Four Tips for Finding the Right Resources | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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One of my jobs as a tech integration specialist is helping teachers find resources for their content area. This can be very difficult because I am not certified in every area of education. I developed a plan of action that helps me help teachers of all content areas. Here are 4 tips that you can use to help any teacher find what they need.

1. Ask some questions

Sometimes I will get an email asking for help with a specific content area, but it really doesn't tell me what they are looking for. "Something to teach electricity" sounds like enough information, but there are so many more factors. By asking questions like, "Do you want an interactive site?" or "Are you looking for something the students can do on their own or do you want to guide them through the process?" can be very helpful in narrowing down the search. Asking questions and listening can save you time and allow the teacher to really think about their lesson a little more in depth.

2. Google is your friend

Google is where I always start most of my searches. After asking the questions, I will have a better idea of what I'm looking for in a lesson. I will usually find a handful of possible lessons that meet the needs of the teacher. I will always send some specific sites and the Google search URL. This way, teachers can see the search I used and check out some of the other sites I did not send. It is also good to show them that I used Google and that they can also use it for searches in the future.

3. Bookmark it for later

Sometimes, I find a handful of sites that are not what I'm looking for at the moment, but they could be helpful down the line. I use Diigo, but there are other social bookmarking sites that you could use. By creating bookmarks for these different sites, I could send entire collections of bookmarks to teachers in addition to sites I find in my Google search.

4. Tweet it out

If I'm struggling to find the resources I need or am looking for expert opinions, I will ask for help from my PLN. My PLN is filled with amazing people that have used or even created amazing resources on every possible topic out there. I know I can count on them for a host of resources that will help any teacher in any content area. This is one of the many reasons why I love my PLN and suggest that everyone join Twitter.

By using these four tips, you will be able to help any teacher find the perfect resource for their lesson.

Comments (14)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Joan Upell's picture

It seems that you are leaving out your most valuable resource - collaborating with your school librarian. They know the entire curriculum and have developed a collection of online resources to support it.

Mark Moran's picture
Mark Moran
Co-founder of Choose2Matter; Founder of Dulcinea Media

At findingDulcinea, we've been curating the web for educators and students for years. With hundreds of Web Guides (pathfinders) and thousands of articles, we have, in the words of a Knight Commission white paper, "addressed the context deficit in online search."

For example, here's our landing page for social studies resources (; the left bar contains deep links to the best primary and secondary sources for most social studies topics.

Best of all, the search box at the top is SweetSearch, a Google-powered custom search engine that only searches 35,000 vetted resources. Per this post (, many educators tell us this helps them find exactly what they are looking for far faster than Google.

Ms. Trust's picture
Ms. Trust
Ph.D. Student in Education (Teaching & Learning)

I created this wiki to help connect teachers to tools:
There are over 2,000 free, kid-friendly online learning resources categorized by grade level, subject, and in some cases, standards. Hope this helps :)

Dan Stanton's picture
Dan Stanton
K-12 Teacher and College Instructor

It appears to be less important to find media/resources for students than to teach students to find their own media/resources. Students need to learn how to ask questions and employ rigorous processes to find answers and solutions. It is important to quit teaching and start facilitating!

Facilitators design workflow models and teach problem solving strategies for information gathering, organizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and processing, thus enabling learners to create knowledge. Rigorous, pliable learning processes, workflow models, and problem solving strategies must be tied to student interests as well as the content. It is time to quit feeding students and teach them how to fish!

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