Module 8 provided a host of options for web tools to use in classrooms and libraries. I appreciated the advice about organizing tools based on the concepts of curation, design, presentation and networking. How do we decide the best options to use for these purposes? As the number of applications and websites continue to increase, it becomes increasingly more difficult to decide, especially for those beginning to embrace technology. There are a number of excellent blogs that provide information about web tools. I have listed a few below.
Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2016 – American Association of School Librarians
The sheer number of tools available can be extremely overwhelming, but the best advice I ever received, is to choose a few tools, learn them well, and use them consistently with your students and colleagues. Over the last few years, my district has focused on G Suite for Education and the implementation of Chromebooks. This post will focus on the tools that I use consistently, together with a few new tools that I plan to incorporate into my Web 2.0 toolbox.
Curation – I currently use my WordPress library website as a way to curate resources. This is my first year as a Teacher-Librarian, and my goal is to create a virtual library for my school. This module has re-introduced me to Symbaloo, and I plan to create different grade level Symbaloos, and one for staff, which I will embed into my site.
Presentation – The options available for presentation of information, and learning, are immense. Google Slides has been my tool of choice as we are now a Google district. [All staff and students have been given District Google accounts and have access to a selection of Google applications.] Google Slides provides opportunities for students and staff to share, collaborate, provide feedback, and create. The application is available as a desktop and mobile app, which is downloaded on our school-based iPads. Here is one example of how Google Slides can be used to create an interactive presentation.
Create – In Module 8, Canva is suggested as a tool for creation, and one I will attempt in the near future. Other tools that can be used for creation are Skitch and ThingLink. Skitch is extremely simple to use and share, particularly on mobile devices. ThingLink allows users to create interactive documents by inserting links onto pictures, such as the one below.
Another useful tool for presentation and creation is Powtoon. It would be expensive to purchase for student use in a large school, but I will continue to use it as a teacher to create presentations for my students as it is free for educators. Here is a one I created for LIBE 477 last year.
Networking – The best tool for professional networking is Twitter, and a large majority of my learning happens here. I joined Twitter in January of 2013 for a course I was taking, and I have not looked back. Here is a great video that describes “Twitter in 60 Seconds”.
There are so many web tools available for use with our students and staff that it is easy to become overwhelmed. In our position as Teacher-Librarians, we are not only the curator of resources within our schools, but are increasingly becoming responsible for that curation of web content. It is our responsibility to find, learn and use web tools and applications that will benefit the learning of our students and staff.