I have been thinking about how I would like to write this post for a long time now and I am ready to let it fly. I have many conversations with teachers and administrators about tools. They always seem to come back to the same theme. Teachers today are very comfortable using tools that are outdated. Yes, I am being very blunt, but it is the truth. Our world is different than it was, even different than it was last year (apple watches, self parking cars, phone/tablets). With the changing world, comes changing kids. Our students have higher expectations both educationally and socially. Education needs to meet this halfway. Using tools that do not provide an avenue to change is not a solution. Outlined in this post are the tools needed to create future ready students.

What is Outdated:
  • SMART notebook
    • This tool has been around for almost 30 years! It has made good strides, but still is not future ready.
      • It is expensive!!!
      • It lacks a huge amount of flexibility - each board projects the same file differently
      • It ONLY provides whole group instruction
      • It is not collaborative, both in the creation, and in the teaching
  • Microsoft 
    • Although these tools are very powerful, they lack a few key elements that are necessary for today.
      • The format is not able to be opened, or edited on mobile devices (without the app)
      • Collaboration is non-existent
      • Talking between programs does not exist
  • "Lecture" style rooms
    • We all know that the current model of school was not designed for today. Students do not walk into school at 7:15 and are all of a sudden ready to learn. They are all not programed to sit in a chair and absorb information from your presentation, no matter how flashy you make it. Lecturing is not the best choice. 
  • Paper Curriculum
    • Regardless of when you receive these items, they are outdated. The world changes too fast for us to rely on something that is printed. 
What You Should Use Today:
  • Google
    • Google is hands down the best educational tool teachers can use and here is why:
      • It is collaborative
      • It is mobile
      • It is customizable
      • The programs talk to each other
      • It is EASY!
  • Mobility
    • Todays classrooms have to be flexible, and leverage multiple mobile devices. The "sit and get" model we see today is not effective. Provide students differentiated, mobile curriculum that is tied to standards to make a fundamental change in their educational experience!
  • ePub or PDF
    • These formats are the future of curriculum. ePub files open in iBooks for the iPad, and an eBook reader opens them on a Chromebook. PDF's are openable on ANY device.
    • The following programs let you create an ePub
      • Pages
      • Liber.io
      • iBooks Author
    • PDF's are able to be created from anywhere with the save as PDF option under the printing tab.
  • Student Centered
    • Students should have the option to show what they know for projects. This boosts interest, ties in curriculum, and showcases 21st century learning. Teachers simply need to create a menu to choose from and allow the students to be themselves.

So, after all that ickyness, why would I post this? My goal with this post is to provide direction. I hear time and time again how educators are unsure of how to move forward, here is how. Choose one or two of these strands and start building. Get comfortable with the process and make it routine. Baby steps always lead into innovation!