I’ve learned a valuable lesson while trying to allow students a little more freedom with technology in the classroom.  Technology is an outstanding tool to help students develop innovative problem solving techniques collaboratively online.

BUT…..

It can easily be a distraction to students if they are not coached regarding how they can use programs to support their learning (e.g., Premier, Prezi, etc…).  It’s kind of like introducing manipulatives for the first time in your classroom.  At first, the students will play with them.  Give them the opportunity to play (they may find answers to questions you didn’t know you had!)  Once they have learned how to manipulate the basics, then focus their use of the toys and turn them into tools to facilitate learning (like never before).