Yesterday in education class we were talking about social media in the classroom and the importance of technology in regards to teaching. I just wanted to share with everyboby some of the tools that I have used that generally make my life easier and help me manage my on-line identity.
The first thing we talked about in class last night was whether or not social media had a place in the classroom or in a teachers life at all. There were some very strong opinions, and with the exception of those who are in ECMP 355, the majority ruled that social media should not be part of the classroom. I completely disagree. I believe that the people who were saying this were uneducated in the importance of social networking. I think that my twitter has completely evolved my teaching philosophy and has expanded my view on education in the classroom. I have the ability to connect with educators from all over the world and they have been able to read this blog and comment on things. Other teachers that I have never met have actually taught me the most about what it means to be a teacher; to stretch yourself and to teach the best way, not the way you were taught. If you read my post about my view on grades I had a very strong stance about taking marks off for late assignments. I was shocked when many respectable educators commented that they disagreed and my view completely changed.
The second tool that has changed everything for me is edusymbaloo. This is what opens when I open the internet.
I use each of those tabs on a regular basis. They are split into categories. The far left hand side is all of my education news, resources and science resources. In the middle I have sites that I use sometimes and the far right is all tiles that I open as soon as I turn on my computer. Every time I click on a tile it opens a new tab so to go open another tile this is always the first tab at the top of my screen. Things are quick and easily accessed. This is the education version of symbaloo and as you can see it has its own tabs across the top as well. When I signed up to use this tool they asked questions about what I do within the field of education and I have those related tabs. This will work weather you are in elementary or grade 12 history. This is what it looks like when I hit the chemistry tab:
As you can see, I have many resources right at my finger tips. It is a beautiful thing so try it out!
The third tool that I have learned to love is Google Docs. This is what mine currently looks like
This is really neat because I can access my word documents from any computer at any time. A google doc can be a private document or you can allow certain people, or anyone on the web to view it according to the settings you choose. The best part of this tool is that I can allow select people, or all people on the web to edit my document. This is a document that my friend made available to everyone on the web. He tweeted it out and many educators have added, organized and reedited the document. It has reached 10 pages of valuable information!
The three small squares on the top right corner show that at the moment when I copied this screen there was three other people viewing and editing this document. This is the best of collaboration. My pre-service teaching partner and I will create a collaborative document and we will sit side by side working on the same lesson plan. We get it done in half the time because we are typing simultaneously. I will work on the plan itself and she will research the curriculum and fill in the logistics of the plan. I can edit as she types and vice versa. In a classroom, students could share a document to take class notes, they all can add and edit the notes and end up with an impressive document.
If you haven’t tried these tools, I suggest you do because they have been very powerful in my education.