The essentials for your digital teacher toolkit

  • With hundreds of educational tools online, how are teachers supposed to pick and choose? What makes one better than another? And when do educators have time to learn how to use a new tool?


    The fall semester is in full swing. You’ve memorized everyone’s names, allergies and accommodations. You made it through open house and homecoming. So now that classroom routines have been established, you can take a breath and have a look at your lesson plans so far. What’s working? Is there anything new you can incorporate?


    In my classroom, I was always working on creating notes and activities from scratch. I made most materials and games using my knowledge of Google Classroom, which offers a variety of tools with which my students and I are already familiar. I would hear good reviews from colleagues on a new website, app or Chrome Extension, but I was afraid of anything that smelled trendy.


    I didn’t give myself time to go explore and learn how to use many new things because I was too busy recreating the wheel. Every single day. What happened if I spent the time to create an account, learn the basics, add my rosters of students, integrate it with my LMS, create an assignment, teach my students how to do it — and then it wasn’t wildly successful? On top of that, it seemed like there were several different websites that all did something similar, so how could I even pick one to try? My fear prevented me from taking that risk.