A super nice member!
I love Wordle. Use it to: explore keywords in a topic, create posters, see which the most popular words are in a text, play with words or ask students to ‘get creative' with words. You can use other people's Wordles or create your own. You can copy and paste text or create your own.
I used it to explore a key scene in Shakespeare's Macbeth play. The words death and Macbeth were prominent! I also used it when training staff by putting the OFSTED criteria for outstanding teaching into the Wordle box. It seems that learning and progress are key.
You can choose your own colour themes and fonts to achieve the effect or clarity that you are seeking. It is worth exploring. Have a go.
Google + is relatively new compared to other famous social networks. I have used it for about 6 months. It is good in that you can create pages and follow people (though other networks do this). I like the fact that you can add people and organisations to circles depending on how close you are to the person and whether or not they are a real friend. There is a clear option to share information and updates only with circles you have chosen (or all of them). I follow Google Education, which is very American–which is great if you are in America.
There is a useful option of using +1 to share your choice of webpages with others where you would recommend them.
It is early days, I am sure that Google+ will be used by more and more people over time, and in turn, this will make it more successful. As Google is an incredibly popular search engine, the way Google+ links into this should make it very popular.
Students really enjoy understanding and seeing what they are learning. Use this tool briefly to show students where something happened in the news or in a fictional text (Of Mice and Men, Macbeth…). Places can be explored in more depth if you ask students to imagine they are there, use their senses and describe the setting.
The tool also highlights different cultures and religions. It may be worth asking students to tell you where their relatives live and exploring different cultures in this way. Different famous buildings, religious buildings and tourist destinations can also be seen.
Practically, if you have an interview, meeting, holiday or a new job then check the location on here. It shows you a street view that can really help you to find the place you are searching for when you travel.
I use Microsoft Word for virtually everything I produce apart from presentations. It is a brilliant tool in the classroom too. I have used it to teach poetry by putting the poem's font in white and then highlighting the whole poem with the mouse. Then I ask the students to talk about the shape of the poem. This leads to interesting discussions about form.
It is a great tool for teaching homophones. (Why hasn't your computer marked "your" as an incorrect spelling for "you're"?) I have used the reviewing tools to give feedback on students' work and to label text. Students can also change a text's font and add pictures to show their understanding of what they have read.
A great tool for most things. I prefer it over Publisher for anything that can be printed onto A4 paper!
I have used Twitter for at least a year. It is a great tool for finding resources, hints and ideas about teaching. I follow English teachers from throughout the country as well as abroad. It is useful for whole school information. For example, I follow Literacy experts and companies. I also follow organisations linked to teaching to find out their latest news. Most unions, supply agencies, subject associations and news companies have Twitter feeds.
I would not feel completely confident using this tool with a class and would not use it for students to follow me yet as there are some drawbacks. I sometimes get messages to follow some dubious people. I ignore them and the message has usually been deleted within a few hours. Also, a disgruntled student could write anything they like, which can be worrying.
Overall, a great way to network and find inspiration. I would recommend other teachers follow other teachers.