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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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

Elaine Habernig's picture

I have created a website for k-12 teachers with thousands of resources listed by grade level, subject, and topics. Www.ehabernig.wikispaces.com

Ann Snider's picture

Kansas Website Features Free Student Materials

Kansas teachers have a new place to look for free learning materials for students.

Kansas teachers have a new place to look for
free learning materials for students.

The Kansas State Department of Education recently added
something called Open Education Resources to its website. It
provides access to thousands of free digital textbooks, e-books and
other online resources. There are also resources to help visually
impaired students.

Materials available through the website can be distributed to
smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other devices to ensure easy
accessibility.

.

anita vance's picture
anita vance
Outreach Librarian for Altoona Area Publilc Library

The school librarian does seem to be missing as a resource for this discussion. Within each individual school district, they have the inside story regarding the best mix of online, multimedia, books, magazines and past successes in the district to deliver a powerful lesson.
I would like to add this toolbar from CyberSmart http://cybersmarttoolbar.com
It includes sites vetted by various educational organizations and recognized for excellence.

Nicholas Provenzano's picture
Nicholas Provenzano
High School English Teacher/The Nerdy Teacher
Blogger 2014

I agree with those that say a librarian should be a go-to resource for teachers. Having said that, there are many districts out there that do not have connected librarians. I think that was the perspective I was coming coming. If a person teaches Ina building with a connected librarian or connected anybody, they should be sought out when help is needed.

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

Interestingly, books no longer need to be kept in order, they are now in digital form. And finding resources may be left to search algorithms. The "librarian's" role may, in fact, be best transformed into a role of a facilitator for learning how to search. Law students used to have to learn how to shepardize in order to do law research. Wtih that said, law students now use their understanding of boolean logic to support their postulates. As a teacher, my go to resources are students! Of course you have to work with them so that they hone their search skills!

Joe Kuziak's picture
Joe Kuziak
grades 6-8 Technology Wood Shop

I am new to teaching; however, I have been involved in manufacturing to 30 years. I teach Technology in a Wood Shop, grades 6-8 in a 30 day rotation. The student body is around 750 students. I am attempting to do more engineering and science based projects, such as Mouse Traps Cars in the 8th grade, and at the same time instruct the students how to safely use machines and tools. Appropriate science and math applications are applied to the projects. My biggest issue is finding good projects that won't be too costly. What are your suggestions for the best places to find challenging projects?

Nicholas Provenzano's picture
Nicholas Provenzano
High School English Teacher/The Nerdy Teacher
Blogger 2014

Hi Joe,

I think some of the best places to find Science Projects for students is #scichat on Twitter. There are so many great people out there that have created amazing projects for their students. I would start there and see what you turn up.

Sonja's picture

I am not the best at technology, so it it great that I can get ideas from this blog. I go to our technology specialist quite often to ask about certain technology and she does a very good job helping me out. Does anyone have any good (simple to start with) history projects they do?

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