4ALL: It’s Time to Think Outside the Budget

In these dire economic times, there are few resources with which we have to work. The lack of funding has a great impact on what we can and can do with our students. Field trips are cut. Teachers who might not have seen a raise in several years are being asked to dip into their pockets for materials, resources, and supplies…and those are the instances where they’re not being “down-sized.” Because of this reality, the student experience often suffers.

In my mind, we have two choices: give up and allow budget cuts to limit how and what we teach our students OR take advantage of the resources that are available to us. It’s time that we not only think outside of the box, but we need to think outside the budget. Luckily, this time in history – more than any other – offers an infinite amount of free resources for teachers and their students.

For example, just check out the tools and resources shared on this blog. Last week, we learned of an Eagle cam that’s free to anyone. What a great science resource that is. Yesterday, we suggested using a homemade¬†visualization¬†toolkit which can also be had for free or copied and created rather cheaply. Glogster was a fascinating and free online presentation tool we shared on Tuesday. Today’s Earth Day, but we provided free resources on Wednesday’s post. So, just on this one blog, a teacher can find many, many resources that won’t break the budget.

Of course, this isn’t the only online place that does this. One of the most vast lists of Web 2.0 tools for teachers on the internet can be found at EdTech Toolbox where daily posts provide a new tool and a comprehensive collection of tools is also made available. Plus, there are sites like TeachPaperless, Larry Ferlazzo’s site, Daily Infographic, and dy/dan. And those are just the few we go back to over and over for ideas and inspiration.

Where do you go for information and resources that help supplement your instructional materials? What’s something you’ve found recently online that helped you teach a lesson? Do you use any of these sites in your teaching?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.