Participate 2- Collecting Reputable Digital Resources

Hey, so I’ve been collecting a treasure trove of online resources for both teachers and students to use in the classroom and on the go. You can find it on my teaching portfolio.

I still have to update some sections, so browse with caution!

What were the three most useful tools or resources resulting from the web walkabout? How can students be taught to safely collect tools and resources that can help them maximize their learning? What policies or procedures might need to be in place to make this possible?

I always make an effort to teach students the proper domains to use. (Websites that end in “.gov” or “.edu” tend to be better sources for academic research.) In order to help students maximize their learning, it’s best if students have some ownership over the technology. Whether that means students have to bring their own or be provided with one-to-one devices, the students have to have some idea that the technology is theirs. Otherwise, they’ll abuse it by mistreating the hardware and downloading inappropriate software. (That last bit will happen no matter what. Efficient firewalls can block some, but not all.)

Another great idea is to sign the technology out to the teacher. Each class can have a full set of iPads and/or laptops which stay in the room at all times. Kids can save their work to a school drive that they can access from home if they have to. This way nothing gets lost.

We’ve been using one-to-one devices at my middle school, and most of our issues have been hardware issues. Namely, kids losing their power cords, breaking their laptops, or otherwise abusing the technology. Because we’re Title I, many of the parents cannot/will not pay for replacement or repair. This puts us in a pickle when we want to use the technology. My biggest struggle as a special ed teacher has been trying to get kids to look beyond the front page of Google, Wikipedia, and Google Images for their research assignments.

As for the most useful resources, I couldn’t say. It depends what you’re trying to do.

For everyday use, I’d say go with ClassDojo for classroom management, Blendspace for keeping all your digital resources in one spot (without having to switch windows), and Information is Beautiful for helping students separate fact from fiction and truth from distortion. Plus it makes everything pretty with colors. AND they cite their sources!

One word of warning: I’ve noticed Blendspace sometimes has trouble with PowerPoint. Not sure why.

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