It never hurts to know more about the types of technology tools and products that are familiar to our user communities. Not only can it inform us about resources that could be potentially helpful to us in our work as blended librarians, but it tells us a bit about our users’ preferences for educational technology or other web-based productivity tools.
Turns out the Gates Foundation compiles just such a list. They refer to it as “Teachers Know Best” and this one provides a product comparison that is of interest. It compares the product preferences of teachers and students. It holds some surprises.
Here are the top five products
Khan Academy Google Search
BrainPop Khan Academy
Accelerated Reader Google Docs
It appears the teachers and students may differ in how they rank the products, but there is clearly some common appreciation of Google products, Khan Academy and a variety of productivity and learning tools. I found more than a few educational technology resources with which I was not familiar, so this was also a good discovery resource.
Not totally unexpected but I did notice that neither teachers or students mentioned a library-associated product, such as a searchable database. Both groups put Google Search in their top ten so it’s not as if information retrieval is not important. Perhaps it is the case that neither group thinks of library research tools as a product that fits in with the types of educational technology listed. Somewhat unfortunate and perhaps speaks to our need to better integrate our library work and resources into the teaching and learning space.