Where do you go for your educational tools?

Web Tools
Web Tools - image thanks to Otis Archives on Flickr

There is such a wealth of educational resources out there; an overwhelmingly large amount. I was gathering my thoughts on how I gather information about exciting resources, Web 2.0 tools and suchlike. Then I began to consider how to get the teachers in my school using them. From September, I will be the e-Learning Co-ordinator at my school and alongside promoting usage of the VLE I’d like to push other technologies that teachers can use to professionally develop and to improve their students’ learning. My current thoughts about how to get my teachers involved would be through some INSET time and some scheduled tutorials through the year (the profile of which would be raised with their inclusion in our in-house professional development programme). I’ve not put too much thinking time into it yet, though.

Personally, these are the places where I find out information about educational tools and resources:

1. Twitter – follow enough fantastic educators and from time to time you’ll bump into some great resources. The word ‘bump’ here is important – I don’t scour around Twitter looking for ideas and resources, they just come to me because of the people I follow. This is such a great way to accidentally professionally develop! It is particularly helpful as many of those promoting these tools are also blogging about their use of these tools, or giving further ideas as to how they can be used. The most recent was from @jamesmichie twittering and then blogging about his use of LinoIt; a more powerful tool of similar ilk to Wallwisher.

2. @josepicardo‘s Box of Tricks website has a page which literally lists any free educational web resources that José finds out about. They come with a short description and the list is, as one might hope, fairly comprehensive.

3. The Interesting Ways Series by the inspiring @tombarrett has a series of collaborative Google Docs presentations with various contributors’ ideas about how to use some of the more prominent and well-used educational resources and web tools. The list is continually growing and astounds me how much it has come on these days – it is absolutely worth your time.

Naturally, teachers are busy people and can often find themselves unable to give up time to search for new resource specific to their needs. I often fall into this category at the moment and, as such, find Twitter to be the best source for me – if something pops up, I’ll read about it and I’ll consider how to integrate it into my teaching. However, if you do have some time it is absolutely worth choosing some resources from the Interesting Ways Series and having a play around with them in your teaching. Likewise, if you are looking for something specific you should have a search through the Box of Tricks Resources site and find something that can help you make your teaching that bit more exciting.

It may seem like my list is small, but it covers so much; do I really need to look any further? Perhaps getting more involved in reading other people’s blogs (not just through following Twitter links) could be of benefit? Where do you go for your educational tools?

2 Replies to “Where do you go for your educational tools?”

  1. For the beginner, I think 1 comprehensive list of tools is probably better than giving a range. Box of tricks is certainly impressive. I usually direct beginners to ‘Cool tools for schools’ It has the tools split into categories for easy selection http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/
    I agree that getting them on twitter is best. I attempt this be regularly sending out tools and info I find and stating that I found it through a twitter contact.

  2. mrthomson says:

    Thanks for the comment toze12 – a website containing these resources but categorised seems very sensible; looks good!

    I agree with the idea of giving beginners one comprehensive list (and, of course, getting them involved with Twitter) – it can become a bit overwhelming otherwise.

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