Technology as tool

How can I use technology to communicate, investigate, learn, teach?
Technology as tool, in my mind, describes the how of things -- how we actually get information, ideas and images from one of us to others.

Tools are what we use to get to information; in some cases the tools themselves need to be modified for particular needs (physical issues around vision, manual mobility, learning disabilities); in other instances, learning about these tools and how to use them form the content of study and learning about the technology itself.

Tools here can include, but are certainly not limited to:

computers, including: software for word processing, spreadsheets, databases;
online connections to

[for example, how is email used within adult education?
Using email in the ABE Classroom, David Henry, Bright Ideas, Fall, 1995

Cool List - sites enabling the creation and use of free mailing lists.

the internet

[for example, Plugged In - technology at work in east palo alto
Plugged In's mission is to ensure that everyone in East Palo Alto, California has the opportunity to fully benefit from all that the information revolution has to offer. Plugged In is an example of one way the web can be used to support community development and interaction].

Homestead - Free Web Sites - authoring site.

Working Assets funds 50 social change agencies. Working Assets, a credit card and long distance provider, uses a percentage of its profits to support progressive causes. View their websites and decide if you'd like to join on in one way or another yourself.

search engines

Google is one of many, many search engines available online. To find online resources, type in the word (or words, in"quotation marks") that describe or name your topic, and submit your inquiry. Lists of links to the information you request should appear. Most search engines offer online help if you have difficulty navigating. Other easy-to-use search engines include Yahoo, and Alta Vista.


A complete guide to digital cameras and digital photography

pencils, paper, paints, brushes, crayons
hammers, saws, tool tools
Clear language and design homepage

images:, a source of images on line, can be used to borrow/appropriate/find images to illustrate almost anything, to learn about the the images themselves, to find ways to connect visual learning, visual imapact (for lack of a better term) to text. A search for "women working" produced 3592 matches. Of the 50 I've seen so far, The Timeline of Women in Baseball is a favorite.

Turn-of-the-Century Child, interdisciplinary social studies lesson utilizing historic American photos of children taken between 1900 and 1920.

The Food Timeline . Food through the ages.

[these areas overlap with those discussed on the content page]:

adaptive technology

The Rhode Island Webmakers group publicizes a number of sites and events dedicated to fostering increased accessibility to the internet.
EASI: Equal Access to Software and Information is a site providing online resources and courses addressing adaptability and web design to maximize access to the internet for people with a range of physical impairments.

From a message from RI Webmakers, Fri, 18 Jun 1999 14:24:24 -0400, cross posted from CIT Infobits, June 1999 issue (an online education listserve)
If you are involved in making Web pages accessible for users with sightimpairments, check out "Disabled Accessibility: The Pragmatic Approach," by Jakob Nielsen ("The Alertbox," June 13, 1999 issue). Nielsen includes a link to the W3 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines1.0, the W3's prioritized list of design rules, and a very useful checklist for Web page designers. The article is available The Alertbox:Current Issues in Web Usability" is a biweekly column by Dr. Jakob Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group. Back issues are available on the Web at

appropriate technology

All of these tools are the raw materials which we make the things we need and want to make. Learning to use them towards are own end is the challenge facing us as people on this planet, and as people who engage in intentional educational work.

Here are links to sites that can help you to use the computer, particularly the internet, as a tool

Learning Technologies: "Modern information and communications technologies - computers, video, radio, television - profoundly impact the ways we live, work and learn. Technologies for learning can expand the possibilities for delivering learning as well as enrich the learning experience." from the Office of Learning Technologies, Human Resources Development Canada

Technology as a Tool for Urban Classrooms - Digest, by Gary Burnett, ERIC Clearinghouse for Urban Education.

what tools can do; (see also

Personal Education Press"lets you turn your computer and printer into a printing press for free educational materials such as flashcards and game boards."

from Kath Connolly: planning tools on the web

from Idealist, a project of Action Without Borders

1. Timedance is a service that allows you to easily schedule group meetings or conference calls, which can be hard to organize by phone or email. Each person in the group gets an email from you, with a pointer to a special page you create on Timedance. There, they check off the times when they are available, and Timedance sends you back a report with the hours when everyone is free.
2. Many organizations want to create mailing lists (such as this one) to communicate with their members, as well as discussion groups which people can join to talk abut any issue of common interest. and enable you to do this.
3. For groups working in different locations, or even for people sharing the same office, 'groupware' that allows you to share documents, calendars, to-do lists and address books can be very useful. Until recently, you needed your own network with tools such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange to do this, but now you can use the Web. For three such tools, see and
4. If you don't have your own computer at work or at school, and you'd like to have a private place to store your files, you can use In exchange for seeing some advertising, they give you 20 Megabytes of disk space which you can access from any Web browser.

Zoomerang, an online survey tool. Its disclaimer states:
Zoomerang is a survey clearinghouse. We do not censor the questions or messages in the surveys or the invitations to take surveys that third parties may propound, nor do we censor the responses you may provide. The sender of a survey is solely responsible for the subject matter and contents of the survey invitation and survey in which you participate, and you are solely responsible for the contents of your response.

Flashbase is another online survey/form creating site worth a look.

LR/RI's Internet 101 page

6 July, 2006
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