Monday, February 14, 2011

Top 5 Education Tools

This is a list of tools that I can't live without as an educator.  These tools are especially helpful in our classroom for integrating technology into our curriculum.  --I have written about this blogging platform before here.  We use Kidblog every week.  We use it as an online journal as our students write about their thoughts, happenings, and feelings.  We have requirements that our students must follow such as writing at least 5 fifth-grade sentences and also commenting on 2 of their classmates' posts.  It just doesn't get any better than watching our students communicate with each other and having a window into each student's  mind every week.

You Tube  --I have written about You Tube here and here.  We use You Tube all the time to enhance our lessons.  Students naturally love to learn though videos.  Although You Tube is blocked to our students, I have found a way to download You Tube videos and insert them into Smart Notebook, which makes the videos directly available to students.   As you may remember, I have been creating online digital "textbooks" on our heath units on the human body.  You Tube videos have been a great addition to these lessons.  Similar to You Tube there is also School Tube and Teacher Tube.  Check them out!

Wikispaces   --I use Wikispaces as a place to host our bellwork every day of the week.  I also use it as a place to show off our student projects and class videos.  What I like about Wikispaces is that it is easy to use and can change from day to day.  I also like how easy it is to embed a video, digital story, podcast, picture, or just about any online-created-content.  You can check out our class wiki here.  You will see our activities for Monday - Friday that change from day to day and also a variety of student projects. 

Weebly   -- I've written before about Weebly here.  This is one of our favorite things.  We use Weebly as a place to store and share all of our websites with our students.  What I love about Weebly is that I have control over what students can see and have access to.  By just clicking "yes" or "no" when editing a page, I can decide if a page will show up on the Weebly site.  I can also save links to web sites under different pages from year to year.  For example, I have a page of links on Martin Luther King Jr., a page of links on Math fraction games, as well as a page of links on the U.S. states.  When we are ready to study these topics, all I have to do is make the page "live" again.  You're welcome to check out our Weebly site here.

Delicious   --This is a bookmarking site for saving, tagging and sharing links to websites.  I truly couldn't survive without my Delicious.  There has been talk about Yahoo selling or ending Delicious. If this happens, I will need to switch over to a different bookmarking site such as Diigo.  But, for now, I'm sticking with Delicious.  Every website I have ever wanted to save and share in on my Delicious site. I have a great network of educators that I share my Delicious sites with.  This means I can view and search through other people's saved links as well.  If I ever need to find a site on a certain topic, Delicious is a great way to search for one.  I easily spend 7 - 10 hours a week on Delicious.  

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