The first top 10 list I'm doing is "My Top 10 Free Web Resources for Teachers." These are resources that I use quite often and I truly believe that they help me be a better educator. They are in no specific order of preference. Click on the links for more information about each one and it's use in education.
1.Evernote - Evernote is one of those services and apps that I can't live without any more. I use it for organizing my lesson plans, notes, web clippings, and so much more.
2.Twitter- Twitter is an excellent resource for educators. I useTweetdeckto access Twitter on my computers and Twee on my Palm Pre+. I get to connect with educators from around the world and share, learn, collaborate, and teach with them. If Twitter is blocked at your school (like at mine), you can useTwitter Gadget in iGoogle or Tweetdeckand still access your Twitter account.Twitter in Education.
3.Blogger- Blogger is a great, free, easy tool that you use to create blogs. I use Blogger for this blog, but I also use it to set up class blogs for each of the classes I teach. These blogs allow me to have a resource for my students that is easy to create and update. I have links and resources on them, and then update them with their assignments, due date reminders, helpful links and resources, and much more. My students all subscribe to their class blog and get an email whenever I post something.
4.Google Sites- Besides the class blogs listed above, I also maintain awebsitefor my students and colleagues. I use the site, which is very easy to create and update in Sites, as a place to put up more static items like the class policies and procedures, class description, and I also post files that they can download. I use it for my students and I also post resources for educators on it.
5.Discovery Education- Discovery Education is a great resource for educators. They have a huge amount of resources for educators, many free, in addition to their fee-based offerings. TheDiscovery Educator Networkis community of educators who use Discovery Education resources and is another great resource.
6.Google Chrome browser- Google's Chrome browser is a fast, secure, stable web browser that I love using. It works great with all of Google's services that I use (like Blogger, Calendar etc.) and has some great extensions, like "Clip to Evernote", that make my workday easier.
7.Dropbox- Dropbox is a file sync and storage system that allows you to keep files in sync across multiple computers and backed up on their servers. There is a free account available and ways to increase your free storage. You can even select which directories and files to sync on which computers. I keep a large number of directories on my home computer in sync and backed up. At school, for security and ease of access, I sync a select set of directories to my school network drive. It has a limited amount of space, so I just sync the files I use the most. Dropbox is a great resource and can help keep your files safe in the event of a computer crash. You can also access your files from any web browser and mobile device.
8.Google Calendar- While I use Evernote (see above) to organize my lesson plans, I use Google Calendar to organize the rest of my life. I have appointments, due dates, meetings, school calendar days, and more all in my Google Calendar. It syncs with my Palm Pre+ through Palm's Synergy system so I have access to it anywhere. I can have it send me reminders via email or text message, can attach documents to events, add notes, and even share events or my calendar with others. It is a great way to stay organized and great for teachers.
9.Aviary- Aviary offers a suite of graphics tools, online, for free. These include screen capture and editing, photo editing, and much more. They even have an educational section to provide a safe and secure environment for students. I use it for taking screen shots and modifying them to use in this blog, as well as with my students.
10.My Personal Learning Network- while not a web resource or app per se, my PLN is a huge source of information, resources, advice, and comeraderie. Every teacher needs a PLN.
The second top 10 list I'm doing is "My Top 10 Free Web Resources for Students." These are resources that I believe can they students in their education. They are in no specific order of preference. Click on the links for more information about each one and it's use in education.
1. Evernote - take notes, collect web clippings, share notes with classmates, get organized.
2. Trackclass - is a great, free resource for students. The site allows students to track their classes and assignments, and even will send reminders (email or SMS) for upcoming assignment due dates and test dates. There is also a note taking utility so students can take notes on it if they have a computer in school.
3.Dweeber - is a homework collaboration site that also has tools to help students learn better. It is described as a homework social network. Students sign up, for free, and can add their friends, known as "dweebs" to their network. Students can work on homework together and help each other out. It even as a virtual whiteboard so that they can work together just as if they were in the same room.
4. Drobox - is a service that allows you to sync your files on your computer with their system as a backup. This also allows you to access the files anywhere. You can also sync the files across multiple computers. No need for USB drives anymore.
5. Cybraryman - Cybraryman has a great web site with tons of resources, sorted into different categories. The student section is excellent.
6. Digital Literacy - Our students live in a digital world and need digital literacy and how to be safe online.
Google is an excellent resource for students. They can create and collaborate on projects using Docs, stay organized with Calendar and Tasks and iGoogle, save their Bookmarks, create a blog or website, upload and share photos, create e-portfolios, do research, and so much more.
8. OpenOffice and OpenOffice for Kids - OpenOffice is a free office suite that is a great alternative to Microsoft Office (and free!). LibreOffice is a new version that is being released by the same group that started OpenOffice. OpenOffice for Kids is a scaled down version targeted at kids, ages 7-12.
9. Smartphone Experts - More and more students use smartphone's these days. Smartphone Experts is a group of websites dedicated to smartphones. There are different sites for each smartphones, from Android to iPhone to Blackberry to HP/Palm webOS. They offer tips, reviews, app news, and much more, helping people to make the most of their smartphones. Since our students have these pocket computers, why not give them a resource to help them use them more effectively.
10. Their teachers. Teachers are the single best resource for students. We can lead them to other resources like the ones above and we can help them use them. We also can help them understand and use those resources.
Share your favorite student resources with us.
David Andrade is a Physics Teacher and Educational Technology Specialist in Connecticut. He is the author of theEducational Technology Guy blog, where he reviews free educational technology resources for teachers, discusses ways to use technology to improve teaching and learning, and discusses other issues in education.
He is also a professional development trainer and presenter at conferences, helping educators learn new and innovative ways to educate students. He is also a Discovery Education STAR Educator and member of the CT DEN Leadership Council.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of his employer.