I am really amazed by the number of digital tools available for my students to use in my classroom. I spent so many hours exploring them that I'm a little overwhelmed right now. However, there are a couple of tools that I definitely want to try with my 8th graders this year. My two favorite areas are the Web 2.0 tools and the tools that promote discussion and collaboration. In an earlier blog post I mentioned a way to use the word cloud that I am definitely planning to use this year. I want my students to answer questions about themselves, then create a personal word cloud from their answers. This can then be used in teambuilding activities. Two other tools that I can see in my classroom right away and very often are WallWisher and Poll Everywhere. I have dabbled in both of them, but am now ready for full-fledged implementation.
Although I have always loved the idea of giving students choices in crafting their learning plan, I have generally remained bound to curriculum standards as presented (mostly my choice). I now realize that I can still provide structure while at the same time offering flexibility. Giving students options on HOW to demonstrate their learning will motivate them by allowing them to play to their strengths. I envision students with technology in their hands every day, communicating, collaborating, creating and most of all, learning.
In concluding my investigation of the 11 Tools, I realize that my tiny little classroom is so very small in the grand scheme of my students' learning. They need to go global in order to connect with other learners as well as professionals so that their experience is real-world and meaningful.