Digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with studentsA digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with students is PowerPoint, which is used to display reading materials in class. This allows the students to see the words while they are spoken out loud, alongside illustrations. The use of the the app also allows for external hyperlinks; for instance, if a story involves a family of birds, a link to a page describing birds’ natural habitats, what they eat, and other information can also be accessed. This tool therefore allows for lessons to be framed around a particular subject, generally involving a primary reading source, such as an illustrated text, with links to other relevant pages that expand upon the lessons introduced in the presentation.

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Identify a digital tool you would like to use with students
A digital tool that would further benefit student education would be Penzu, which is an online journaling app. This would allow students to write observations, take notes, or even create digital drawings. The app would be useful in certain assignments that require observation outside of the classroom. Because Penzu is designed specifically for educational goals, the guidelines for safe and effective use are built-in; the app allows for avatar access, which protects the identity of the user through the creation of a digital avatar, and it also automatically organizes any created content by date (Reigle, 2015).

Digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with colleagues
The main communication tool with colleagues is email, as all colleagues are provided a school email account. Although this is currently used primarily for administrative notices, it also allows teachers to communicate and share lesson plans. Guidelines for safe use would be the use of a school-provided email limited only to discussions about school functions, curriculum ideas, and other aspects related to teaching; personal conversations and discussions should not occur via school email addresses. However, this method can often be more effective than in-person meetings, as drafting an email allows for more consideration on any given topic.

Identify a digital tool you would like to use with colleagues
A virtual meeting room, such as Google Hangouts or Skype Conference Calls, would be useful for colleagues to openly discuss ideas, coordinate curriculum, and any other function that might take place in a physical meeting. The advantage of virtual meeting rooms is that remote conferencing is often easier to schedule than an in-person meeting. Traditionally, gathering teachers together requires meeting either before or after classes begin, which involves a very narrow window. Remote conferencing would allow for easier scheduling and less time pressure, while also providing more flexibility (Chauhan, 2017). Additionally, digital conferences can also be recorded, so any important details or information that emerges from a meeting can be accessed later.

Digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with parents
A digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with parents is a class calendar provided by Google Calendar, which can be customized to include external links. The calendar is useful as a page that parents can access to see what the current curriculum will be, along with any assignments that are due. Parents can review upcoming assignments as well as see what lessons their child will have. The advantage of external hyperlinks is that it gives parents easy access to information such as the school website, or a way to directly send emails to either the instructor or administration. The safety guidelines include setting the calendar so it cannot be altered by anyone other than the primary instructor; the calendar is more effective when parents are informed and encourage to familiarize themselves with its use, so that they become more involved.

Identify a digital tool you would like to use with parents
A digital tool I would like to incorporate with parents would be a digital portfolio, ideally provided via official school technological channels through the school’s website. This would include the variety of assignments and assessments their children have received, so that parents can see progress as well as any additional notes regarding performance. For instance, parents would be able to access previous assignments, along with the specific grade received for the assignment, as well as teaching materials that were used providing the lesson. Additionally, files can also include a general assessment or student performance in a more robust manner than simply accessing grades. The tool would be effective in encouraging parents to be more proactive and informed about their child’s overall performance, as they would be able to see the exact materials and lessons being covered, along with any areas that might need improvement (Morris and Parker, 2014).

Digital tool used to communicate and collaborate with community stakeholders
A digital tool used to communicate with stakeholders is the school website, which currently provides information on upcoming events, school calendars, curricular goals according to grade, contact information, and bios on current teachers and administration. The website is managed by the school IT person, so there are no safety risks outside of standard website protections. The tool is effective at keeping the community informed on the school’s current plans, goals and mission, as well as providing general contact information for anyone wishing to contact the school directly.

Identify a digital tool you would like to use with community stakeholders
A digital tool that would further benefit community involvement would be monthly emails that include a PDF newsletter. Similar in function to the school website, a digital newsletter would be sent directly to stakeholders on a mailing list to ensure that they remain up to date on any notable events throughout the school year. Although the website is generally effective at providing information, not all stakeholders consider accessing the site. By sending out regular digital newsletters, stakeholders will be better informed and remain up to date on all relevant happenings occurring at the school.

    References
  • Chauhan, S. (2017). A meta-analysis of the impact of technology on learning effectiveness of elementary students. Computers & Education, 105, 14-30.
  • Morris, R. C., & Parker, L. C. (2014). Examining the connection between classroom technology and student engagement. Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, 3(1), 1-15.
  • Reigle, R. R. (2015). Web Applications That Promote Learning Communities in Today’s Online Classrooms. Institute of Education Sciences.