for the new school year I've created a series of blog posts based on my presentation. Today's blog post is about selecting appropriate technology resources for your classroom.

Time and the Learning Curve
One of the things that I consider when selecting resources to share with some just starting to explore the uses of web tools in his/ her classroom is the amount of time it will take for that person to feel comfortable enough to use it with students. Connected to the time factor is the learning curve associated with a tech tool. One of my goals when running workshops for people who are new to using technology in their classrooms is to have them feel like they can "do this." Another goal that I have is to make people see the value of using a technology tool that is new to them. Therefore, I often start out with tools like Google Docs or Wikispaces because the text editors will feel somewhat familiar to people who have used word processing programs and then we can build up to the collaboration features of both of those resources.

Where to learn about appropriate resources
During presentations I often will talk about curating resources from social media platforms. To that end I like to point out Twitter search and occasionally, depending on the time and audience, show a licensed copy of Twitter Search Plain English. I also highlight networks like Classroom 2.0 and The Educators PLN as examples of places where teachers can learn from each other about tech resources for their classrooms. Finally, I show the contents of my Google Reader account to illustrate how much material you could sort through in a day if you had the time. Then after blowing people's minds with the thought of sorting through my RSS reader I'll highlight a handful of blogs that do a great job of curating and sharing the best the web has to offer for teachers.

This is part two of a ten part series of posts about common challenges facing educators. You can read part one here. Come back on Monday for part three.

If you're interested in having me speak about this topic or others at your school or conference, please contact me through the Work With Me page.