Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TNT: Tech for Novice Teachers

lgb06 @ Flickr
I wanted to gather an overview of tech resources for students, and thought it would be worth posting for everyone.  Nothing completely new, really, but I'd like this to be a good overview.  Please add other relevant resources I overlooked or don't know about in the comments.

New teachers: don't overload!  Subtle shifts.  Look for something that will help you do what you want to do, and slowly incorporate or try out new things.

File storage and sharing:  have something to share with many people or everyone?  There are many free internet services.
  • Dropbox - best for working with colleagues.  Simultaneously shares files and backs them up in the cloud.  Allows you to undo to previous saved versions for up to a month.  Invisibly syncs files on your computer with those in the cloud.
  • Box.net - similar to dropbox without the seamless syncing.  May be better for sharing with the public, though.
  • Scribd - document sharing that you can embed in a blog or other web 2.0 application.  Works with Microsoft Word and PDFs perfectly.
  • Google docs - clearly the best for simultaneous editing and sharing from anywhere.
  • Slideshare - upload powerpoint presentations to embed or share publicly or have available to students and yourself from anywhere.  Embeddable.
  • Prezi - cool graphic-style presentation which is like a dynamic concept map.  You can embed youtube videos, present on or offline, embed the prezi and easily share them.  The editor is suprisingly easy to learn.
  • Glogster - internet posters.  Multimedia possible.  Free to teachers and their students.  Easy enough for quick student projects.
  • Animoto - turn powerpoint files into movies.  A little limited at the free level.  Also easy enough for students.
russelldavies @ Flickr
Math specific:
  • Geogebra - my favorite, bar none.  Geometry, algebra and free.  That's just incredible.  Exports images for use in documents, exports sketches as a dynamic webpages, runs on any platform.  Becuase it's opensource, there's a large library of free resources developed by other teachers.  (Some of my sketches are on this blog.)
  • Wolfram|Alpha - the app/webpage that makes a computer algebra system available to anyone with the internet or a smartphone.  Solve equations, access databases, investigate almost anything quantitative. (Here's my W|A think aloud for a question, but here's a better introduction to Wolfram|Alpha.)
  • Core Plus math tools - free dynamic online applets shared freely from the authors of the Core Plus Mathematics Project curriculum, for algebra, geometry, discrete math and statistics.
  • NRICH - a sortable, searchable problem bank of rich problems for K-16 mathematics from the national maths organization of the United Kingdom.  Updated with new problems monthly.  Many problems accompanied by a dynamic visualization.
  • Virtual Manipulative Library -  good for computer demonstrations, smartboards, and students with internet access.  Some are clunkier than others, but many are quite smooth.
Other Tools
  • Jing - free screen capture software and screen video capture software that allows you to save to your computer or share via their linkable website.  The souped up version is Snag It, and the same company makes Camtasia which is a quite nice movie editing software.
  • Mindomo and Mindmeister - tools for online, sharable concept maps.
  • Social bookmarking - Diigo, StumbleUpon, Delicious
  • Of course, I'm a big fan of twitter and blogging, also. 
Rights and responsibilities

More reading:

Note: if you're a college teacher of mathematics, you can go to tech camp next summer.

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