Teachers' top technology picks

Smart boards, iMovie, Skype among the technologies that are transforming classroom projects and teacher interactions.

With the growing numbers of technological devices that can be utilized in the classroom, teachers often feel overwhelmed and undereducated on the best way to maximize their usefulness.Education World asked a number of experienced teachers to suggest the best ways to use these tools, including hardware, software, programs, applications, Web sites.

For elementary school students, one teacher finds the interactive white board indispensable.

"Interactive whiteboards (Smart Boards) are rapidly transforming our entire language department," Howard Levin told Education World, "by making board lessons much more dynamic, multimodal and interactive. Teachers archive and share all their Smart Board lessons. They also can instantaneously re-visit and review lessons from yesterday, last week, and last month to help reinforce learning in a way that was never possible in the past."

Wagner also finds that Skype to be an invaluable tools to collaborate with people all over the world. Skype allows me to speak with participants of my Technospud projects and also work on additional activities with people I never could have worked with in the past. I cannot explain the wealth of knowledge I have been able to gain since I've added Skype to my computer," said Wagner.

In middle school, Wally Fuller's seventh grade class uses Fun Brain to help students hone their math and language arts skills.

Computer science teacher Lucy Gray think iMovie is one of her most important tools in the classroom.

"My students use it to produce a multimedia project called "All About Me," in which they build components over the course of the year. They do portraits in Art Rage, record audio files in Garageband, and create movies in iMovie. All of those pieces are put into a multimedia presentation using eZedia MX. When they are finished, students burn the projects and a free eZedia MX player to a CD to take home," says Gray.

As far as teacher tools go, top of the list is email. Microsoft Word, Power Point, and flash drives are were high up on the list, as well.

Teacher Bernie Pool said that the best course management tool he used was Blackboard CourseWeb.

"Blackboard CourseWeb has become an indispensable tool for managing the courses I teach. I post my syllabi, schedules, PowerPoints, handouts, announcements, and other course materials -- such as grades -- on CourseWeb. My students (all education majors) appreciate the access that gives them to everything involved with a course. I appreciate the fact that I can so easily communicate 24/7 with my students via CourseWeb."

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