Online documents, blogs, and wikis rise to the top of survey responses, followed closely by video and podcasting technologies.
First, thank you to everyone who participated in our brief survey over the last few weeks. The survey asked “What types of Internet technologies would you like to try … in the classroom for the first time this fall?” I had a few dozen responses, which makes for a nice little sampling that provides useful and informative feedback.
The most popular Internet technologies noted for introduction in the classroom this year were as follows (listed in order of popularity):
- Blogs, Wikis, or online documents (such as Google Docs) – each category was cited by 65% of respondents
- Video sites (like TeacherTube or YouTube) or Podcasts – indicated by 61% of respondents
- Online Meetings – selected by 39% of respondents
- Electronic textbooks, Mindmaps, Online Games, or Tutorial Sites & Tools – each chosen by 35% of respondents
Even more insightful than these results were the comments offered by some survey takers in response to the question “How do you envision these technologies helping to improve learning outcomes?” Following are some of the comments that were provided:
- “When students are actually creating rather than listening and taking notes, they will be engaged in the lessons and learn (remember) more which should have a positive impact on learning outcomes.”
- “Spark interest, increase student connectedness, provide for a variety of learning styles.”
- “Encouraging new forms and outlets for their creativity, collaborating skills, tapping into their world to make learning seem more relevant.”
- “I see these technologies as things that are engaging for my students. It will help me to present material in a more meaningful and memorable way.”
- “Polls — student engagement in classroom processes; tutorial sites — increasing student skills in independent learning; videos – student engagement with alternate ways (sight, sound, animation) of learning skills.”
- “The increased motivation for our students to be able to use tools that they are more comfortable with will be huge!”
- “At the moment I am experimenting with the technologies with graduate students to give them more flexible access to office hours, and to put together a blog about first year experiences as grad students to help combat the isolation.”
These comments really go to the heart of the matter – Internet technologies can engage, motivate, facilitate varied learning styles, enable collaboration and communication and more, all of which can improve learning outcomes. Hopefully these comments encourage others to also try some of these technologies with their students this year. And speaking of comments, feel free to weigh in with any thoughts you might have about these tools or others, and how to make the most of them in instructional settings.
Next Week: In next week's posting we'll look at some great free online educational games. Many teachers like to use these to provide students a fun and educational break, or just make kids and parents aware of them for enjoyment outside of the classroom. Of course, activities found on sites like these can also be used as assignments, or otherwise integrated into instructional activities.