Welcome to this resource site for students, parents and teachers. It is designed to provide compelling instructional strategies, assessment opportunities to make one's thinking visible, Web sites, tools and exemplars to enhance how we teach and students learn. The guiding theme of this site is to empower students and teachers to be in charge and in control of their learning as self-directed students use inquiry within project and problem-based learning activities.
Technology use can definitely expand, enhance and transform learning. Yet, there are many documented case studies of schools and districts making the same mistake of not focusing first on pedagogy and curriculum development. They start with the technology failing to think and work as designers working from the instructional and learning needs of the community. One can find hundreds of blog posts, articles, books and podcasts that point out the mistakes and millions of dollars misspent on technology. A recent article entitled "It's Time to Rethink Our Use of Technology in Schools" is just one example worth reading. Another one is from a presentation by Fraser Speirs in which he eloquently offers insights about technology use in our schools. One can also find countless resources that provide constructive and proven strategies of technology and information infused lessons and units of study. You will find many of those resources here.
Another theme running through this site is the importance of designing learning opportunities that are learner-centered with teachers facilitating and co-learning. Will Richardson shares insights on this topic in his TEDx presentation. George Couros provides a nice visual below to support this theme.
How students interact with information is key to learning and succeeding in the 21st century, and that is why developing Information and Communication Literacies (ICL) is at the heart of this site. The student section is filled with information sources and tools organized in the categories of communicating, creating, applying technology and using information. Technology and library/electronic research skills are addressed in an integrated fashion the same way we apply them to real world problem solving.
Information and Communication Literacies Integration
Well-developed ICL enables an efficient process of inquiry in which we search for, analyze, curate and cite information to then construct and communicate our understanding. This process involves the use of information, media, visual and technology literacies along with design skills. The ultimate goal of the work here is to help students develop their personal learning systems which further empower them to be life long learners.
The Students section lists sites that are interesting, engaging and educational. They can be used by teachers during instruction as well as independently by students in and outside of the classroom. I collected the sites over the years from educators who are members of my Personal Learning Network. See the PD & ICL section for more information about PLN's. Be aware that some of the linked sites come with advertisements which, if selected, will take students away from the provided site. Students should apply their ICL skills to make smart and safe choices in how they use the Internet.
The Teachers section is organized around several topics ranging from blended learning to Harvard's Project Zero and Visible Thinking. While there exist many other resources on the Web on these and related topics, this listing is very selectively drawn from years of curating recommendations from fellow teachers as well as integrating them into my teaching and learning experiences.
For more depth and a wider range of Web resources, access the sites of three leaders in the field of educational technology whose extensive lists are constantly updated:
If you are looking for specific tools, there are several top tool list providers. If you are looking for iPad app lists, refer to the iPad Support section of this Web site. Here are a few lists of tools:
- 101 Web Tools Every Teacher Should Know About
- 21st Century Tools
- 60 in 60
- Analog and Digital Alternative
- Cool Tools for Schools
- Teachers Know Best
- Top 100 Tools for Learning
Many educators have been contributing to the greater community by providing resources on a wide range of instructional topics. Based on a long career as a teacher, counselor, instructional technologist and curriculum designer, this is my effort to share in return. It is the latest iteration of my Teacher Toolkit (saved at the Internet Archive) which I created to give students and teachers resources to construct their own personal learning systems. I am including links to my blog and the podcast that I produce with Dr. Mark Hofer and Jeff Utecht. Please contact me with your ideas to develop and enhance this Web site.
David Carpenter MA, Ed. S.
Instructional Technologist, Counselor and Social Studies Teacher