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Peer Review

K-12 Tech Tools

by Various Authors


Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 20, 2012 by Teacher Education
Overview: This is a website with online resources, for use with and by K-12 students, sorted by subject and grade level. The materials can be used for student projects, as supplemental material, and to aid teachers in improving technology use.
Learning Goals: Through the use of a variety of technology tools students will be able to build upon content-specific skills. Some learning goals may be specific to the tools/resources used.
Target Student Population: K-12 all subjects
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computer navigation skills
Type of Material: Online tools and resources
Recommended Uses: In-class with students working individually or in small groups, homework, projects, or used as stations, K-12, teacher education classes.
Technical Requirements: Browsers: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The content quality is high. The learning material presents valid concepts, models and skills. The material is age appropriate. The online resources are categorized by subject and grade level and supplement the core curriculum (in this case the DC Public Schools Learning Standards). The content is not difficult for the teacher to learn. When expertise is needed, help is provided. For example, the 'Featured Tool: Blogger' last month showed teachers how to create a classroom blog using video. The teacher can also access the site's 'Featured Tools YouTube Channel'.
Concerns: Technology is always changing and sites such as this that provide resources must continue updating their technology resources. For example under 'Technology Tools' six tools are listed. One tool 'ipod/iPad Apps' leaves out apps from Android. Skype is listed as one of the tools. Skype is an excellent tool for video conferencing but only two parties can use the video. You have to add the premium package for one user before more than two can use the video. Google Chat is mentioned under the tool 'Skype' as an alternative tool. Google Chat uses more than two in the video conferencing. This tool should read 'GoggleChat/Skype. Conference calls are not listed as one of the tools.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The learning materials are age/grade specific. For example in 'Social Studies (9-12)' teachers can access nine websites under 'Generic Tools'. These websites include history animated, learn history with popular music and animated history maps. Under 'U.S. History' websites are listed in chronological order from the 'United States to the 1800s' to 'Contemporary American'. The website 'The Great Depression' lists activities and documents. Included under this period are links to 'Historical Thinking Skill and five skills including chronological thinking, historical comprehension and historical analysis and interpretation. Under the section 'Tool' seven topics are listed including finding a sequence, focusing on details, interpreting data, seeing the big picture and weighing the evidence. Students can successfully learn the material, learning objectives are incorporated, and the resources are invaluable. The resources provided by this website K-12 Tech Tools allow teachers to supplement their lessons with excellent material. Another website for 'Contemporary America' teaches by rap music. There is a subscription for this site but a free trial would introduce history students to a novel approach to history through rap music. As an instructor, this site would be very easy to use to locate materials for an assignment or supplemental materials for both individuals and groups.
Concerns: Some suggested websites recommended have a subscription fee. These site should list those sites under a special heading. Teachers do not have the school funds to use these sites.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy for teachers and students to use for the first time. On the welcome page teachers can access all the resources provided by the site. A featured tool is updated. In November the site featured creating Blogs and this month a video on the search engine Wolfram/Alpha. The online tools and resources are listed under the subject areas. Teachers can become a member of this wiki. The site had over 2600 hits since October 26, 2011 so the site is being viewed by teachers.
Concerns: The site's featured tools could be added to a list that teachers can access by clicking on that tool.

Other Issues and Comments: • A very useful site for all grade levels.