#BackToSchool Must-Haves For Innovative Educators

#BackToSchool Must-Haves For Innovative Educators

As the school year begins there are numerous resources to ease and enrich the lives of innovative educators and their students that will facilitate effective teaching and learning.

Here are my top picks for 2014/15.

1) Borrowing Digital Books and Resources from Your Library

Back when I was a literacy coach one of my biggest time suckers was finding books for students. I begged, borrowed, and stopped just short of stealing (instead I helped teachers win DonorsChoose grants). Those days are gone. Know how your students can borrow digital books and resources right from their local library. (Here’s how you do it at the NY Public Library.) Students (and schools!) never have to worry about purchasing just-right-books again.

2) Online Community

Whether you use Facebook, Edmodo, Schoology, or Google Communities, innovative educators should select an online community for their students to connect. When you do, make sure you know how to lead an effective online community.

3) Padlet

If you haven't used Padlet, you are in for a treat! Padlet let's students contribute without an email in the form of text, images, and links. What's amazing is that students don't need email accounts to contribute. It's a great tool for students to share what they know, do introductions, exit slips and more. Here’s how one teacher used it to demonstrate teacher effectiveness.

4) Teacher Effectiveness Portfolio

Speaking of teacher effectiveness, another must-have for innovative educators is a strategy to document and celebrate their awesomeness with digital portfolios. It’s time to stop locking your amazing work in the classroom and find a tool to show what you know. Some ideas are here.

5) Chromebooks

I've said it before (here and here) and I'll say it again. Chromebooks are my top pick for an education device.

6) Graphite

Got a new set of devices and wondering what the best resource is for your next lesson? Wonder no more. Graphite has an army of educators ready to share their reactions and reviews of products which you can filter by grade, subject, device, and standard. Think of it as the Yelp of ed tech.

These are my must-haves as we launch the 2014/15 school year. Which ones do you use? Which excite you? Anything you had not used previously that you're excited to try? Share!

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.