It's hard enough to stay current with the latest and greatest gadgets available to us, so how do educators stay current with everything on the Internet? The popular app changes so quickly, you hardly have time to learn how to use it and the students are on to the next thing. There is a plethora of cool tools for educators that are for free or a nominal cost but how do you choose? Some of my favorites are Voice Thread, Glogster, Wordle, and Xtranormal. Each tool adds a different layer to the typical classroom lesson, which allow either the teacher or student to get creative with how they share what they know.
So how do you stay current? Well I am not going to lie, it takes some work. Here are some of the things that I have done to keep on top of what is out there:
- Google Alerts: You can easily set up a Google alert for any topic and select how often you want to be alerted. This allows you to monitor the Internet for interesting new content. Some of the Google Alerts that I have set up are for "educational technology" "21st century skills" "common core state standards" and of course "Jenith Mishne" - you must have a google alert for yourself.
- RSS Readers - Google Reader makes it so easy now (no, this is not a plug for Google). Once you set this up you can keep up with your favorite blogs from the computer, iPad, Android, iPhone, etc. Whenever I have a few minutes I catch up on my reading and see what is going on.
- Twitter - To me, Twitter is like my information highway. I jump on Twitter and learn something every time. If you choose to only follow or be followed by like-minded people and other educators then the tweets are generally meaningful and for me informational. People, including myself, tweet about new apps, websites, blog posts, articles, that are related to education and technology. It is one of my favorite places to stay current. Follow me at @jenith.
- Conferences are another great way to stay current and network with others. There are many affordable conferences around, some of the more common ed tech ones are ISTE, FETC, CUE but you can see the whole list at http://www.theconferencecalendar.com/.
If you aren't already doing at least one of the above things, I highly recommend that you take the time to choose just one and try it out. You won't regret it and you might learn something new that you can share with your students or your kids.
Photo courtesy of Felipe Ibáñez Guzmán (c)
Jenith works full time for Newport-Mesa USD as the Director of Education Technology, working closely with K-12 administrators, teachers, students and parents and supporting them with technology integration. She also teaches in the Masters of Learning technologies (MALT) Program at Pepperdine University. Recently, Jenith completed her Ed.D in Educational Technology also at Pepperdine University. She sits on the board of the Down Syndrome Foundation (DSF) and Newport Mesa Administrator's Association (NMAA). She is a member of the following organizations: ISTE, CUE, ACM, AERA. In her spare time, she works with her sister to run their non-profit foundation, Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County and hangs out with her three Labrador Retrievers.