Friday, December 20, 2013

Favorite Things

My favorite things December 2013

At this time of year I am thinking about my favorite things and I thought it would be a good time to share some digital ones. If these are familiar to you that is awesome, if they are not familiar to you I encourage you to try one. All of the tools can be synced to any device for you to have access to all of your work at any time and anyplace (as long as you remember the password).
Encouraging lifelong,anytime,anyplace learning for teachers is just as important as it is for students. I had the privilege of hearing Steven Anderson speak at VSTE 2013. He is a Director of Instructional Technology in NC and supports educators learning from others through social media. His blog is full of great tips for the “connected educator” and classroom. He is a great resource for educators to connect with others around the world.

Evernote: I use Evernote from every device to jot notes, thoughts, and ideas. Add images and text for note taking from a meeting or conference. Organize files for lessons or the eportfolio.  Share with anyone. Evernote also has products such as Skitch that students can use to mark up photo’s that have been collected for a collaborative project in an evernote folder. Notes can be shared by social media and email.  Steve Anderson wrote a great post about how he became a more organized educator through Evernote.  Make sure to scroll down to read the comments with even more uses for Evernote.I use Evernote food at home and the Clearly extension to view sites minus all the junk. Penultimate is the Evernote sketchpad app on the iPad.

Diigo: This is my favorite personal library where I collect sites and pictures for public and private viewing. Add annotations and sticky notes to remember what parts of the site is important to you. Share with individual people or be a part of a learning group that will send weekly email collections of what everyone in the group has shared. Search in Google and the Diigo library at the same time. Tagging is important on this site and there is a help section that has answers to even the most advanced features. Check out my library from the link at the top right of this blog

Dropbox: “Your stuff anywhere”. This is especially useful for transporting files in and out of the classroom computer. Set your smartphone to send camera shots directly to dropbox for review and edit later. If there is sharing of one mobile device in the classroom this is a great storage app that everyone can put files or images into for later products. A Smartphone can be synced to do automatic uploads to the dropbox folders from anywhere. I have set up an automatic upload of all camera photo’s as soon as they are taken.

Edmodo: Sign up for a free teacher account and you can set up your students to use edmodo as a blogging platform. Create specific groups such as different teacher teams to collaborate. Create assignments for students and upload content for them to work on. Join other educators in learning groups from around the world, ask questions in groups and get answers that day. Load apps that your students can access directly - I like Storylines for collaborative writing or the Learn street app to create an online card practicing beginner coding. Get rewarded for progress with badges. This is a secure and safe site that is fun too.

Graphite This one is from CommonSense Media that is just wonderful for education in general. At Graphite teachers review websites, online games, and apps for use in the classroom. The ratings include helpful teaching tips, price, and grade level appropriateness. You can collect your favorites based on the lesson objectives in a “flow chart” that can serve as a lesson plan. Create a board (ala Pinterest) and share with other educators.

There are some great ideas here. It does look overwhelming but my hope is that you will try one. These are tools to help lighten the teacher workload and can be shared with students.

I forgot one at this time of year :)  because it is fun:

Have a great break!

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