HD_Links: Best Resources of 2011

Click for source.

Yesterday, we shared the best online tools. Today’s post will provide the best resource links. Happy Hanukkah!

Brooke Higgins:

The Future’s Channel (http://www.thefutureschannel.com/) and Thinkfinity (http://www.thinkfinity.org/) are tow of my favorite resources to share with teachers. Both sites offer email newsletters to keep up on what they are offering at different times.

The Future’s Channel has free, short, authentic videos that focus on science, math, technology, and innovation all centered around specific jobs people have in our world today. They have accompanying lesson plans that, with a bit of tweaking, could become engaging IBL lessons. Videos can also be purchased for instant access.

Thinkfinity, which is sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, has thousands of free lesson plans, student interactives, games, classroom resources, games and tools to support all subject areas to be used in the classroom. They also offer some professional development resources and also parent resources.

Debbie Perkins:

This one is easy. One of my favorite online resources has to be EduTecherhttp://edutecher.net/. That’s because I’m always on the lookout for new ed tech web tools, and that’s exactly what EduTecher provides. You can search site links by subject and/or grade level. When you find a web tool you like on EduTecher, add your own notes or comments for future reference, or just bookmark it right on the EduTecher site. For a brief history of technology in education or a tutorial on how to use Qwiki (http://www.qwiki.com/), go to EduTecher TVhttp://www.edutecher.net/tv.php. Oh! And if you want to connect with other EduTechers, share links, or form a PLN, you can do that on EduTecher too! Of course this site also meets my first favorite resource requirement: EduTecher is completely free to all teachers, educators, and parents. By the way, I first discovered EduTecher by downloading their app on my iPhone. It’s a must have!

Carmen Marty

One of my favorite online resources is Diigo Educator’s Group (http://groups.diigo.com/group/diigoineducation) You can browse the links from the site or join the group and each day a list of educational links will show up in your inbox. I love the variety of articles and topics posted to this group. I find many interactive websites along with great blog posts and new tech tools. I spend the first 15 minutes of each day learning through the links on the list. After I have looked through the ideas, bookmarked the things I want to save for later, I delete the email and move on with my day. As a life long learner, I value this group as part of my PLN.

Amy Blades

For the classroom as a science teacher I have always used

http://jc-schools.net/tutorials/tools/science-ms.html

Jc-schools has resources for all subject areas and much more. Great tool!

I also love Lee Summit’s Technology Integration website….next to eThemes this is always my second look to for resource.

http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/

What have we missed? Where do you go for resources for your students and yourself?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Thursday’s Tip: Top-10 Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

Created at Wordle.

For this week’s tip, we’re bringing you a list of top-10 ways you can use social media in your classroom.

10. Social bookmarks like Delicious (still around), EverNote, and Diigo are great ways for groups of students researching a topic to gather and organize their resources. You can set up an account for an entire class, a small group, or one for individuals who share and follow their peers’ research.

9. As mentioned earlier this week, there are many new uses for YouTube (and other social video sharing sites like Vimeo). Channels can be created. Response videos and creative annotation and tagging can add another interactive level to the video sharing process.

8. Google Reader (H/T Brooke Higgins) can be a great way for teachers and students to follow particular resources as well as share in a community. A teacher can create a bundle of important resources to which he wants his students to subscribe. There is also the share feature where students and teachers could share interesting articles or blog posts they find in their own readings. The comment and search functions can also come in handy with Google Reader.

7. The new Groups on Facebook make it even easier to communicate with students and parents without having to give up privacy via friending. There are many more privacy safeguards for the new Groups, but there are also several new features that make Groups more community-friendly. Now, when comments are made on the new Groups’ walls, that same content shows up on every member’s feed and sends a notification. This insures that every member sees all the wall posts. Also, there is a group chat that allows more than one participant at a time, great for online class discussion. Documents, pictures, videos, links, and events can all be managed in one place.

6. Teachers and schools often complain about the cost of out-dated textbooks that don’t match student needs as closely as they should or are limiting in their scope. A great way to combat this is to write our own textbooks using wikis. Not only could a wiki be used to display a teacher’s notes, but there are multimedia capabilities as well as commenting options. Even better, students can be involved in writing their own textbooks. A wiki-created text could be revised and edited from year to year without the cost of a new textbook series eating up valuable space in a school’s budget since wikis are often free or very cheap for premium, ad-free packages. Oh, and there’s a wiki out there with directions for writing a textbook.

