Digital devices — laptops, iPads and other tablets, iPodTouches–are appearing in schools all over the world. Sometimes they just arrive and you are not provided the time nor the training to learn how to integrate them effectively into your teaching. A savvy team will collaborate to devise its own professional development in technology integration. Fortunately there are an endless number of resources on the web you can easily access. Some of these resources are pretty technical and may seem intimidating to folks who are just beginning the process of integrating digital learning. However, technology integration blogs and websites are being written that neophytes will find useful! You don’t have to be a techno-expert to integrate digital learning–you just have to be willing to try something new. Remember, your team is surrounded by experts! If you can’t get something to work, your students will figure it out and save the day.
Here are five terrific sites related to digital learning. Check them often–there is something new on them every day. Better yet–sign up for a RSS feed or email alert. What’s an RSS feed you ask? In the least technical language, it allows you to receive updates whenever anything new is posted to the site. Don’t know how to set one up? Ask a student or go to http://www.ehow.com/how_5861345_set-up-rss-feed.html.
- Wes Fryer’s blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity: http://www.speedofcreativity.org/ Wes is an award-winning blogger, and his site is great fun to explore. One recent posting describes Story Patch an app for the iPad which allows a writer to use both text and graphics to create stories. The team might spend 20 minutes looking through his blog and find an app or a website or a training that you all want to try. Working together with teammates for support makes trying something new a lot less daunting.
- Larry Ferlazzo is a ELL teacher from Sacramento, California, and his blog Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/) has multiple postings each day. He’s a teacher so he is on the lookout for sites that have a practical application in the classroom. Recent topics include (1) crafting interactive lessons using YouTube,(2) digital maps resources, and (3) resources on Egypt.
- Maine121 is the website of Maine’s technology initiative. Going into its ninth year, MLTI is the longest running 1:1 technology integration project in the world. Maine Learning Technology Initiative Professional Development (http://maine121.org/) provides free access to webcasts (archived and live), blogs, and resources on digital learning. Recent topics include RTI Tier 1 resources, technical writing, and copyright considerations.
- Maine Arts blog (not really just for Fine Arts teachers): http://meartsed.wordpress.com/. Ideas and happenings related to the Arts are cataloged here. Many of the ideas described can be adapted in other subject areas.
- iTunesU (http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/) is a free resource that works on any platform–PC or Apple. There are podcasts and videos that can be used in your classes or for your own edification. It is an unbelievable resource. If you don’t have iTunes on your computer, download it–now—-it’s free.
Don’t wait for your school system to provide training. Be a proactive and tech savvy team and create your own professional development related to digital learning. Don’t know where to begin? Ask your students how they would like to learn and what resources they would recommend–they will have great advice! Take it.