As educators, it behooves us to keep up with the latest and greatest websites, apps, and tech tools that the vast world wide web has to offer; and yet it can be time consuming and overwhelming to do so. Never fear! Enter: Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, posted by AASL. (http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/best/websites) In this post you will find a few of my favorite featured websites, along with some ideas for implementing each into the lives of students.
Websites Worth Noting
Pear Deck allows you to take pre-existing presentations and make them more interactive, by embedding student questions, websites, and video. You can also create brand new presentations within Pear Deck. When you upgrade you can create presentations that ask your students to not only answer questions but also drag items, draw pictures, and label images. Pear Deck would be extremely valuable for flipped classroom settings, reviews, and 1 to 1 classrooms where some students require more time than others to work through information. It’s also great for building whole lessons because you can incorporate a written warm-up, and an exit ticket right into the presentation. I could see myself using Pear Deck for substitute days, because the students could walk themselves through the warm-up, notes, and quiz/activity on their own. You could even provide extension activities within the slides, for those who finish work early. However, advanced features do cost money.
Find Pear Deck here: https://www.peardeck.com/
IFTTT stand for “If this, then that”. It is an organizational tool that allows the users to set triggers so that if something happens, they are notified, or another action is set in motion. For example, a teacher might set up a trigger that documents student use of her homework board by creating a trigger that basically states “if students access a teacher’s homework board created in Google drive , then their activity will be logged into a spreadsheet”, allowing the teacher to see who is consistently keeping up with new posts. A student could use the website to provide reminders to themselves (i.e. If the teacher posts a new assignment on Google Classroom, then the student will receive an email reminding them to do it.) You can set up the app to save new attachments sent by email to your google drive automatically (making sharing between teachers extremely easy). If you want your students to keep up with current events they can trigger websites to send updates to their email every time they post specific types of news. If you are a librarian or teacher who uses multiple types of social networking you can set up a trigger that makes it so that every time you post a status on your Facebook feed, it automatically gets “tweeted”as well. This could make managing multiple social networking technologies at once, much simpler.
Find IFTTT here: https://ifttt.com/
I really love DIY as a maker-space and forum for students to share their knowledge, hobbies, and creations. Students can practice with technology skills such as animation, app development, as well as more hands-on skills like baking and farming! They can take part in daily challenges, share awesome things they’ve created and comment on each other’s work. This would work really well in the classroom for student-centered learning projects, interdisciplinary teaching, and go-to activities for students who require additional enrichment. I think it could be really valuable to have students post to this website on a regular basis. As the librarian you could promote challenges, and award students for completing specific tasks and posting their activities on DIY. This website could also be a tool for parents to use to keep their students engaged with learning over the summer.
Find DIY here: https://diy.org/
A Daring Blog
A blog that I plan to follow is The Daring Librarian. Some of her blog posts were used in LIBS 602, and I always felt she had some genius ideas. Not only does her blog features tons of ideas for incorporating technology into the library and classroom, but she also discusses issues like student engagement, library branding and promotion, and pieces that serve teachers emotionally, like this one about reflecting instead of regretting: 5 Ways to Reflect not Regret. I love her stylistic edginess, and her positive message “Dare everyday. Push the positive. Change the world.” Dare to follow this blogger and you won’t regret it!