One Tool at A Time: How Can You Increase Your Technology Toolbox?

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We are winding down the school year, and I know most of you will use your summer time not only to relax, but you also constantly reflect on the school year, and research new ways to teach, and new tools to use in your classroom next year. The whole idea is not to focus a ton of energy on a bunch of different tools to overwhelm yourself, after all its summertime!!!! So how about just learning one tool at a time?

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I have a few ideas of some great tools you can explore this summer, and hopefully you can find some fantastic ways to use them. 


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Have you thought about blogging? Blogging is a great way to share information with parents and other educators the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom. Using Blogger as a tool is a great way to do this. If you are reading this post, you are reading it on Blogger. Blogger is simple to use and is already embedded in Google, which make it very easy to access. A lot of educators blog to share great ideas with others, and it would behoove you to follow their blogs. Some great blog sites to get you started are: blogger, edublogs, and wordpress.
EdTech Magazine created a list of Must Read Educators Blogs. Check out their list. (fyi- I am featured as one of the top 5 :) )

Are you on Twitter?
 Twitter is one the easiest and common ways to develop a strong PLN. In order for it to be valuable, you also need to be a contributor. You have awesome things to share with others. Following people who share the same role you do in education, or what you aspire to be, is key to staying connected, and current with tech trends. When corporations want to get the word out on their new products, they usually take to twitter and other social media first. Twitter allows you to create your own learning opportunities, anywhere, and anytime. The connections you make through social media lead you to a wealth of knowledge that is not made possible without it.Twitter is a grand place to gather ideas and information from educators all around the world. Connect with like minds, experts, and others who have an interest in education. Check out my blog post about why you should be using twitter, and be sure to follow me @msedtechie.

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Still looking for ideas of tried and true ways other educators are using technology in the classroom? Try searching on Pinterest. There are so many edtech pinterest boards, where people post apps and blogs to try out, as well as ideas for using and iPads, and other technologies. If you are a visual person, Pinterest is perfect for you. Pinterest is a sure way to find some great ideas for the classroom, and connect with awesome educators around the world.

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Teachers Pay Teachers-

If only I would have thought of this! Teachers are taking what they have created for their classroom and sharing it with others. Some items for free, some are at a low -cost. Let's just face it, a lot of us don't have the time to spend hours developing lessons and projects for our students, due to various reasons, but having access to thousands of projects and lessons at your finger tips delivers a powerful one-two punch. Save time by browsing through resources other teachers have perfected, and use them to provide meaningful learning experiences for your students.

Participate in webinars, online classes, or tech forums. There are so many free webinars available to educators or various topics, covering various tools. Join organizations like TCEA, or Simple K-12, or ACDS. Most webinars are archived, so even if you are not able to catch the live one, you can go back and listen to the recording. The cool thing about that is you can stop, rewind, and pause when you need to, and take notes easily.

A great way to engage students is through video. Have you ever thought about flipping your classroom? Or maybe just capturing the wonderful work you are doing with students and sharing it with the world? These video tools are awesome, try one or two, or three of these!



30 Hands App


ScreenCasting w/ Quicktime


iMovie Trailer

Check out this thinglink of other powerful webtools you should try this summer!

Well, as we bring this school year to a close, I am sure you will use this summer to relax, but also reflect. As educators, you must constantly be looking and searching for new and innovative ways to share information with students. Hope you take some of my suggestions for making sure you are refreshed and rejuvenated for the fall, and also ready to take on new challenges, and opportunities to enhance learning in your classroom. Don't let the whole summer go by without you enhancing your life by exploring fantastic ways to improve the quality of your instructional practices, and filling up your learning toolbox!

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Patricia Brown is the Technology Integration Coach at Old Bonhomme Elementary School in Saint Louis, MO, where she implemented the first annual OB Family Tech week and Digital Learning Day. As a classroom teacher, she was awarded a $25,000 Innovative Technology grant for her school. Read her blog at



One Tool at a Time

For anyone who’s never heard the term "tool" used in a positive context, you might find what follows refreshing—even liberating.