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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Overwhelming Options for the Classroom

Because I live near New Orleans, many of my house guests want a taste of the French Quarter when they visit.  We stop by the usual spots often and try to accommodate special requests.  On my most recent trek to the quarter with my Missouri visitors, I discovered a little bookstore shown in the photo.  Now...I love reading and books, but this scene was overwhelming to me as you barely could sidestep throughout the tiny establishment.  Books were teetering on stacks and wedged in nooks.  This scene makes an excellent visual metaphor for the overwhelming web 2.0 options for educators.  


In preparing for a webinar I'm presenting in a few weeks, I couldn't help thinking about how many GIS in Education options there are now opposed to 12 years ago when I started using GIS in my classroom.  These thoughts come to mind as you are choosing the best tool for each moment in your classroom, whether they are high or low tech options. Let's be realistic, you can't use them all...nor should you.  

  • What do you want your students to know?
  • Why are you considering a new tool?
  • Are you teaching content?
  • Are you teaching the tool?
  • Why use this tool instead of pencil and paper?
  • Why is this tool better than what I've used in the past?

Like my Dad says, "Use the right tool for the job! Otherwise you're just wasting your time."
Don't be dazzled by the glitz of shiny tools if they won't be helpful to changing your classroom and students...choose wisely!