I appreciated the module 2 readings regarding the importance of, and selection and evaluation of digital interactivity tools in education. I was really engaged by Joseph R. Friedhoff's piece about the importance of educators evaluating digital tools to understand how particlular tools promote or constrain the desired learning outcomes. Friedhoff's explanation of the exploration of the proper tool for student reflection (threaded discussion or blog) was perfect for helping me to understand the sometimes subtle nuances that make a particular tool effective for a particular learning goal. It is vital that as a teacher I take the time to do that type of evaluation, and I have to start with a clear articulation of my learning goal for students. With that goal in mind, I have to look closely, not broadly, at the tools I consider, and ask myself which tool will help my students learn and demonstrate or express their learning in the most specific way possible.
With so many digital interactivity tools available, it can be an overwhelming task to choose one for a particular project or learning task. I appreciated how this module's Cool Tools assignment featured tools in categories, and the tools within each category usually had some features that differed from each other, offering options and limitations for particular tasks. I could see that certain tools would be better suited for certain projects. As a teacher who is relatively new to utilizing these types of tools, I would say that the area of evaluating digital interactivity tools is an area that I will need to stay focused on, and continue to grow in. Of course I'll do that by continuing to investigate tools, with learning outcomes in mind, and I'm sure I will experience a mixture of successful experiences with these tools, and instances where the use of a particular tool didn't lead my students to my desired learning outcome. When the latter happens, I will be sure to evaluate what about the tool was limiting to our learning outcome, and use my findings with that inquiry to help me select a tool that would better suit the learning goal.
This week's Edl 621 course information and assignments provided me the opportunity for personal realization of important details regarding digital interactivity tools and a chance to explore a variety of those tools. I enjoyed participating in the Cool Tools presentation, mostly because I benefited from the ideas and reflections my classmates provided as they exposed me to new tools.
Friedhoff, J. R. (2008). Reflecting on the Affordances and Constraints of Technologies and Their Impact on Pedagogical Goals. Journal of Computing In Teacher Education, 24(4), summer, 117-122. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ834074.pdf .