Edudemic often features posts providing a list of top resources for a particular category. Recently, the site gettingsmart.com posted the names of the LAUNCHedu finalists chosen by the SXSWedu® Conference, offering even more resources for the Edudemic staff to consider! On March 7, 2012, they will choose winners after a full day of presentations by the finalists.
There are so many sites and programs on the Internet already, but this competition just goes to show that the need for educational resources is still great. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. The cliche works because it is true. While we wait to find out which of the lucky finalists will win the SXSWedu® Conference competition, why not try to figure out which resources we would include in a top 20 list?
I thought and pondered, considered and reconsidered, and researched and revised a list in my head this week. I visited sites, created an account, wandered around, and thought to myself, “If I had months to do this, I could, but I have a deadline.” So, I’m going to give you MY top 20 list and ask you to agree or respectfully disagree and offer your own.
First, however, I created a wordle using some of the lists the editors have created recently. I like wordles; they seem to put things in perspective. Here it is:
I divided my resources into categories, based on my interests as a teacher. These are not all Internet-based resources, but all of them take advantage of the information available via that medium.
- iPad – The iPad provides access to e-texts and incredible educational apps. Attach a Bluetooth keyboard, and students can easily create documents with this device.
- Kindle – In a recent conversation with the Principal of my son’s school, I learned that she wants all of her students to receive a Kindle so they will have access to their texts without having to break their back carrying them all home.
- Nook – The Nook is a good alternative to the Kindle. Some people prefer it to the Kindle, but, personally, I think they might be about even at this point.
- Android Tablets – I like the Android tablets, but I found them to be a bit slow.
Resources for Lesson Planning
- TeacherVision offers many resources for teachers: lesson plans, printables, an event calendar, graphic organizers, tips for classroom management, and more. I love this site and visit it often. *Note: This site requires you to pay for membership after a free trial.
- EdHelper is another site that offers printables and ideas for teachers, but it also allows teachers to create their own printables – even printable books. For elementary or middle school teachers who like to give morning work or bell ringers, this site is great. *Note: This site requires you to pay for membership.
- Readwritethink offers classroom, professional development, and parent resources by grade level and learning objective.
- PBS Teachers offers teachers numerous videos to use in the classroom, professional development resources, lesson plans, and interactive activities. The topics are timely and help students find relevance by connecting concepts to their lives.
- Education World is a great alternative to sites that require members to pay a fee. It offers many of the same things as the members-only sites and has a section for administrators as well.
- Audible.com – Although this site is fee-based, I have been a member for many years and recommend it highly for high-quality recordings of texts many teachers use in the classroom. For free audio files, check out http://librivox.org/.
- Animoto.com – My cooperating teacher introduced me to this site. She asked her students to do a project using this site to create a video capturing the character of Holden Caulfield. The results were pretty amazing. Students can create 30 second videos for free.
- Wordle.net – I love this site! I used it first when I wanted to start a poetry for social justice unit, to activate students’ background knowledge on poetry and social justice. I asked the students, “What comes to your mind when you hear…?” Then, I typed the keywords into the text box, clicked the Create button, and we watched a beautiful word cloud appear. The kids enjoyed it. This site is also free.
- Michael Cummings Study Guides – Need a study guide for a great work of literature? Michael’s site probably has it. If not, try enotes.com or shmoop.com. They all have free resources for students; teachers have to pay for things like lesson plans on enotes and shmoop.
- Project Gutenberg – This site offers access to works in the public domain in a variety of formats, including Kindle and ePUB. Project Gutenberg volunteers diligently proofread each work they digitize. They also contribute recordings to librivox.org.
Learning Management Systems
- Schoology is a site I reviewed recently after the Palo Alto SD decided change to its platform. For more information on Schoology, click here.
- LearnBoost.com is another amazing LMS and its free features are quite attractive. What I liked best was the ability to create lesson plans within the site AND reference Common Core standards in the lesson plan. This site also offers a grade book, a teacher-student-parent communication platform, and the ability to integrate with Google Apps.
- Edmodo is similar to Schoology, but Schoology allows you to create courses and Edmodo only allows you to create groups. Still, it’s free, robust, harnesses the power of social media, and makes classroom management a lot easier.
- Google Docs – Enough said, I think.
- Evernote - I just started using this and think it’s a great way to store things to read later.
- Diigo - I like the social aspect of diigo, a resource for storing bookmarks and then sharing them with those in your network.
What about you? What resources do you love? Since I am an English teacher, many of my resources are skewed toward that subject, so I would love to hear from other subject-area teachers.