Posted by: Barinas | December 3, 2012

The Toolkit

toolkit MH900431613 - Cropped

Thinking about such a powerful educational tool like PowerPoint has made consider what items should be in every educator’s toolkit.  Clearly, there is more to teaching technology than yourself, a textbook, a blackboard, and some chalk.  Nowadays, a tech-savvy instructor should have in his toolkit at least a computer with a word processor, whether from the Microsoft Office Suite (MS Word) or other alternatives like open source (ex. OpenOffice).

Granted, toolkits differ from teacher to teacher depending on subject area, available resources, and technological know-how.  But I am sure we can jot down some toolkit essentials that all teachers must have within their grasp.

I believe that no teacher should be without a:

  • Computer
  • Internet Access
  • Word Processor
  • Internet Browser

I also think that it is highly recommended for teachers to have:

  • Spreadsheet software (I have a soft spot for Excel.  In terms of numbers-crunching, the things you can do with this puppy are amazing!)
  • Additional browsers like Chrome and Firefox (its portable version is highly recommended).
  • Presentation software like PowerPoint.  (Prezi is also an online alternative worth considering).
  • A Flash Drive, a.k.a Thumb Drive, a.k.a Jump Drive.  (However, as we have learned in class, flash drives will become less relevant due to the growth of cloud computing alternatives like Dropbox and GoogleDocs).
  • A Laser Pointer.  I have been thinking that remote clickers/pointers are a great idea, becase they give teachers greater freedom of movement and interaction around the classroom, as opposed to being tied to a keyboard in order to move from one slide to the next.  I have been looking for one and have read good reviews about the Logitech R400.
  • Imaging software freebies like Picasa, Paint.Net, Gimp, EZThumb, and Colorpic.  (Note that a lot of these applications are also portable, and you can download their portable versions at PortableApps.com)

A professor’s wish list should include:

  • Interactive White Boards like the ones from Smartech.
  • Any ELMO-like Projector
  • VMWare (to run multiple operating systems in one computer)
  • Smartphones like those powered by Apple or Android, since it is good to discover and evaluate the types of educational apps that students can run from their portable devices.

And Lastly, I think that the tool that no teacher should lack is:

  • Ingenuity

Surely, we have talked in class that no matter how modern and advanced is the tool, it is only as powerful as the one who wields it.  Rambo said it best: “I’ve always believed that the mind is the best weapon”.   That is why I also believe that a creative and passionate teacher can do greater things with a chalkboard than any educator who is fitted with the best interactive white board but lacks comparable levels of ingenuity, passion, and overall competence.

We are now at a great moment in history, because our minds have all these technologies that can push our ingenuity and creativity to new heights.  But in these tough economic times we need to decide which software and hardware technologies are more important to have first.  I believe that teachers should help each other by sharing what are the top technologies that enhance student learning.  So do you agree with the lists above?  Is there something I have missed or that you would like to add?  I would love to hear your input!

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Kudos for managing to include a meaningful Rambo quotation 😉

    Those are all good suggestions, but I’m so glad you emphasized ingenuity. I’d add related terms like passion, professionalism, creativity, risk-taking,…

    I used to see the Elmo as a very useful tool in the classroom, but am thinking less so these days, when the tablet like the iPad or even the iPhone/iPod touch can serve as a document camera:
    http://copernicused.com/results.aspx?section=technology
    … and there are others like this.

    • Wow, that document camera stand seems to be just as practical… and definitely more cost-effective! Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: