A Tech Expert's Not-So-Secret SourcesMay 31, 2012 | Nicholas Provenzano
I often get emails from teachers looking for the perfect tool for their class. I love that teachers are excited to find new tools and integrate them into their lesson plans. As someone who has experience with different tools, I'm a logical person to ask for help when looking for something new. I have a dirty little secret, though.
I Google search most of what people ask me.
I wish that I had every web-tool invented catalogued in my brain, and that I could pull information out when I needed it, but that is not the case. I have hundreds of student names and grades in my head at any given moment, what lessons I need to create for my class and numerous blog posts that need to be typed up. Specific tools are not in my brain all of the time. So, I've decided to let the cat out of the bag and divulge my top resources for new and exciting tools to use in class. If you don't hear back from me, it's because "they" have silenced me.
The Google search is your best friend. It is a great way to start a broad search and see if other teachers have written about a tool and how to use it. We go to Google for so many different answers that searching for web tools should be no different. If you can master searching with Google, half the battle is won.
The Cybraryman website (run by Jerry Blumegarten -- @Cybraryman1 on Twitter) has everything you need when it comes to education. If you already have a tool in mind and are looking for more information on it, you need to stop by Jerry's page. Jerry is one of the hardest working "retired" educators I have ever seen. He has a listing of web tools, Twitter chats, suggested bloggers based on content and grade level, and anything else you can think of. If he doesn't have something you're looking for, send him a message and he will put it together for you. He is a wonderful resource for all teachers.
My friend Adam runs a site called eduTecher that has everything you need in a website dedicated to web tools. Adam works very hard to give great information regarding the tools and how they might be used. He also has an app for iTunes and Android that will allow you to search for and research tools on the go. Sometimes when I'm spending too long on Google, I remember that I should just click over to eduTecher. I always find what I'm looking for quickly. This site is a must in your bookmark list.
Kelly Tenkely, when she is not busy running the school she started, always has exciting and interesting reviews of web tools and education related posts. iLearnTechnology was one of the first sites I stumbled upon in my quest for educational technology goodness, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Kelly's reviews are always honest and share how the tools might be used in the classroom. That aspect of her site is something I love and try to mirror when I do the occasional review on my site. She's always looking for more great information to share with the rest of us. Check out her site now.
Sometimes, I go directly to the people. My PLN is an amazing group of educators with skill sets I will never have. With a simple post to Facebook or a tweet to the Twitterverse, I get a tremendous amount of suggestions to sift through and share with others. These connections make finding information ten times easier than it was before. Teachers are the real experts, so I like to go to them for their thoughts whenever I can.
I hope that "they" do not come after me for divulging my secrets sources. I ask that you share any great resources you have in the comments section below, because we all want to help others find what they are looking for.