Contribute to this thread comments or other websites you believe teachers should definitely put in their digital toolbox upcoming school year, win an iPod Touch! Every contribution is entered into the drawing, so share often and keep coming back to explore the list.
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A great photo editing tool is a must for teachers and I recommend Aviary, LunaPic, Picnik, or BeFunky with some being simpler than others, but all having unique features. Explore all the tools and choose the best option for your skill level.
Creaza and Jaycut are answers to the Windows XP Movie Maker and Flipcam problem. Both of these sites have online video editing tools where Flip videos can be uploaded for easy manipulation. Creaza also has a wonderful alternative for GarageBand and a rather incredible comic creator.
Delicious or Diigo are online bookmarking networks teachers need. Inevitably a wonderful link is shared with us that we think, “Oh, I know I’ll use that later” and then we forget what it was. Using one of these resources lets teachers save bookmarks in a webspace and allows networking.
Doodle is a groovy scheduling tool teachers can use when setting up a collaborative work meeting or building social committee event. One user creates the Doodle and shares the link with others. Everyone can share time availability and determine the prime meeting date.
Dropbox is one of my absolute favorite tools shared with me by Intel Teach buddies Glen Westbrook and Jill Summers. Dropbox is a 2 GB e-vault tool that allows teachers to drop files in an online folder and sync it with multiple computers. For example, I might create a file on my MacBook at school, move it into my Dropbox folder and then open it up on my Dell at home. No jump drives to lose or accidentally wash and no email files that are too large to send. Plus, as an added bonus, I can create collaborative folders in Dropbox to share with partner teachers. Love it!
Edmodo – Definitely my #1 favorite tool on the web for creating a social network within a classroom or amongst all the teachers in a building. It’s simply easier to have files, links, and discussions held in one location. I am going to encourage our principal to set up a group in Edmodo for all building communications which can reduce the number of papers in teacher inboxes significantly.
Free Tech for Teachers and Larry Ferlazzo tie for this slot as these are amazing resource blogs for any teacher. You know the commercial, “There’s an App for That!” These fellas are the ones who can share those apps. Bookmark them, add them to your Google Reader, and visit often for excellent resources all year long.
Glogster.EDU is one of those tools that opens dozens of lesson ideas to foster creativity and higher order thinking skills. No more will we have poster boards dropping off the walls in the hallways or students covered in Crayola markers down their arms. With Glogster teachers and students can create interactive posters for research, websites, presentations, reflection, and more.
Google Language Translator does a fairly decent job of language translation. Although we all know languages do not automatically translate due to grammar structure, idioms, etc. this tool does basic translation well if needed.
Google Tools for Educators. Here teachers can receive training on how to use the Google Suite of Docs, Reader, Picasa, and more plus find out what new and innovative things Google is adding. It’s a never-ending world of innovation for us this year.
Intel Teach Free Tools and Resources – This is the one stop shop for some of the absolute best research, tools, and other free stuff on the web. From a collection of project based learning units to ideas on assessment in 21st century classrooms to tools that take classroom discussions higher levels of thinking, you simply cannot beat this one. As a PBL teacher, I access this site repetitively for tools to help me design new projects and assessments for my students. Yes, someday I’m actually going to assign the interpretative dance for an assessment even though my Ed-tech buddies think I’m kidding. J
LiveBinders is one tool that certainly is gaining teacher popularity this summer. For those moments when teachers need to share a set of links, create a webquest, Internet scavenger hunt, or content related sites with parents, this tool is the perfect ticket.
MyWebspiration and Dabbleboard (thanks McTeach) are brainstorming collaboration tools perfect for unit plan design, party planning, or big school event planning such as Field Day or as a great high school chemistry teacher I know who plans Mole Day each year.
Prezi – Yes, I do enjoy Microsoft Office and Google Documents, but I really dig Prezi for student presentations. The concept of how it creates the “real” visual aid and allows for video embedding took my students to a different level during the speech unit this year. The tool does take a bit to figure it out, but with the excellent tutorial videos and a couple of clicks, the students are off and running.
