Digital tools and resources for teaching and learning are evolving so rapidly… becoming more and more available to end users. This is a trend that will continue to grow. As educators in the digital age, it becomes more critical that we serve as curators and facilitators, guiding our learners through these constantly rising digital waters.
Because so much digital content is available, literally at our fingertips, we need to ensure that our learners know how to access information that is valid and accurate. But we also need to help them with the tools and applications that they are using. In providing access to our learners, we need to be very intentional in selecting resources to which we link our learners. Are the tools and applications cost prohibitive? Will the app or tool work differently for some learners than others? Does it meet accessibility needs of the learners? Many applications and tools have a trial window that allows free use, but to continue using the tool, a fee is assessed. Some tools have a steep learning curve. Some tools and apps are platform or operating system specific. And some tools and apps are “cool” but they don’t really serve a purpose that aligns with educational goals and expected outcomes.
For these reasons, along with any other issues that might make the tools and apps prohibitive to our learners, as educators, we need to test the waters before we recommend those tools to our learners.
For these reasons, along with any other issues that might make the tools and apps prohibitive to our learners, as educators, we need to test the waters before we recommend those tools to our learners. I am constantly testing apps and tools, and have a list that I use quite frequently. Tools like EdShelf and Symbaloo allow us to collect resources and easily share them, once we have examined and tested their efficacy and ease of use. I have added several of the tools and apps, some that I use and some that I am testing) to an EdShelf, to facilitate access to those apps. I will be separating these out and creating more targeted “shelves” in the near future. But for now, please feel free to click on the link to EdShelf to explore the resources that I use. I have provided an image that also is a link to my EdShelf.
One thing that makes me hesitant to use EdShelf is that it does not seem to play well with WordPress or Blackboard. For me, this makes it less appealing as an app. I am hopeful that I can find a way to embed this information rather than simply providing a link to it, but as of now, the “Widget” and embed code provided by EdShelf do not seem to work through those platforms mentioned.
So here’s a Symbaloo gallery I have started, simply because it’s easier to embed than EdShelf!