The Electric Educator: Have you Selected an Anchor Technology?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Have you Selected an Anchor Technology?

Earlier this week I was sent to the grocery store by my wife to get some butter. A simple task; or so I thought. Do you have any idea how many different types and styles of butter you can purchase? Completely overwhelming. And no, I did not get the right one!

When it comes to Educational Technology, it can feel a little bit like trying to pick from the butter isle.

Want to incorporate formative assessment into your classroom? There are about 100 options!

Interested in using a learning management system? Another 100+ options!

Choice if usually heralded as a good thing. But if there are too many options, two things can happen:

  • Some people get overwhelmed and choose nothing. 
  • Some people get excited and try everything
Both responses are bad and will not lead to lasting change and impact that we are seeking. 

If you plan on using technology in your classroom, you need to pick an anchor technology. This is the tool or platform that will serve as the foundation for your classroom and will help guide future decisions. 

Here are some popular technology anchors: 
  • Google Apps for Education (now called G Suite for Education)
  • Office 365 from Microsoft
  • iOS from Apple
  • Moodle

This is NOT an exhaustive list; just a few representative tools.

Google Apps for Education is my anchor technology. Anytime I am looking to solve a classroom problem I first look to see if there is solution within the core products of Google Apps (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Sites, Etc). If not, I look for external products that integrate with Google Apps. I rarely use a product that does not somehow integrate with Google Apps.

Don't wander around the web looking for the next big thing or get distracted by something new and shiny. Figure out what works for you and use that as the filter for future technology decision.

What's your technology anchor?


  1. This has been an interesting post for me. I am a GCI (Sydney, 2013) and have worked in a couple of big Google using schools. I have since moved to a provincial area, to a school without BYOD (coming next year though!) and Microsoft Office 365.
    I have been pondering how to keep using Google Drive, Docs, sites etc. as this is what I know best and use daily. I have extensions and apps that allow me to open MS docs within Drive and all manner of other tools, but I have come to the conclusion recently that I need to upskill on the MS stuff and stop crossing over here, there and everywhere. My MS stuff is all on single-sign on, and the students all have these accounts too. Our issue has been that there has never been a specific policy from our senior leadership about which tools to use, and we did not have the right tools for the job at the time, spurring people to use anything they could.
    Next year we have MS Classroom (I have it to trial, but no students in there yet...) and I am going to make better use of Class Notebooks.
    Your post stuck a chord though. It gave me additional confirmation I am doing the right thing and for the right reasons. I don't like not being a Google school, but I am goingn to use the anchor tools we have been provided with!

    1. Hey Nick! Thanks for the feedback! It means a lot to hear that my post was helpful.

      It is important to remember that the technology should enable learning, not be the focal point of the classroom. Like you, I like what Google is doing, but there are other acceptable alternatives.

      I would love to hear more about your experience with MS Classroom!


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