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The right tool for the right job

How do you find the right tech tool for your instruction? Three questions you should ask.

2 min read


The right tool for the right job


I like to think of my collection of education technology resources as a digital toolbox. Like a traditional toolbox, I have digital tools that I’ve loaned to others, tools that I’ve only used once, tools that I only use for one specific purpose, and tools that I use every day to build student success.

With all the tools available today, tech leaders must determine which tools are appropriate for their district, and how to hand them off to the right people at the right time. Here are three questions to help make the decision.

Where do my digital tools connect? By understanding where tools integrate with each other, teachers can simplify their workload. For example, we use Canvas for formative exercises. I assess student work for progress towards standards, and students work to meet a deadline. Once I give a final assessment, those reports are sent over to Skyward for our official reporting. By connecting these two platforms, I’ve set up a system that works well for both learning and reporting purposes.

How can I use one tool to serve multiple groups? No matter what tool a teacher is using, parents and administrators will likely be interested in receiving updates on student progress within that platform. By choosing tools that cater to parent communication and administrator tracking, teachers can save time in reporting to parents and school leaders in entirely separate platforms.

What tasks can benefit from increased mobile capabilities? Students and teachers often complete schoolwork on the go. Students submit and access homework from the school bus, or sync their calendars on Canvas. Teachers take attendance on tablets rather than on their desktop. Because of this, I’m often looking for tools that provide mobile capabilities. By applying the right mobile tool to the right job, more time can be spent on what really matters–creating authentic learning experiences.

Christopher Frye is an English teacher at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill.

Tech Tips is a weekly column in SmartBrief on EdTech. Have a tech tip to share? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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