5 key resources for the tech-savvy teacher

Technology is a fickle beastie for a teacher.  How many times have you laboured over a lesson using the latest fancy application  and then reflected on quite how much precious time has been spent? In this article, I’m going to share five resources that are low maintenance and offer a genuine return on investment for your valuable time. So without further ado,  let’s kick off…

1) Look up the wonderful Mike Gershon on www.tes.co.uk resources and you will find an amazing range of PowerPoint activities that can easily be incorporated into your lessons. Hundreds upon hundreds of starters,  plenaries and the like that will go some way to augment your teaching toolkit. I recommend that you download them whilst they are freely available.  He has also published a range of books expanding upon these resources. I haven’t read any of his books, but judging by his sterling and generous work online, I’d be more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

2) Once you’ve filled your digital grab bag with Mr Gershon’s goodies, head over to www.wordle.net. There you will find a glorious tool that enables you to create fancy word collages.  I guarantee that you’ll recognise them,  since most Inset PowerPoints begin with a wordle. I use them to present poetry out of context so that students can comment on word choices and mood without having to first wade through the text.

3) Socrative is a simple quiz generator that students can access online.  It is easy to use and has a range of neat features. I will be posting my review of Socrative here shortly.

4) Google Keep is an excellent Android application that is both simple and useful. From your phone you can share any content into it in the form of brightly coloured post-it notes. I can highlight Kindle book content and keep it there.  It can even hold video or photos. From Google Keep you can then, for example, share content with your students or post it to your blog. Unfortunately, one bugbear is that Keep works on phones, but cannot be downloaded to some tablets. You can, however, use Google Keep via any browser.

5) Finally we come to Blogger and, of course, WordPress. In a coming post I will be giving some tips on how to get the most out of blogging in the Language Arts classroom. Blogging is a great way to share ideas between students and create an audience for students’ work. I’ve used blogs to generate student interpretations of poems so that my students can learn from each other in the run up to external exams. With careful scaffolding,  students can generate content that gives them confidence,  authority and a bank of resources that they can use for revision and you can use with next year’s class.

So there you have it.  The five tools that I return to again and again. If you have any tools that you would add to this list,  please let me know.  I’m always on the lookout for useful techie tools.

(This post is a revision and update of a post from my previous blog)

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