A super nice member!
I teach: English, Writing, Study Skills, Yearbook, Film
To ages: 14 to 18
Our school uses an alternative site for teacher websites, but my site just has a link to my Google Site. I have used Yola and Schoolnotes to create eacher/class/HW websites, but I have found that Google Sites is the easiest to use and manage. I like that you can allow people to be owners, editors, or just viewers. My school uses gmail so my students must register with the email accounts in order to view/edit the pages. For the price (free!), it is the best tool out there to create an easy to use and navigate website.
I have used Wikispaces in the past to create student projects/pages. My students found the registration process was a little difficult, but one they were registered, it was pretty easy to use. It can be kept private, but any student who has permission to view/add to the page can edit and access the management tools. I have sinced moved away from Wikispaces and utlize Edmodo and Google Sites now for student webpages and projects.
I use Freerice.com as a SAT/PSAT prep tool. Most students need to improve vocabulary, and this is a great alternative to basic flashcard drills. I love Freerice.com for many reasons. First of all, students at all different learning levels (remedial, regular, accelerated) can play successfully. Freerice.com is not only fun, but it also helps people. It is a great way to show students how they can be good global citizens. Most students love the competitve aspect of the game and work to achieve the highest score in the class.
After sampling a few audio programs, I found Audacity to be the BEST free program available to create audio samples. The program allows you to do so much more than simply record narration and music. I am impressed with how much editing can be done within the program. When I first used it, I had not used any audio programs so it was a little daunting, but after about an hour, I was able to navigate most of the tools. I have used the program to create a project where students must incorporate 6 sound effects (splash, horn, crickets..etc) into an original 1 minute story. For that project, Audacity is the best platform.
Like most teachers, I use Word on a daily basis to create documents, lessons, charts etc…I find it to be user friendly for both me and my students. You can do so much more than just write an essay with Word. You can create labels, envelopes, charts, tables, diagrams, pictures, etc. I really like and utilize the templates that Microsoft offers online, such as the letters, memos, and graphs. They create the look, and the user just has to import his/her information. Most of my students are proficient Word users by the time they reach 9th grade. I also am a big fan of the extensive clipart collection!
I use PowerPoint as an aid during my lessons/lectures. I like that you can incorporate other media such as pictures, videos, sounds, music, and different font effects into the presentation. It is extremely user-friendly for both me and my students. I have found that most students are proficient PowerPoint users by 9th grade; therefore, I encourage my students to use it when they are presenting their own lessons and/or projects. Finally, on a side note, you can open PowerPoint projects using the Apple program Keynote.
I really like Remind101 because neither the teacher, student, or parent/guardian needs to reveal their phone numbers, but yet the teacher can send out text messages to different groups or classes. As a high school teacher, almost all of my students have cell phones which they check about a thousand times a day! Most of my students do not carry paper agenda books, rather they use their smartphone to organize their life. This app is a great way to use cell phones as an aid for student organization. I plan to also share it with parents at Back to School night.
I just started using BrainPOP this year with my high school students. It is definitely geared at younger students, but my freshmen definitely can learn and appreciate the videos. The videos are a great way to just give a general overview of a topic. I am an English teacher so before we start reading Of Mice and Men, my students can watch the video that describes The Great Depression. I also show the video on Jazz music during The Great Gatsby unit. I also like that BrainPOP has general educational videos such as going back to school tips and advice.
I use YouTube to show entire or parts of educational videos to my class. For example, YouTube has all the SchoolHouse Rock videos that I use to introduce the parts of speech in my writing class. (Remember, "Conjunction Junction"?!) YouTube is also great if you just want to show just a part of a movie. For example, I can show the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet from 2-3 different versions of the movie to compare how different directors interpret the scene. Finally, YouTube is a good place for students to showcase their work, ie a movie project. It is free to upload videos to YouTube.
I wish I had used Dropbox before last semester! As a teacher collecting work from students via papers, emails, and flashdrives, I frequently did not receive student work. It was "lost", the email never went through, or the flashdrives contained viruses…etc..etc…Dropbox has eliminated many of these problems! In addition to collecting student work, I have used Dropbox to share memos and assignments with colleagues. I also use both a laptop and iPad so Dropbox enables me to access my files from both. The basic version is free, but if you require a lot of storage space, there is a fee.
My students have used Wordle to create visual book reports. I required that the students included certain words that reflected not only the characters, author, and title, but also theme, setting, mood etc. My students and I did encounter some technical difficulities, but we were able to troubleshoot with the help of our IT faculty member. My students needed to make sure that they had the most recent version of Java for the program to work. In the end, the final projects were great, and we were able to post them on our classroom website.
First and foremost, I use twitter to share and gather ideas about education. I also use it to participate in book and reading discussions. With regard to my school community, I often tweet about school events, such as pep rallies, sports events, and awards. I also use it to remind students/parents/guardians about assignments and upcoming assessments. I use it to engage in casual conversations with my students, especially those who have graduated. I did participate in a twitter project at my school where students used twitter to research areas of government funding. Faculty and alumni shared articles and quotes about different areas that needed funding and students had to decide which area was most important and deserved the most funding. Overall, students were very engaged in the project.
I use this tool on a weekly basis with my remedial classes in order to review the week's vocabulary. This is one of the best flashcard sites/apps that I have found for lower level students because it is extremely easy to use. Students can create their own cards for their vocabulary words. All their sets are stored online so that cannot lose them. Also students can share and print their cards so they study together or turn in their work to the teacher. My students like Quizlet and use it for their other classes, and they have also used the premade cards on the site.
As a high school humanities teacher, I use Edmodo with all of my classes. Above all, I am concerned with security when it comes to my students posting information online. Edmodo is extremely secure. In order to join a class, the sudent must have a passcode (which a teacher can change unlimited times). Furthermore, teachers can also provide parents/guardians with a unique passcode so they can see their own child's profile. Many teachers in my school are utilizing Edmodo so students can access all their classes on one site. It also can be accessed with an app on most smartphones so students can keep up with discussions and assignments anywhere. I have found that my students are very engaged in class discussions when using the program and helps me to "hear" from those students who don't participate that much in class.