from Technology & Learning
For Web 2.0 newbies, here is a visual tour of key tools for administrators.
Your faculty and students don't have to have all the multimedia fun. As an administrator, you have lots of opportunities to play with the new Web 2.0 toys too—hey can help you with everything from getting organized to engaging your staff and community.
Twenty-first century learning gets a leg up when students become creators of content, and not just consumers. Encourage your teaching staff to fire up student creativity by posting their homemade video creations online at YouTube. Teachers can also use the short videos as engaging lesson-starters.
IPods have moved way beyond mere music tools. Stay up to date on relevant news and issues with iPod-delivered video and audio podcasts or attach a recorder and take meeting or professional-training notes for later review.
Smartphones & PDAs
Rather than disrupt your teachers' class time, send important messages or updates (say a meeting cancellation) via text message. You can also use that WiFi connection to check your home page and other key sites while on the road.
(Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar)
Google Calendar can be a timesaving way to exchange information with district staff, parents, and the community at large. This interactive calendar allows instant input and editing by all participants. You can also use Google Docs in meetings to take minutes and let staff contribute on the fly.
Social networking sites don't have to be just a place where students avoid schoolwork—create a home page for your district featuring blog entries about upcoming school events and encourage feedback from students and parents. Educators can even post detailed instructions on upcoming student assignments (and parents can stay in the homework loop).
Visual literacy is a key 21st-century skill. Integrate Flickr photos into your PTSA presentations, explaining to parents what it's all about. Encourage your faculty to incorporate this tool, which lets students legally download images to accompany class projects or homework. Teachers can use the images as story starters or to kick off a unit of study.
If your district can't afford to invest in video-editing software, Jumpcut offers a low-cost alternative to getting students and staff up and running on innovative projects that incorporate digital video. Students actually make online videos directly in Jumpcut's browser—editing, mixing, and adding music on-site. They can then post them, YouTube-style, for parents to view.
If you're worried that your MySpace page or Google Doc isn't getting enough traffic from school stakeholders, cut out the middleman and send blog entries about calendar updates, important date changes, and more straight to teachers, parents, and students through Really Simple Syndication.
Created as a multimedia teaching aid, uthTV offers educators original content on subjects such as history, language arts, and social studies and can spice up your staff's lesson plans. Students can also upload their own work.