I’ve always been kind of a tech junkie. My M.O. used to be, “Try all the things!” This was fun at first, but quickly became a time suck. It was also stressful for my students, and not a great use of their time. I’m not saying it’s not okay to try new things, but for your students’ sake (and your own) try them purposefully, one at a time.
Where to start?
You may see lots of shiny new apps you want to try, or hear about something someone is using that sounds cool, but before you jump on it take stock of your needs. By thinking about what your areas of need are, you can eliminate any apps that are not going to fill a gap for you. If you don’t have an app in mind, but you have a need, I highly recommend checking out Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers (which is where I found out about ClassDojo). If you have an EdTech need, it is highly likely you will find and idea here. It’s also a good idea to follow ISTE, Common Sense, and CUE.
How to decide?
When you find something you think looks great, ask yourself these questions before implementing it in your class:
1. Is it going to help my students learn?
2. Is it going to help make my job easier in some way?
3. Is it easy to learn?
If you can answer “yes” to at least one of these, it’s worth a try. If it doesn’t work, you can always eliminate it, but trying things one at a time allows you to really evaluate their effectiveness. Some of my favorites are:
This is a short list, but these are my go-to apps on a daily basis. Try to keep it simple, only use what works for you and your students, and resist the urge to “try all the things!”