Where to begin? – My top 5

I posted a week or so ago about some of our teachers being apprehensive about the use of ICT and Web 2.0 tools.( new beginnings post)  Now there are lots of ways to go about getting them to have a go, but the overwhelming response I get from some of the teachers I work with is ” I don’t know where to start or what to use!”  So below is my top 5 sites/tools to get teachers using some of this great stuff. ( Disclaimer: my top 5 may not be the same as what others think are their top 5!)

My basis for choosing this top 5 list is that they are an extension in some ways of skills some teachers may have.  Also, these are things teachers can use in their personal life that they can then transform into their teaching bag of tricks. The bonus is they are all free as well.

Google accounts:
Having a Google account opens up a whole range of online applications, most importantly Google Docs, Calendar and Maps.  Google docs allows for the creation of online documents/spreadsheets/presentations that can be shared and accessed by anyone you want them to via the web. Same for an online calendar as well as being able to create your own maps of holidays, places of interest etc.

Lots of people use bookmarks on their computer, the only problem being you have to be on that particular machine to use them.  Delicious is an online bookmarking site where you add your own bookmarks that you can access from any computer connected to the web.  You can also share them with your friends via your account as well. I’m ‘mackas’ on delicious you want to acces my bookmarks.

An online collection of photos that people have available to share.  Saves emailing them to family and friends, you just send them a link from your account.  You upload your photos and allow whoever you want to see them.  Also, a great source of copyright free images for students/teachers to use as you can search Flickr for images that are copyright free.

A blog:
Using blogging sites like globalteacher, create a blog to share what is happening in your class with your school and the global community.  Using the right privacy settings and educating your students on the safety of the web, a blog allows for the creation of a ‘flat classroom’ where you can share the sights and sounds of the learning that is happening in your classroom.  A very powerful tool.

Free phone calls! Have I got your attention?  Use your machine and talk to family, friends or experts for your students by using the software and your internet connection to make a voice or video call for nothing. You do need skype at both ends, but with the software free no reason not to have it and use it.  Imagine being able to have a CSIRO scientist talking directly to your students for them to ask questions.

I will add more and more tools and sites over time, but get in and have a play with these ones and see what you can do.  Hope they help you get started with your 21st century teaching and learning.