2e Tech by Marlo PayneThurman

The Beginning of a New Column

March, 2014

We are pleased to introduce a new feature – a column on educational technology by Marlo Payne Thurman, a member of our Editorial Advisory Board. Marlo spends plenty of time combing the Internet to find new websites, new apps, and new tools that can help teachers better connect with and inspire their twice-exceptional students. She’ll be sharing her discoveries with 2e Newsletter readers.

Ed Tech Pick of the Issue
321 Free Tools for Teachers – Free Educational Technology:

Educational technology is a term applied to any technology used to improve teaching, increase learning, or enhance the tasks of school management. Examples of educational technology span a wide range from radios and television; to cameras and mobile phones; to the Internet; to computers, tablets, camcorders, and other handheld devices. Given this wide array, it isn’t hard to see that educational technology has the potential to benefit students by increasing their access to information and by giving them new and interesting ways to demonstrate their learning.

In a field over 100 years old, the past 10 years have seen many new tools making their way into our classrooms. Supporters in the field see this as a good thing and believe that educational technology has the potential to radically transform education and, thereby, improve the lives of all children. Skeptics, on the other hand, see the field and its products as distractions to traditional learning environments, blaming an industry driven by capital for introducing unnecessary “toys” into children’s education.

Given that academic standards geared towards building 21st century skills are present in almost all public schools, the question in my opinion is not whether technology is good for the classroom, but how will we use it. Like it or not, technology is here to stay! Determining how we use these new tools to educate children means answering some additional questions:

  • Who will use educational technology? 
  • How much and what kind of technology should be in the classroom?  
  • What role does the teacher play as technology moves to center stage?
  • To what extent will we as a society have a say about the inherent changes that technology will bring to our system of education?

With all of these questions in mind, this column aims to give the readers of 2e Newsletter information and access to some of the best and most current resources in this field. Future columns will return to the original educational technology debate; but for this first column, I wanted to share one of my favorite online links to a great big list of free tools for educators. (See above.)

I have personally played with about half of the tools listed and in doing so have found ways to add interest, challenge, and excitement in the classroom. In fact, I just created an online quiz game that gave my students a chance to work in teams to explore the Special Education Performance Standards required for all Colorado teachers. Without this activity, this material –while very important – would’ve been extremely dry. So, with this pick of the month as a start, I hope you enjoy this new addition to 2e Newsletter and I welcome your feedback!

Marlo Payne Thurman, M.S., is a school psychologist, education consultant, and member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board. She specializes in assessment, advocacy, cognitive training, sensory and behavior support, and socio-emotional coaching for individuals from around the country who are gifted yet asynchronous. Marlo operates the Brideun Learning Communities, which designs custom play-based therapeutic programs and, in addition to her private practice, she provides consultative support to new 2e program start-ups. Marlo holds a board position with the United States Autism and Asperger’s Association, is the director of the U.S. College Autism Project, and teaches a course in the Special Education Department of the University of Northern Colorado.

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