After plotting this idea for quite a while, Gillian Nowlan and I have “finished” our final project for EC&I 831: Digital Tools for Teaching, a resource site for anyone involved in teaching who is looking for some starting info on digital tools they might want to use.
I wrote about this previously but, just to recap, this project was something I came up with for my work as an assistant instructional designer. I was wanting to have a centralized place to point instructors to when they are considering tools they may want to use in their teaching, but I wanted more than just a list of tools. I wanted a resource that might help explain why they should use a tool (or why not). I was also wanting somewhere to link tutorials, share examples, and give people an idea of how things can be used. This seemed like the perfect time to do it. Luckily, Gillian also thought a resource like that could be useful for her so we were able to partner up and share the work.
In going through the process, we came up with a whole lot of possible tools that we knew of, used ourselves, or wished we had time to be using. Eventually we did have to narrow it down to a manageable number. For now. (We hope to continue to build on this site as a useful resource.) We wanted to focus on people just starting out with a tool rather than advanced users because we know that getting into new technology can be daunting (something that many students in EC&I 831 found, even those of us more familiar with digital tools but using unfamiliar options). That way we can point people to this as a first stop for resource “shopping,” somewhere they can get an idea of whether a tool might help them, might have drawbacks they need to consider, see some tutorials or existing help pages, find some places to read or watch more.
We grouped the tools based on their main function (connecting, digital curation, documents, media, presenting). This does mean that you will find social media tools scattered throughout the site but this will make it easier for people to focus on a general function. For example, YouTube is social media, but its core function is hosting videos (latest commenting issues might make this for a focus).
In the end, we have something that can easily grow and be used by anyone. That’s right, it’s Creative Commons! Please feel free to use and share anything you find there. If you want a copy of the site, just leave a comment and I would be happy to provide you with the WordPress export file. Just remember to retain attribution and share alike!
We also hope that people will feel free to comment on our tool pages, making suggestions, sharing their experiences or examples, or linking great help resources.