Monday, October 25, 2010

What Should your Students have in their Digital Toolkit?

As we work with students in our resource room at the high school level,  our plan is to support our students  becoming lifelong and independent learners.While I have only been back in the classroom for two months this year, here are my favorite 10 items that we have considered for their toolkit. While some of these tools are tools we  are using in specially designed individualized instruction, all of the tools are good in terms of Universal Design for Learning.

Tools 1-5

We are part of a google domain, so we assigned a domain gmail account to all students, complete with calendar, documents, chat and presentation. This is the number one tool our students are using.

  • Students share their calendars with their teachers.
  • Students share their writing for editing purposes with their teacher.
  • Students share their presentations for editing purposes with their teacher.
  • Teachers email students with messages about assignments.
  • On occasion, I am able to chat with students when I am online during the school day and this is a nice feature.

Tool 6

Animoto is an online tool where students make slide shows with images, music, text . Educators can request free education accounts where students can make slide shows lasting more than the free 30 second shows. It is a fairly simple process, an educator requests the free classroom account, Animoto sends a classroom code, good for 6 months, then have students sign up using the code and the resources are free to use.

Tool 7

Moodle, we use moodle as an online course delivery system. We have designed a Skills Cafe course where our students check in weekly for the skill of the week. This is place holder where our students can go back and check our recommendations for their tool box.

Tool 8

Readability; This button works on Firefox and is a way for students to use the internet for research and strip the webpage of the ads and extraneous details. This is perfect for all learners. Follow the link, and then drag the Readability button to your browser toolbar.

Tool 9

Khan Academy, is a wonderful resource that all our students will need to have in their toolkit. It was recently recognized in the Google Power of Ten /\ One Hundred Competition and will be subtitling their movies into many world languages. Again, this is great for lifelong and independent learners. If a student is working on a chemistry problem and they have forgotten the process, a quick visit to, will allow them to have a quick video moment to view the process being taught to them as often as they need it.

Tool 10

Quizlet- is another student favorite. This is where students can create, collect or collaborate their learning new vocabulary in any content area, foreign language, science, world studies etc. There is a way to login as your Facebook account and really easy ways to share with others. Did I mention, there is an app for this?

Our next step is for each of our students to make a digital toolkit. This is intended to be an online collection of their favorite tools, available to them at all times no matter where they are, no matter which computer they are on and no matter what they are working on. Stay tuned for the next post about how we had our students create their digital toolkit.  By the way, what is in your digital toolkit? Here is an example from the website, sponsored by Verizon Foundation.  Another Planning for All Learners is another great resource.
Thanks to my students for trying out the different tools. Thanks to my teaching partners for stretching the learning landscape.

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