For many of us, changing anything in our daily routine can be difficult, and many find the Internet overwhelming, but setting goals and a timeline to use new Web tools can make it more manageable.
Create a plan to accomplish your goals with the entire year in mind so you don’t overload yourself by trying to learn several new technologies at once. The following low-cost technologies are examples of learning tools that could easily be applied to improve every classroom.
Get started reading a Blog that interests you. Blogs are now the go-to source of information for many people, and many reputable organizations disseminate information with them.
Teachers can help their students learn with this powerful communication tool that has the potential to create a learning experience outside the classroom in a more informal environment. They are easy to create, and most blogging software programs are free.
Podcasting is one of the most exciting and fantastic technologies to emerge in recent history. A podcast is an audio recording, stored as an MP3 file that anybody can download. The technology can be used in classrooms for homework assignments, presentations and other learning activities.
It provides a venue to ask friends or colleagues questions. It is also a great place to find news and people who are knowledgeable with a variety of topics. Twitter allows people to use their friend lists to propagate information faster, and try to draw more direct help to find a solution for a problem.
Ning is an online platform that allows users to create their own social Web sites and social networks. Ning allows communities to create individual Web pages, blogs, engage in forum discussions, create interest groups, share photos and videos, present RSS feeds, and more.
Ning has many educational and administrative benefits. You can create a Ning to create class environments for interaction and media sharing, and have a space for interaction and sharing with team or grade level partners. I have observed schools that have created online book and film discussion space and others that have engaged students in exploring real-world issues using digital tools and resources.
Photo storage sites allow you to store your photos and access them from any computer. You can organize the photos by groups and make albums to share. This tool is great for visual classroom projects.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Google provides a free way to write a document and share it with up to 250 individuals. It’s a great tool for collaboration projects, brainstorming and developing new ideas. It has a word processor, spreadsheet and a presentation function.
You can create and share your work online and then upload and save it to your desktop. It allows you to edit anytime, from anywhere and you decide who can access your documents. You will be able to work and share changes in real time, and the files are stored securely online.
Howie DiBlasi is an IT consultant who speaks regularly about 21st century schools and teaching techniques. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.