Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#BackToSchool Must-Haves For Innovative Educators

As the school year begins there are numerous resources to ease and enrich the lives of innovative educators and their students that will facilitate effective teaching and learning.

Here are my top picks for 2014/15.

1) Borrowing Digital Books and Resources from Your Library
Back when I was a literacy coach one of my biggest time suckers was finding books for students. I begged, borrowed, and stopped just short of stealing (instead I helped teachers win DonorsChoose grants). Those days are gone. Know how your students can borrow digital books and resources right from their local library. (Here’s how you do it at the NY Public Library.) Students (and schools!) never have to worry about purchasing just-right-books again.

2) Online Community
Whether you use Facebook, Edmodo, Schoology, or Google Communities, innovative educators should select an online community for their students to connect. When you do, make sure you know how to lead an effective online community.

3) Padlet
If you haven't used Padlet, you are in for a treat! Padlet let's students contribute without an email in the form of text, images, and links. What's amazing is that students don't need email accounts to contribute. It's a great tool for students to share what they know, do introductions, exit slips and more. Here’s how one teacher used it to demonstrate teacher effectiveness.  

4) Teacher Effectiveness Portfolio
Speaking of teacher effectiveness, another must-have for innovative educators is a strategy to document and celebrate their awesomeness with digital portfolios. It’s time to stop locking your amazing work in the classroom and find a tool to show what you know. Some ideas are here.

5) Chromebooks
I've said it before (here and here) and I'll say it again. Chromebooks are my top pick for an education device. You can read why here and find out how to win an Intel-powered Chromebook by tweeting your favorite feature, tagging @IntelEdu and using the hashtag #IntelChromebooks. Details here

6) Graphite
Got a new set of devices and wondering what the best resource is for your next lesson? Wonder no more. Graphite has an army of educators ready to share their reactions and reviews of products which you can filter by grade, subject, device, and standard. Think of it as the Yelp of ed tech.

These are my must-haves as we launch the 2014/15 school year. Which ones do you use? Which excite you? Anything you had not used previously that you're excited to try? Share!

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