Many of the sessions at this past week’s annual National Council for Teachers of English conference dealt with the integration of technology into the classroom. It was wonderful to hear how educators grappled with the question of when and how to use technology to promote critical engagement with their content. English teachers around the nation are finding creative ways to use technology to not only educate their students on new applications, but more importantly, to teach students problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
I learned about a number of new resources at a wonderful presentation on summer reading. Check out these great free resources: For Wiki pages: pbwiki.com is a free and easy site to use. It utilizes the basic format of Wikipedia and is very easy to navigate. www.wikispaces.com is more robust than pbwiki. Also free, you have more control over design elements using Wikispaces.For social bookmarking pages: del.cio.us is a free social bookmarking page. What the heck is a social bookmark? The idea is that instead of saving all your bookmarked websites to one local computer, you save them to the del.cio.us web page. Doing so allows you (or any one that you give your del.cio.us web address to) access to your bookmarks from any computer that has web access. This is great tool as it allows educators to create a list of bookmarks for a particular assignment and have our students access the linked web pages in one location. www.diigo.com takes the idea of social bookmarking one step further. This free site not only lets you save all your bookmarks to the web, it also allow you to leave "sticky notes" (a pop up page on the website you've bookmarked where you leave notes to yourself) that you or your students can access. It allows you to leave directions or notes for your students on the web pages that you want them to access.For instant messaging: www.meebo.com is an online interface that allows users to connect all IM applications. So whether a user is on Yahoo! IM or AIM, Meebo connects all instant message applications. I even learned about a school that was using IM for a summer reading assignment!For video assignments: The Flip digital video camera is new on the market. It is a video camera that can film up to 60 minutes of footage. But instead of fumbling with a million cords and software disks to upload movies to your computer, the Flip camera is equipped with a USB plug and the software already loaded to the camera. You can upload your video to any computer without having to install any extra applications, making video projects super easy.
For even more information, check out the presenters’ Wikipages at summerreadinncte.pbwiki.org/Technology
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