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March 30, 2023
ASCD Blog

Video: Simple Tech Tools Can Make a Big Impact

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How easy-to-use tech tools boost student learning when integrated into everyday instruction.
Technology
Video: Simple Tech Tools Can Make a Big Impact
Credit: Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, EL Show & Tell Video, March 2023
As Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey remind readers in their March EL column, educators have long recognized the potential for technology to enhance student learning, increase engagement, and support accessibility and equity in the classroom. But with so many technologies becoming available—from those implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to emerging AI tools like ChatGPT—how can educators best evaluate which tech tools are worth integrating into teaching and learning practices? And which technologies are educators already using successfully as part of everyday instruction?
Fisher and Frey emphasize that even simple-to-use and readily available technologies—like toolbar options in Microsoft Word or free extensions in Google Chrome—can go a long way toward fostering a Universal Design for Learning in classrooms, “an approach centered on accessibility and equity.”
In the video that accompanies their latest column, upper school educators share technologies they are using in classrooms today—and how these technologies are improving student interaction, motivation, and participation.
premium resources logoTechnology

Show & Tell March 2023 / The Technology-Enhanced School

1 year ago
For example, PlayPosit, an interactive, web-based video tool, allows teacher Angie Hackman to record videos of herself reviewing key content and pose questions about that content to students, helping her more accurately assess what students already know and what they don't. Students can then rewatch the videos to strengthen content knowledge, review material inside and outside of class, or catch up on missed material if they are absent. 
Hackman explains, "PlayPosits can help student learning in that they have the time and space to use the tool when they need it." In this way, it helps Hackman conduct formative assessments while encouraging greater student independence and ownership over learning.
Other tools include Notability, a mobile notetaking app that allows students to record information collaboratively in a shared digital space, and Pages templates, which encourages students to express their creativity through designing digital artifacts like newsletters, fliers, posters, and more. 
What these technologies have in common, as teacher Jonathon Walker explains, is that they leverage tools students are already familiar with to enhance student engagement and investment in learning. As these teachers make evident, the best tech tools are not an add-on to student learning but an integral part of it.
"Technology is best when it becomes an everyday part of our practice," says Nancy Frey. "Leaders who recognize that shift can support a promising future for their learning communities."

Jessica Comola is an editor with Educational Leadership magazine.

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