I share lots of websites, apps, software, and other tools at our faculty meetings each week. Some have asked me where these resources come from. I believe great teaching is taking the ideas of many and customizing them for your students and teaching style. So here are a few of the places I find out about resources (coincidentally, this is what I showed teachers at our most recent meetings!).
- TWITTER: You can follow like-minded educators who share fantastic ideas and resources on Twitter. It’s free, it’s easy, and every Tweet has to be under 140 characters. See my previous post on Twitter for more info, or take a look at my recent Tweets.
- CONFERENCES: There is no WAY I would be the same kind of teacher I am now if I didn’t go to at least one really good ed tech conference each year. What many teachers don’t understand is that these conferences are great for ALL educators: not just technology teachers! I guarantee that no matter what you teach, you WILL come away from these with great ideas. Here are some good ones in our area coming soon:
- NICE Mini-Conference: Saturday morning 1/26. $5. 40 breakout sessions. iPad playground. What more could you ask for? A great conference for those who can’t commit a whole school day. You can pay at the door; no registration required.
- ICE Annual Conference: Tues 2/26 – Fri 3/1. I go to this conference each year, and have given presentations at the last two. It’s four days of fantastic teachers and ed tech rockstars presenting what they know. Sign up here; more info here. I’m going this year; are you?
- Virtual Conferences/Communities:
- BLOGS: Reading other people’s blogs is another great way to find resources. I use Google Reader to organize and read the blogs I follow. Though I’ll admit that I don’t visit Google Reader too often anymore. Instead, most of the blog posts I read are from links on Twitter (see above)!
- SmartBrief on Ed Tech: I get one email each school day from these folks. It has links to articles that have recently come out about things related to ed tech – anything from new hardware reviews to blog posts about how teachers are using iPads in their classes. The best part is each article link comes with a brief summary, so I know if I really want to read the whole article or not. Sign up here. It’s free.
- Big Deal Book of Technology: Sends out two email newsletters each month for free. Each one contains about 20 links to resources that are free or inexpensive, including places to apply for grants and contests. Each link is accompanied by a short blurb that helps me to know if it’s useful or not. I have found many, many great resources through this newsletter. Sign up here; see past issues here.
- Next Vista for Learning: I have seen Rushton Hurley speak at the ICE conference (see above!), and signed up for his newsletter there. You can sign up too! Links to cool resources, many having to do with video in the classroom (but not all). PS: Check out Next Vista for neat videos made by kids and teachers too.
- GETIdeas.org also sends out a newsletter with five (yep, just 5 – short and sweet!) resources each week. Sign up here.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Some of the best advice I ever got was that the best ideas will come back around. You won’t miss out on great ideas if you can’t constantly look at your Twitter page, RSS feed, or email newsletters. If you do just one of the things listed above, you will get some great ideas. But if you aren’t doing anything like this, you ARE missing out on some good ideas!
Oh wait… you just read a blog post, so you are doing one of these things. Nice work!