I found the Article Finding the Right Tool posted on webtools4u2use to be engaging, well-organized, practical and informative. The quote by Abraham Maslow, “If the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail” effectively hooks the reader and provides the audience with an immediate understanding of the perspective the article will present.
There is indeed an overwhelming amount of tools currently available to educators. This article reminded me that being aware of these tools and developing competency with them is only the beginning. Not all tools are equally suited to all tasks and selecting the appropriate tool for a particular learning activity or outcome requires conscious thought. What we are familiar and currently competent with may not be the most effective tool available for the desired learning outcome we wish to achieve.
I appreciated how options for selecting tools were presented by: task, product cognitive level, learning style, instructional strategy and stage of inquiry. I have a tendency to select tools by task and had not given cognitive level, instructional strategy or stage of inquiry due consideration.
The article also posed some thoughtful questions for educators to consider when selecting a tool for an assignment or delivery of instruction, such as: How intuitive is it? How many stages are there? Does it do what I want it to do? How much learning would it take for learners to work it out?
Whether or not the tool is the right one for the job is not the only consideration. The learning curve of students to become competent with the technology must also be taken into account. One cannot assume that it is intuitive. Explicit instruction may even be required. Is the end result worth the time required for students to become competent with the technology?
The article included a great many tools available to educators. Many I was familiar with (or had at least heard of) but, as expected in this age where new technologies emerge on a daily basis, there were tools that were not yet familiar to me. Among those that I wish to explore are: Poll everywhere and Quizlet.
As comprehensive as the list of potential tools was it was by no means 100% complete. One striking omission was Zoom which has proven to be a cost effective, user friendly, effective tool for group collaboration and instruction.
I am always eager to add to my toolbox as an educator and this article provided me with some new tools to explore and a new process for selecting them.