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Exploring the tools of the profession


November 15, 2019

Current information related to technology in education

Teaching and technology have always gone hand in hand, from the classic chalkboard to today’s electronic apps. Digital technologies are a ubiquitous part of teaching and learning in Alberta classrooms. The many tools available can support inquiry, creativity, collaboration, writing and student engagement. Faced with a seemingly limitless array of available tools, teachers can find it challenging to stay abreast of what’s available while also considering their students and learning context. What hasn’t changed is that the teacher is the designer of learning and is best able to determine what, if any, tools can support the learning process.


5 Technologies That Engage Learners

Information provided by members of the ATA’s Educational Technology Council (ETCATA).


Equatio is a Chrome add-on that is currently free for teachers. It allows the user to easily create mathematical equations, formulae, drawings and even interactive graphs. The possibilities are endless. (@d_martin05)


Pear Deck

Pear Deck is an add-on in Google Slides that enables teachers to lead a presentation and engage students as they follow on their devices (Chromebooks or smartphones). Once your slide deck is created, enabling Pear Deck allows you to make your slides interactive, adding questions for students to answer. Pear Deck allows for quick, informal assessment of students’ understanding of a topic and allows even the quietest students to have a voice. (@lissabdavies)




Flipgrid provides all learners with powerful opportunities to share their voice in creative ways, breaking down barriers for even the most reluctant or struggling communicators. Through video responses to a variety of topics, students can demonstrate the thought process behind their learning and showcase their knowledge and skills. They can also engage in collaborative learning anytime, anywhere through active engagement with peers’ responses. (@CMcKee27)




Flocabulary is a learning program for all grades that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. For a small annual fee, teachers can search age-appropriate hip-hop videos. You can turn on the discussion button and the video will stop with a prompted question for you to facilitate. As well, each video has a section for important vocabulary discussed in the video along with a short quiz and some reading comprehension questions. (@sbspriggs)


Google Keep

Google Keep is a free, powerful note-taking tool, available in a mobile and web version. Take notes by typing, leaving an audio note (which Keep then transcribes into text), create checklists, use the drawing tool, set reminders, take photo notes, label your notes or even colour code. Keep notes can also be shared so others can collaborate. They can even be turned into a Google document. (@nlakusta)

Any teachers wanting to share their successes with the above tools are invited to let ETCATA know via Twitter at #ETCATA or @ETCATA, or send an email to ETCATA president Ryan Layton at

Borrow a bot!

The ATA library now has a variety of robot technology that is avail-able to borrow. We’re talking ozobots, beebots, micro:bits, makeymakeys, spheros, as well as scratch coding cards.

The new equipment is for all grades and includes ideas about how to use it in the classroom.

The tech gear comes thanks to a $14,000 donation by ETCATA.

How to borrow technology

  • Go to and sign in with your ATA account.
  • Click the Maker Kits link to see a full listing of the maker kits available in the ATA library.
  • Classroom kits are mailed to your school anywhere in the province and return postage is prepaid.

iOS in the Classroom

Larry L. Lewis, Jr.

Available through the ATA library.



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