Sometimes as teachers we are so busy looking for the perfect resource
for our students, that we forget to take care of ourselves. By nature,
teachers are caretakers and we do often take care of others needs
before our own. This week, I was at a face to face meeting with a
regional group of tech integrators where we spent some time sharing
some tech tools that help us be more successful at our job. I couldn't
wait to go home and try some of them and have picked the top 5 I
learned about today to share as this week's Friday Five (plus one more
cool tool that is coming out of beta this week). And best of all,
these tools will not only help you as a teacher, they are great tools
for students, too.
If you have not discovered Google Tasks, you should visit the Gmail
Lab (under Settings) to turn of TASKS. When you read an email that
includes a new item for your to do list, or important information
needed to complete that tasks, just click on the Label button to
assign this email to a task. Your tasks list will now contain items
that are linked to any email related to that tasks. And the most
satisfying part is being able to check off the tasks as you complete
them. Learn more about how to use the Tasks feature in Gmail or on
your mobile device in Google's Help Section.
Whether you use a ToDo list such as Gmail's Tasks or other program to
stay organized, there is something about a Sticky Note that helps us
with priorities. This little gem is the pefect tool to keep certain
items on your radar anytime.
A very helpful program that can be used to make screen captures as
still pictures or short 5 minute videos. A picture is worth a thousand
words and taking a picture of what is on your computer screen and
being able to add lines, arrows, highlights, and additional text
really helps increase understanding or provides assessment
documentation in digital format. I have know some students who
encourage students to take a screenshot of their work on a popular
math game as evidence of learning. I use this tool all the time to
create tutorials for students and colleagues. I've even seen some
educators document a tech error using Jing and attach it to a help
ticket. For $14.95 a year you can go pro which allows the movies to be
saved in mp4 format and also saves the videos in smaller file format.
This comes in handy when using Jing to gather assessment artifacts.
If you want a similar tool that does not require you to install a
program, try Screencast O matic.
This tool allows you to create a video of your screen (screencast)
without requiring you to install anything. The product is in beta
Zoom It is a very small utility that you can install on your computer
or keep on a flash drive that will allow you to ZOOM in to any part of
your screen at the stroke of a key. Those with Apple computers have
had this ability for a while; PC users can now enjoy this capability
with Zoom It. We have also been providing it to visually impaired
students to facilitate their use of computers. There are tools that
provide more features for work stations used by visually impaired
students, but this handy program on a thumb drive gives them the
flexibility of zooming in when using other computers.
And for an even more spectacular zooming experience, you need to try
Prezi. And starting April 5, you'll get a chance since Prezi goes out
of private beta and will be available for you to try the free version
of sign up for a Pro account. It allows you to fly around a map of an
image, scrreen shot, and even videos. You can click on an image to
zoom in on it or use the mouse to fly around to show different
perspective (from big picture to minute details).
Enjoy these tools. Model how to use them effectively for teaching and
learning for your peers and students.