Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Teachers work hard. Because of this commitment, I have noticed that that some teachers are reluctant to expand their use of technology because “they don’t have the time.” A great way to get these tech-hesitant people on board is to show them tools that will SAVE time by using existing tools instead of creating their own. Here’s four:

Slideshare: A teacher decides to create a Powerpoint to introduce mitosis. So she goes through her notes, types up her Powerpoint, finds images, makes great transitions and, voila her presentation is done. BUT she could have saved herself hours and, perhaps gotten even more information had she gone to Slideshare, opened an account and searched for existing Powerpoints in their huge collection of presentations. Suggestion: use the advanced search feature to look for only “downloadable” files; that way you can modify the presentation to suit your needs. You will need to weed through some “student-generated” presentations but you will find some good presentations in there. Feel free to post some of your best.

Screencast-o-matic: You know those lessons: the ones where you take kids through the steps of how to format a paper or harvest images off the web legally. Instead of repeating the steps over and over, create a screencast so kids can watch ant listen at their own pace. After registering, all you need is a microphone and you can create a professional screencast that can be linked to a web page and viewed…whenever.

Rubric Gallery in RCampus: Generating rubrics is a painstaking, yet necessary process for teachers today. Chances are, that rubric for the upcoming project has already been made. Rubrics in RCampus are organized by subject and grade level. Several great features include: space to keep all your rubrics in their data base, the ability to modify existing rubrics, HTML source codes to embed a rubric into a webpage, AND the ability to actually enter the grades for the rubric on line.

Classroom 2.0: Created by Steve Hargadon. Think of it as “Myspace” for teachers. Create your own main page so others can “follow” you…post your webpage, blog url, delicious tags, and twitter name. (I’m jorech!) Classroom 2.0 allows you to join existing groups of like-minded educators on a variety of topics, or you can even create your own. I am involved in Digital Storytelling, Photostory 3, Digiskills, Open Source and I have started the new “Research 2.0” group. Discussion forums, blogs, and a site wiki are also included in this great networking tool. Also, participate in free webinars conducted by colleagues. This is a tremendous resource that is building as we speak. Hey, add me as a colleague!

Ok so do thse directly result in student learning? Maybe not. But if these tools can increase productivity for teachers, and make their lives easier, then the transfer to students is inevitable. Email me if you know of any other similar tools!


Kris Tuttle said...

Cool stuff and a great idea. My wife is on the board of the International Lycee just outside Paris and we are involved in better tools in education. We'll be sure to read this and promote your work where we can.

Lore said...

Thanks for sharing those great tools! I've used Screen Steps to make step-by-step explanations of how to do something, but will now try Screencast-O-Matic for audio/video.