3.-5. Google Docs provide several great options for collaborative classroom work. Here are three:

  • Google Docs has its own presentation feature, much like PowerPoint. In fact PPT files can be uploaded to Google Docs and converted to an online presentation. Students working from different computers or locations can easily contribute to the same presentation. When presented to the class, students can chat during the presentation and the discussion shows up on a side panel.
  • Collaborative writing has never been easier than with Google Docs. Using the word processing feature, students can contribute to the same document, insert comments, chat about the direction of the document, and access older drafts. Plus, the document can easily be converted to a PDF or website.
  • Data collection and online tests quizzes are easier now with the addition of Google Forms to the Docs suite. A form can be set up to gather any data (surveys, quizzes, blog submissions ;) ) and it’s all gathered in a tidy spreadsheet that can be easily converted to charts and graphs. Plus, multiple users can gain access to the results, as with any Google Doc.

2. Photo sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr offer great opportunities not only for sharing and commenting on one another’s images, but also several other useful features. Tagging and/or annotation images is a great way to demonstrate understanding and to encourage contributions. Both offer some editing features and allow video uploads.

1. Blogs. Well, what else would you expect from a blog? Blogs are a tremendously underused social media tool. Collaborative writing, online publishing, interactivity between readers and writers, easy to manipulate HTML code with multiple options for embedding media… The possibilities for blogs is endless. Plus, blogs can be used alongside many of the tools already mentioned above.

How do you use social media in your classroom? Feel free to comment below or link back to this post.

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

Is Delicious Bookmarking a Thing of the Past?

Several days ago there were reports that the social bookmarking site Delicious would be permanently shutting down and would no longer be available for use.  Delicious is a very popular bookmarking site among many, including those in the education field.   Evidently the rumor that came out was premature and that is not completely accurate.  Yahoo! has said it will not shut down Delicious, but will find another home for the social bookmarking service.

If you want to read what Delicious posted on December 17, 2010 about the “rumor” you can go to the Delicious blog which is found here http://blog.delicious.com/.  The blog attempts to explain the situation and how it will be handled in the future.
If you are a current Delicious user and would still like to export your bookmarks to another service there are many options available.

Some other free bookmarking sites that are available:
Xmarks:  (formerly knows as Foxmarks) http://www.xmarks.com/
Diigo: http://www.diigo.com/
Google Bookmarks: https://www.google.com/bookmarks/l

Angie Esser is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

Alternatives to the Typical Classroom Website

School districts are cutting back on server space and software purchasing. This makes it hard to create and maintain usable classroom websites. Luckily, the Web is loaded with plenty of free alternatives.

You say your school is unable to purchase Dreamweaver? Try Nvu. For those who like to have more control than templates offer and no funds to purchase expensive software, NVU is a good alternative to the popular Dreamweaver.

Server space for websites is being drastically cut? If you’re okay with templates, Google Sites and Weebly both offer some great hosting options. With the right know-how, one does not have to be limited to templates, but both services offer a nice variety of templates with many features that will improve the interactivity of your site. Google’s sites offer seamless integration of the many Google tools also available for free. Weebly is a slick online web editor and host that also offers many interactive components to take your site to the next level.

Sometimes districts offer a small amount of space for a “templated” web page, but there are limits to resources. Simply tap into the many web-based tools that are free to users with an email address in order to enhance your students’ experience.

As mentioned above, Google offers many tools that can be easily converted to educational purposes. Google calendars provide both a self-standing website option and an embed-able element so that you can add this feature to your own site. Google Groups can provide a password protected space for discussion and file sharing. Google Docs give you the opportunity to produce collaborative documents, spreadsheets, images, surveys and quizzes, and presentations. Many of the tools on Google Docs can easily be “hacked” to fit teacher and student needs involving sharing and privacy as well as web publication possibilities. These free tools only skim the surface of what Google has to offer and did I mention it was all free? ;)

For lists of resources, teachers can utilize any number of social bookmarking sites. There’s Delicious which uses tags and clouds to create user-friendly interfaces and organizational systems. Diigo has many great collaborative possibilities. EverNote even takes the collaboration a step further and offers a desktop version for easy syncing. All of these tools can be used to provide students their own Internet-based libraries specific for their needs.

Communication is an important component of any teacher’s responsibilities. What better online tool for communication is there than the blog? Google has Blogger. WordPress is another great blogging tool and is utilized over at Edublogs. Blogs are free to set up and provide many opportunities for interaction with your students, parents, and colleagues.

This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to free tools that can provide an alternative to the traditional classroom website. Almost any online tool has a practical classroom application. What are some of the tools you use for your classroom website?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read some of his other posts over at Suppl_eMINTS.