Monday, June 1, 2009

Help for Newbies

as a technology advocate (advocate for, if not proficient with!), i find myself constantly assuring other teachers that they too can use technology in and outside of their classrooms, but with little opportunity to *show* them how. today i'd like to recommend websites for teachers transitioning to using tech. the following have been very, very helpful to me as i pick my way through the morass of the internet (in no particular order):

other teachers' blogs: akipta's blog allison's blog is updated daily, sometimes several times a day, with websites of use to teachers. i especially appreciate the time she takes to find and pass this stuff on to us! also, widgets, wikis, and blogs oh my! and toni twiss, the guru of tech, can be found at Upwardly Mobile.  i also enjoy Hey Milly

make use of s not only chock-full of how to 
articles, but post a top/best of list each week of websites that are useful for a variety of things, from music to how to block your isp location so you too (in nz or otherwise out of the usa) can watch tv shows on hulu, etc. subscribe now!

educational blogging site(s): hosts my class blogs, and i have found them relatively easy to use and manage. this is my first year for having students blog, so the easier the better! another option is

video site(s): want to integrate some tech into your classroom but stuck for visual resources? try a free video site with educational videos. of course, and if your school does not block it, you can find just about anything on (try if you're blocked in nz)

google everything: or gmail, google chrome (web broswer), google docs, google calendar, igoogle (desktop), google maps, google images, is there anything google doesn't do? (i'm obviously a big google supporter!). i do just about everything online these days, and love the fact that
 i'm not tied to my own personal laptop to continue my work away from my desk.

twitter: having a twitter network is like being on the phone with my closest (if unmet) friends at a moment's notice. have a question about where to find an applicaiton? wondering what the latest "thing" is? there's no worry about being embarrassed for not being "in the loop" and up on the latest things. just ask your network and at least
 one kind person will reply and help you out. there are so many twitter apps these days i couldn't possibly keep up, but the few twitter-related things i found useful are: 

classroom 2.0  newbies should click that link *right now* for the
 latest on wikis, podcasting, blogging, and generally using web 2.0 technology in the classroom.

RSS feed: i use google reader, with a widget in my igoogle desktop. here's my list - lots of technology, teaching related, and some gossip for light relief, lol.

online bookmarking: diigo  (mine) or delicious (mine). what's great about online bookmarking? not needing your own computer to get to them, not needing to use only one browser to sort/access bookmarks, and most importantly, SHARING bookmarks and being able to search bookmarks of others. of the two, i prefer diigo, imply because you can sort your bookmarks by lists and not just tags. not only should you join, you should make me your friend so we can share!

when it comes to teaching, some of my faves from last year are:  Countdown Timers and Who Wants to be a Millionaire as well as other ppt games that can be customised for your topic.  The WWTBAM link will show you other downloadable games, such as Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and so on.  I've used Millionaire and Jeopardy successfully with both high and lower level students.  Bingo templates are also terrific - but beware of flying counters!

the beauty of the internet is that it's all about *sharing*.  why remake the wheel for every lesson?  remember, being smart is not knowing the answer, but knowing how to find the answer.  become active, create a network, and partake of the wonderful resources teachers have put together, and share your own.  what are your "best of the net" sites for teachers new to technology? leave them here in the comments section :O)


  1. What about a Wounder Student with IT Skills :P, Where would you be with out them (me lol)


  2. pmsl, andrew, i knew i forgot *something*!