What makes a good online tool?

Tanner Higgins, Director of Commonsense Education, posts a paper, What Makes a Good EdTech Tool Great that is, well, common sense!  With experience in editing many reviews of online tools, he outlines seven points that developers would be wise to heed and cites examples of good practice:

  1. Listen to teachers and students
  2. Identify a real, solvable problem
  3. Do an exhaustive competitive analysis
  4. Create clear, concrete messaging
  5. Focus on learning design
  6. Make privacy a priority
  7. Give teachers and students agency

It’s worth a read!

Word Processing and the Loss of Simplicity

It makes no sense that the word processors are still designed for the printed page” – this is the title of an amusing piece from the Motherboard blog ,complete with links to 1960s and 1970s video clips promoting the paper explosion.

The author takes us through a short history of word processing since the 1970s, and asks “for all they’ve gained, what have modern word processors lost?”   He suggests the loss of simplicity. 

“Since I started writing as a career, I’ve always preferred my writing tools to have a certain style – I want them as little like Microsoft Word as possible”  – Ernie Smith.

Although the online world is capturing our attention with multi-modal texts, are we ready to forsake the printed word?  I’m not so sure.  However, I do wonder about the percentage of the features of word processing (I’m talking about Word, of course) I use – not many!