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Think about the last time you picked out a restaurant, a hotel or even a phone. Chances are you went online, ran a search for, say, “best Italian restaurant near me” and began to read and compare reviews.
What you found out helped determine your next steps: go to the restaurant with the to-die-for homemade lasagna or the one with the outdoor heated patio?
Now transfer this experience to selecting edtech tools, resources, apps and sites. As educators, we’re always looking for just the right tool for a specific task that will engage our students as learners in the digital age. The tool we want our students to use to create multimedia presentations is very different from the tool they would need to collect and analyze data.
In order to select the right tool, you need information and advice, and who better to deliver that intel than educators just like you. That’s why I turn to ISTE Edtech Advisor, a rating platform that provides educators with insight on tools, apps and resources — from other educators.
Does this app do what I had hoped it would do? How useful did other educators find this tool? What advice do educators who have used this tool with students in real classrooms have and what potential does it have for me in my classroom? With Edtech Advisor the answers to all these questions are at my fingertips.
Here are three reasons why you should use Edtech Advisor to vet resources and tools:
1. It’s easy to use.
Once logged in, I can search for a product, tool or app by name. I can also search by subject area, platform, grade level or software type. Hovering over a particular tool, I can see its rating, get more details or even compare it with other tools.
The details provide additional information on the tool itself: its purpose, use, audience and implementation ideas. In addition to the overall rating, there are detailed ratings for specific areas including its ease of use, alignment with learning objectives, impact on student learning and more.
Clicking on “Website” takes you directly to the app or tool for easy download.
2. It offers a community of educators.
EdTech Advisor connects me to a community of educators who not only take the time to try out the tools in their classrooms, but also take the time to review them. It’s even possible to add a discussion thread about any tool. Ask a question, make a comment, share an observation — that’s all possible.
3. It lets me contribute to the field.
As great as it is to receive, it’s just as great to give back. With EdTech Advisor, any ISTE member can contribute a review. Whether it’s providing insight into a new tool you just tried based on someone else’s review, or adding a brand new review of your own, your review and rating will be added to help educators just like you choose the right tools for students.
So, whether you’re getting ready to design your next learning experience for your students, add to your tech toolbox, or wanting to connect with a community of edtech users just like yourself, EdTech Advisor provides insight and valuable user advice. What better way to grow as an ISTE educator — always learning, leading and collaborating to design meaningful experiences for our students?
Janice Mak is an educator from Phoenix, Arizona, and the recipient of the NCWIT Educator Award and Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. She is co-chair of CSForAZ, a Code.org affiliate, and serves on the K-12 Executive Council for NCWIT, CSTA Arizona board, Arizona State Board of Education and Arizona K12 Center board. You can read more about her classroom adventures on her blog and follow her on Twitter @jmakaz.