Christopher G. Johnson, assistant professor of educational technology at the University of Arizona South in Sierra Vista, believes there are five categories of new tools that are essential for a 21st century classroom.
- Online productivity: Web-based productivity tools allow students to create and work collaboratively. For example, students can use such tools to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and to take turns editing them online.
- Online collaboration: Video conferencing, instant messaging software and web conferencing tools allow students to communicate and collaborate live in a virtual environment.
- Search: Students can begin research on search engines, digital libraries and sites such as Wikipedia.
- Visualization: Tools that help students visualize data in new and different ways help the creative process. Examples include mapping tools that allow students to diagram their ideas and organize them with outlines.
- Video editing: Producing videos is a popular way for students to express themselves and present their research. Schools should provide digital video cameras and editing software so students can make use of this medium.