Google Docs has become an amazing resource for both students and teachers to utilize. Students can use it for group work and/or projects. Educators can use it to work with other teachers over a long distance or to create forms, power points, spreadsheets etc. which can be incorporated into lessons. More info about using Google Docs in education can be found by clicking here. Additionally below is a power point on how to use several functions of google docs.
Video Chats have been connecting people from all over the world and cross country since the being of its creation so why not use it in the classroom. Using programs like Skype students can get access to university professors and field experts on specific content topics. Teachers can have these professionals give lectures, answer students questions, and provide detailed information. Additionally students can also research given topics and interview experts for projects. Another way to use these services to connect with other classrooms around the world, where students can teach each other, or learn about how topics maybe covered differently. Countless articles have been published on blog about using Skype such as the one on teachers for tomorrow, a good article from this blog can be found here.
While Skype is often thought of as the go to video chat there are other programs such as google hangouts and meetings.io these sites are free and meetings.io doesn't even require an account.
Some ways to get in touch with professionals is through the network created by using twitter or another great resource for connecting classrooms is epals. In epals students get their own email account teachers can oversee and through these they can send emails to students in other countries.
In the field of education it is necessary for teachers to continue their education, learn about new innovative instructional strategies and find resources to implement in the classroom. But where does one get this going to conferences, seminars and taking counting education class? While all of these are great tools they are not accessible on a regular basis, there is however one aid that is and its free. This resource not only puts instructors in contact with other teachers and educational researchers but also gives them exposure to experts in their content areas, and the tool that does that is twitter. Twitter is often just thought of as a social network teenagers use to tell their friends where they are at or what they are doing, but when used in a professional way it can open a gate to instant information that can be useful for educators to use to improve their teaching, classrooms, and schools.
While twitter can put one in contact with professionals around the world it can also give access to the learning and content area communities. It does this through the #hashtag. When writing a tweet one can add the hashtag and your tweet is instantly sent to a chat on the subject you have hash-tagged and by searching you are able to view what others are saying about the same subject. A list of topics created by for education can be found here. Some of the most useful tags I have found are a general education chat #edchat and #ntchat for new teachers. I also like for social studies looking specifically at #sschat and #twittersorians to learn more about happenings in my content area. These forums can be more effectively viewed by installing applications like TweetDeck. This app is free and can be used by installing google chrome or for macs by going to the App Store and downloading TweetDeck (it is also free). Below is a few images of using TweetDeck.
Using search engines has become an integral part of education and daily life. Using a search engine like google seems simple, just type in what you what to learn about, click, and results appear. However the type of findings you get may not be at the caliber the user wants or needs. Googles search works by first finding the words typed into the search bar in the web address, not necessarily the content on the website. Additionally the more links a website has the higher on the search list it will appear. An example of this is Wikipedia, it uses search topics in the web address and is one of the most linked and viewed website on the internet. Unfortunately for secondary students Wikipedia is at a college reading level and the information it contains is not always accurate as it is updated by the general public. By simply teaching students to use google options and settings, they can find more quality information at the appropriate reading levels for them.
The slide show below is how to use google more effectively. One of the most useful features is being able to use google advance search to change the reading level of webpages found for students. The advanced search also equips students to search for specific file types, such as specifically just powerpoint or excel files. Additionally having google books also allows for students to have access to books published in other countries, giving them access to information they might not get out of their class textbook.
While google is the most popular search engine, it is not the only one. Below are images of five different search engines geared toward providing high quality content and visual representations. The first Wolfram Alpha can be used for computing answers and providing knowledge. The second Spezify is a visual search engine. Next is ipl2, is a resource that has been set up by librarians and is a engine specifically for education. After is Sweet Search is another great tool for instructors and students. The last one, InstaGrok is the most interactive. This was a site created by a teacher and is not only visual, but also has great tools for both students and educators. Instructors can set up a classroom, then students can create a digital journal, where students can store notes, images, and write their own thoughts on topics.
Though search engines are valuable there is one more resource that can be helpful in navigating the web. Diigo is a web tool that helps organize, share and save bookmarks. Additionally this tool can allow the user to highlight and add post-it notes to webpages which can be kept private or shared with a group. This can be used in the classroom to make the web interactive; it lets students or teachers post notes, highlight and share what they feel is important on articles, videos, and webpages. Below are some images and a video tutorial on how to use and set up Diigo.
Secondary education has always been about preparing students to be college or career ready. In this technologically driven age though it becomes harder to know what jobs and challenges students will face in the future. Due to this it has become increasingly more important for educators to teach students not only subject content but also skills, such as critical thinking, organization, and presentation, ect. These skills are often driven by societal needs and with technology becoming an ever more integral part of the world, it to has become an increasingly more important skill to teach. Students are growing up surrounded by computers, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic gadgets, and as such these tools become elements they can relate too. As an educator using technology in the classroom, will not only help develop students technological skills, but it also becomes a way to make learning more relatable and engaging. This is a blog dedicated to different tools that can be used in the classroom to promote student learning and success. Additionally the video link below shows how the world is changing at a rapid pace, the challenges students will face and how technology is apart of the cultural evolution.
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."