Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools

Digital Resource Guide: Introduction

BACK TO BASICS: Essential Apps for the Technology-Rich Teaching Environment

What is the purpose of this Digital Resource Guide?

With increasing access to technology across all of our schools, it is important that teachers have a “starting point” when beginning to use the technology with their students. This guide is designed to help serve as that starting point. There are thousands (and soon likely millions) of websites, apps, and resources for teachers to use with students and students to use on their own. Like any other “new” challenge in life, when the challenge becomes overwhelming, it is natural to “shut down” and not respond at all. By starting here, teachers can explore one resource at a time - at their own pace - and seek help from videos or colleagues when the going gets overwhelming.

Here is an attempt to distill the apps that can help all teachers enhance their practice with educational technology. To be certain, there are more high quality apps available than listed below. However, a collective shift towards quality over quantity will benefit all parties. When in doubt, ask "How is this improving student learning?"

What is the philosophy behind introducing educational technology into the classroom?

There is only one purpose for introducing technology into our classrooms: To improve student learning. Period.

How do we use technology to better prepare students for the future and meet with success?

There is little question that any career our students may choose in the future will involve technology and problem-solving using technology. By introducing that technology to our students at an early age, we:

  • Introduce the tools and skills necessary to solve problems;
  • Break the mold of passive learning and enable more active engagement on the part of the student, allowing the students to take ownership of at least some of their learning;
  • Provide more immediate, actionable feedback that allows students to correct mistakes and continue learning long after the assignment would have traditionally been “graded.”
  • Account for diversity in learning styles, differentiating lessons to meet the needs of students where they are rather than where we want them to be;
  • Harness the power of personal learning plans, where we stop pretending that all kids learn the same material in the same manner at the same time.

How is the Digital Resource Guide organized?

The Chromebook Digital Resource Guide is developed in sections delineated by purpose: The Basics of Organization, Communication, Content Creation, Differentiation, Feedback, Formative Assessment, Interactive Presentations, and Professional Development. Each section lists some tools that are useful for use with students and links to “just in time” instructional videos to get up and running quickly.

How do I use this guide?

Use the menu at the left to review web resources and apps in the areas listed. Each page contains a brief description of some of more popular apps your colleagues are using. By clicking on the icon for each app, you will find written and/or video directions on how to use the app in the classroom with your students. This "just in time" learning should allow you to decide if the app will meet your needs and give you a brief "how-to" guide to get you started.

Finally, before we move ahead, it is important to understand that the tools contained in G-Suite (the Google tools) will satisfy many of these functions without having to look to other resources. As such, in several of the sections, you will note the first recommendation is to try, learn, and master the G-Suite tools. While other tools, listed later in each section, may prove fun and engaging for the students, you can realize much of the upside of technology without venturing far from what Google itself has to offer.