Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Blog Challenge: Best of Teacher Technology Information

Two of the biggest challenges facing teachers wanting to use more technology in the classroom is the availability of devices, whether that's iPads, laptops, or cameras, and getting cut-to-the-point professional development. While there are certainly ways to gain access to more devices independently, such as creating a Donor's Choose project, that issue is often more of an administrative and school-site issue. However, I think teachers can gain access to high quality technology-centered development if they are willing to both demand higher quality professional development within their own schools while taking ownership of their development. One of the easiest ways to grab on to new professional development opportunities is to explore the internet (of course!) Here's a few ideas to get you started...

Best General Sites to Squeeze Professional Development Out Of (Least Time Commitment)
Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook- I consider these "passive" professional development opportunities. You sign up, follow a few key people, but then it is up to you how much time you want to spend. Don't know where to start? Here's a brief list. 

1. Pinterest: Search for the specific device or lesson you are interested in integrating technology. Got 1 iPad for your class? Search "1 iPad classroom." You can also follow boards you find through your searches. Of course, you could also start with my board for teacher technology. 

2. Twitter: I suggest starting by following your favorite authors, professional or not. I follow Kelly Gallagher Neil Gaiman  and Stephen King. Each of those twitter accounts are thought provoking, funny, and inspiring. Teachers will also really enjoy following different hashtags for professional development, such as #Engchat for English teachers. (Also, definitely follow #teacherproblems for a bit of humor.) 

3. Facebook: Have teacher friends at different districts? Teach in a large district? You can take ownership of your development while gaining crowd-sourcing power by creating content groups on Facebook. You should also check out professional organizations content groups on Facebook. 

Individual/Group Blogs (Medium Time Commitment)
  1. www.coolcatteacher.com  Ran by a real teacher, Cool Cat Teacher focuses on many technology hints and tips. I really recommend the "Tips for Beginners" (top right hand side of the page) as a good starting point. 
  2. http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/ Also, a general website chalked full of teacher technology tips. 
  3. www.teacherpop.org Teacherpop is a website ran by Teach for America as a blog and resource page for new teachers. It often has technology-centered resources. 
  4. This best of technology list. I bookmarked this list and occasionally click on a different blog. Don't be afraid to run a google search for your content and technology, or your grade-level and technology. You never know what blog you might kick up! 
Upcoming posts
  • Organizing files and professional development records 
  • Grading faster and more effectively 
  • Prioritizing technology skills for students 
Feel free to comment your favorite technology professional development resources or make suggestions! 

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