Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best of 2006: Resources for Teachers

For the past few years, I have been publishing a weekly list of links for educators and this fall, I began using Google Groups to manage this listserv. Because I spend a fair amount of time each week perusing various web sites and resources for teachers, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites this week. There's quite a variety here!

1) U.S Geological Survey

This site contains a mindboggling amount of scientific data and there's a section especially geared towards educators. My favorite part contains RSS feeds and downloadable Google Earth files of recent earthquake activity around the globe.

2) Room 132 Video Blog

Last school year, Room 132 teacher Bre Pettis made some pretty amusing and informative videos on events in his classroom. Bre has moved on to bigger things now, educating adults at Make magazine. These videos convey a sense of fun and enthusiasm for learning and help me remember why I am teacher.

3) 100,000 Wikis in the Classroom

My favorite word as a teacher is FREE, and Wikispaces is generously donating 100,000 free wikis to educators. I plunged into the world of wikis this year with a sixth grade collaborative computer science research project, and I was pleased as punch with the results. I'm excited to learn more about wikis through other ITM bloggers and from Adam Frey of Wikispaces, who will be presenting at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators in March. I serve on the conference committee for this annual event, and Adam has offered to create a wiki for the conference!

4) Google For Educators: Global Warming Student Speakout

Google For Educator's inaugural project (co-sponsored by Global SchoolNet) was another hit with my students. They mastered spreadsheets, both in Excel and in Google Spreadsheets and Docs, found relevant videos on Google Video, worked collaboratively in teams, and learned a bit about global warming in the process. I'm looking forward to other projects that Google may cook up for us in the future!

5) Apple Learning Interchange 2006 - Rethink. Global Awareness.

I've been fortunate to be a part of the Apple Distinguished Educator program for the past year or so, and my participation in this education community has changed my professional life in so many ways. Many ADEs, along with representatives from EF Educational Tours, traveled last summer to Berlin and Prague to create a global awareness curriculum. My view of the world has broadened and deepened because of this project, and I now understand how vital it is for teachers to bring the world to their students via technology, if not through actual experience.

The resulting project is housed in the Apple Learning Interchange which was redesigned in the past year. Now, any teacher can upload lessons and digital objects to share, rate and comment on projects of others, and subscribe to RSS feeds showing new additions to the collections. Additionally, any media in the ALI can be downloaded to your iTunes library.

Please feel free to point out any favorite web sites or projects of your own choosing by posting information in the comments section of this post. Stay tuned for my next ITM entry in which I suggest some ed tech resolutions for 2007!

I should add that I took the above picture in Berlin at an exhibition of Buddy Bears. Visit this web site to learn more about this international project. In July, 2006, the bears were on display in Bebelplatz, a square near Humboldt University.