A “Revisited” blog post indicates that I reread the original and used AI-assisted tools (e.g., Grammarly) to improve grammar and word choice.
The past few days, I’ve thought about how best and how quickly to bring the right balance of learning tools into my classroom. I have just finished examining Jane Hart’s recent overhauling, updating, and reorganizing of her 2010 Learning Tools Directory. More specifically, I have gone through Jane’s “instructional tools” category, identifying which showed promise of immediate use to me. My admittedly idiosyncratic “screening criteria” included the following:
- Do I already have the software? In my frantic attempt to know about such tools, I have too often acquired a tool and never deeply explored its utility.
- Does it have a quizzing/testing component? I want to give students prompt, reasonably personalized, and sufficiently detailed feedback.
- Is the tool free (or, if not, does the cost offset free software costs)? I don’t have time to spend with buggy or poorly documented software.
- Will, in my professional judgment, the tool truly allow me to teach better or in new ways, or will it only provide students with a fun experience? Though there is a place for fun in learning, I am interested in more than entertainment.
- Is the tool hosted? Since I move back and forth between a Windows and a Mac environment (and because my machines are often more advanced than those available to employees at work), something I develop must be easily portable and accessible for student use.
- Will I (and my students) be able to master the tool quickly and use it immediately? I want to avoid frustrating my students with a steep tool-learning curve unless I judge frustration as a necessary or inevitable mastery component.
Here are fifteen “instructional tools” I plan to explore over the next fifteen weeks. I’ll undoubtedly discover that some deserve more of my time than others. I’d welcome hearing from any of you who have first-hand experiences with these tools—or if you’d like to join me in trying them out.
- Zoho Challenge