Social networks such as Twitter, Plurk, DEN, Thinkfinity, and Intel communities are listed because every teacher needs a PLN - a place to connect with other teachers of similar subject and content areas. This is especially critical for those teachers in small schools where there may only be one or two teachers in a department. Believe me, when I was the sole member of the “English Department” for a year, my staff meetings went great, but it was difficult not having a support group. Now teachers can simply jump in, join in pedagogical conversations, share resources, and grow.
Troovi is simply a brilliant little gem for teachers collecting photos from multiple student digital cameras. Simply grab the URL directly above the logo and share it with the whole class. Students simply upload the images from their cameras to that URL (no login required) and within seconds everyone has an online album to share. No more having to bring the digital cameras up to the teacher’s desk one at a time. Yay!
Voicethread –From digital storytelling, reflection, photo essays, and more, this tool has been one of my students’ favorites. Also be sure to check out Voicethread for Educators Ning for ideas on using the tool.
Zamzar and MediaConverter for file conversions and Youtube downloads. Yes, there are always moments in the year where students turn in Microsoft Works or Word Perfect files that simply do not open nicely on a school computer. Zamzar will convert those files on top of downloading YouTube videos.
Honorable Mention for US teachers - Netflix is a service that I think every school library should have a subscription to check out documentaries and other films that aren’t easily accessible in most communities. In all honesty, I believe Netflix needs to start an education side of their service specifically for teachers and libraries to utilize, especially with all the films that can be streamed directly to a computer. I use Netflix significantly throughout the year for my classroom and encourage many of my peers to subscribe, as well.
My additions are in Alphabetical order as these are add-ons to your wonderful compilation .
I'm wondering if we can get Smoke's list up to 100 websites no teacher should start the 2010-11 Year Without. Please add your favorites to this list and let's see how big the list can grow !
That's 26 if sites if you are keeping count.
I know Smoke mentioned Google tools, but I have to give a plug to Google Custom Search. Many times we ask students to search and they immediately go to Google.com and search. In the past, I have always created a folder with previewed sites in it, but since we all love Google, Custom Search it is for me.
Sooooo, my lists are not as neat and organized as Smoke's and Glen's, but my ideas hit me while I am chasing kids, cleaning up messes, or doing 5 different things....Be patient with me
I wanted to add Comics to the list, but with so many comic generators out there, you will have to try them out and find the best one for your grade level and subject. There was an awesome webinar on this topic not too long ago. I encourage you to check out the resources that were shared, along with ideas to get you started, and find your favorite cartoon creator.
Strip Generator This takes you straight to create link so you bypass any inappropritate cartoons
One idea that I have been playing around with, and certainly could be adapted to high school, is a series of cartoons created by the kids.
For example: the kids create a super hero that will be in every "issue" of the comic. The super hero is there to solve or explain complicated topics. It seems this would be fun for the kids as it is a character they can become familiar with. It also allows that "creative" or "struggling" student to have an outlet to turn to when they need it. It also gives you an opportunity to use comics throughout the year and not for one isolated project. Does that make sense?
You have to see this - Alma’s “Freebies List”: Educational Resources, Many, many cool tools.
My thanks to Michael Cichocki, Pennslyvania ITA and a new Essentials MT for sharing this resource with me (and now all of you).
Isn't it amazing the resources you forget about until you start digging for back to school stuff?
I totally forgot about LetterPop. This is a great site to let your students create "getting to know you" newsletters at the beginning of the year. There are a couple of things you can do without having to pay for the subscription.
Jill provided me with a new Web 2.0 tool! I love getting new ideas that I can implement in my classroom. I've never seen nor used LetterPop. I'm thinking it would be fun to have students create newsletters based on content we are studying in class. Gotta play with it a little more to see if it will work for my students.
Has anyone used LetterPop with Middle School or High School students? What successes and/or challenges have you faced?
I absolutely love Mixbook to use as a publishing tool. I've had students create class books, and even individual books for projects. This is a great way to teach about using original artwork & photos! Kids love using Skitch (mac only) to create their own drawings that can easily be turned into jpegs.