In Episode 5 of TER Podcast we discussed Connected Learning, and outlined some of the benefits and risks associated with increased use of online connectivity and social media in education. As a follow up to that episode, here are some suggested ways that teachers can get more connected with others in their profession, or help get their students connected with the each other and the world beyond the classroom.
Please note: While some of these sites incorporate commercial services, this post is not sponsored in any way, nor a direct endorsement of those services, this is just a list of tools that some teachers have found useful in the classroom and in their own professional development.
If you have a favourite online tool to help connect teachers and students, and it’s not listed here, then please post a link in the comments!
Social Media Platforms
Twitter – One of the easiest ways to connect to other educators, share links and resources, or engage in quick sharing of ideas. Twitter is an effective tool for developing your own professional network. To get involved, start by following hashtags such as #edchat & #ozedchat, or following the account @edutweetoz
Edmodo – Cameron calls this the ‘facebook of education’ and it functions like facebook in many ways. You can create closed class groups, give parents access to student work and assignments, and create some limited learning activities like quizzes and polls, and is effective and giving your students access to a network of educators and students. Great for connecting with other educators around the world.
Yammer – This is a domain-restricted social media platform. It is a business and their ultimate goal is to get companies paying to use their service. They do offer a ‘freemium’ service which is still used by many NSW DEC teachers, despite the official switch to Social Text signals (which is available to NSW staff through the portal under the name of ‘Maang’)
Teacher Resource Sharing
TES Australia – a platform for sharing resources among teachers. Everything from lesson plans to school plans. Free to use and access.
Scootle – Another popular teacher resource sharing site. This is not yet available to all teachers in Australia (specifically NSW Public School teachers).
Blogging and Publication
Edublogs.org – A blogging site dedicated to educational blogs. Based on the wordpress platform.
WordPress.com – one of, if not the, biggest blog hosting site in the world. It’s where this blog is hosted!
Wikispaces – WIKIs are a great tool to get students collaborating and publishing material. Wikispaces have dedicated education service options and can also let you create invite only private WIKIs which work well for class projects.
Other educational tools
Moodle – Moodle is a Learning management System that needs to be installed on a server in order to operate, and so does require some technical proficiency.. It is an open source platform that is flexible, quite powerful and allows you to create a much more effective virtual learning environment than any other free service out there.