Although there are many great technologies available for use in our classrooms, I think there's importance in choosing a small but powerful core of tools to use.
In choosing which technologies I will use, I am using the following as my requirements:
- Free to use as in cost. Truly free is a bonus.
- In-browser is the best. Otherwise it must be cross-platform.
- Limited number of registrations and sign ups.
- Ease of use. I want to teach math, not technology.
- Proficiency with the technology useful beyond math class.
That being said, here is my current core:
Absolutely amazing mathematics software designed for teaching and learning mathematics. While it's not always the most intuitive software to use, its dynamic and interactive nature make it a powerful tool in the classroom. There are loads of tutorials and ready-to-use materials on the main website.
I absolutely agree with Conrad Wolfram that teaching a bit of programming is crucial in teaching mathematics in the twenty first century. Python is my programming language of choice for many reasons. Also, Google's Exploring Computational Thinking is a great resource (and they even posted one of my lessons from my student teaching!). I'm planning on using the PyLab interface to matplotlib.
If you have never used Google Drive before, I highly recommend it. I often hear it described as Microsoft Office in the cloud, but it is much more than that. It puts collaboration and sharing at the center of the process. Students are able to work on the same document at the same time, chat online together, track who made changes and when, and so much more. And it keeps getting better.
I haven't quite figured out how to effectively leverage Twitter in the mathematics classroom yet, but I'm going to try again this year. I ended up with an extra projector at the end of the year (shh! Don't tell anyone!), so I might try having a live feed continually on the sideboard.