Monday, September 12, 2011

Five Technology Tools You Can Use Tomorrow

So we've touched on some thoughts classroom teachers have regarding technology. The last post left you with Larry Ferlazzo's checklist of whether a technology was worth using. Since we can't share I-pads or laptops with anyone we thought we might offer a few suggestions and links to some tools we have found useful. You are welcome. Every time you click these we get $1 and also can count the time towards out PLC(PLN) goal. Seriously though I sometimes wonder how these business models are set up and how they make any money. These are all quick and easy things that you can easily start using in some fashion with minimal effort. And based on much of what I read...we teachers are all about minimal effort ...right?
Quia Intro/Tutorial
A site I started using about 6-7 years ago mostly for test and SOL review and as I understood more I realized its potential and power. I get a lot of positive feedback from parents and students on this one. It is a simple "create your own" site that most importantly allows you to "steal" from other teachers and quickly use their stuff and make it your a virtual walk down the hall. So day 1 you could be up and running in a few minutes with access to huge amounts of content you can actually use with kids. And they like it. You can give quizzes, play review games, give surveys, share files, post HW...pretty powerful. Most important to me is that it was created with the classroom teacher in mind. very helpful for assessments in or out of class. It is a paid site.
Quizlet Demo Video
Quizlet is something I am using only recently but it is easy to learn and intuitive. Good for basic review of information and another example of a way to extend the classroom. Nice because it tailors to where the kids are weak and is pretty simple. Again easy to start with nothing and quickly get to something.
I describe it as the Facebook for school. Kids like the basic format and it opens the door to extending the classroom virtually. You can do all the usual...assign stuff, have stuff turned in, grade it, etc. I like the layout and ability to use it without much appreciation for its power. In a sense it does what Facebook does and helps create community. They have the coolest music with their tutorial as well. Oh that matters...

If you are looking to promote the cooperative work projects this is where it is at and it has 2 turntables and a microphone(See artist known as Beck) My kids use this more than I do but it is a very effective way to have kids work on projects and avoid having situations where one kids does all the work. You can track edits and actually see who did what when. Likely the most flexible and powerful if you know the ins and outs. Many teachers in my building are awesome at this.Admittedly I do not...but I still use it now and again to share stuff.

Jing Overview Video
Jing allows you to share information from your computer. PowerPoint Presentations with narration are the easiest example but you can do so much more. You can share what you see on your screen and make short videos to help others.

Discovery Education
My school has a site license and I mostly use this to access video segments to use with my PowerPoint notes. In more recent classes I have have kids use this to research and find suitable video clips for projects.

Easily allows you to upload/correct documents and then you can download PDF versions Good for peer reviews for students(though trading actual pieces of paper still works believe it or not)


  1. I read an interesting quote today regarding technology-- "students don't interact with each other, they interact with technology." I suppose that's our big task, getting students to interact and collaborate with each other using technology as a tool.

    I know that Quia is a great site, but along with Quizlet and Jing, it sounds like a more effective way of doing what we already do- presenting and assessing. I like that Google Docs and Edmodo seem to offer the possibility of using technology to do things differently than before.

    I've also been thinking about 1:1 lately. I appreciate having a number of students in my class with assigned netbooks, and since they've been more widely distributed I've had more and more students using their own netbooks or laptops. Access is still a major problem, but in counties like ours, so many students already have, or have the resources to acquire laptops and netbooks. I wonder if we couldn't find more creative and cost effective ways of getting kids hands on technology without purchasing and distributing computers to all.

  2. If you haven't been here, go.

    I sat in on a presentation he did and he shared a wealth of resources.