A super nice member!
This is a beta program, meaning that it is still in the development phase. The have a private beta, which means you have to sign up to even VIEW the program. Those are the cons. The idea is based on solid language learning theory and the potential is huge. It is basically individualized learning with materials and topics that are high interest for you. It is very reasonably priced at 9.99 per month.
There is no substitute for a REAL book. That said, if you have an online/telecommute class this may a good option if you cannot find a paper copy or it is too expensive. I thought the prices were a little high, especially when you can usually get used books for much less on online auction or book swapping sites. You can print pages, but that would probably add up as well. A nice idea, if only it were free!
There are plenty of free or inexpensive resources on this site. As a teacher, I have created hundreds of worksheets over the years and I could have (1) saved myself some time by using worksheets on this site for the basic practice activities and (2) made a little extra cash with some of my more impressive worksheets. I still haven't uploaded anything to sell, but I have downloaded several worksheets. I am thinking when I do post a worksheet, I can use the proceeds to benefit the clubs that I sponsor at school.
This is a great way to practice vocabulary in a novel and visually appealing way. Students love technology and art, so it is a great way to combine the two. I really couldn't see using it more than once a semester for a project because I fear that high school level students might tire of it after a while. Younger students would probably enjoy it more as a regular routine, especially since it will take them a few tries to really master it.
Teachertube is a nice way to reinforce content. I like to be varied in my lesson plans, so every once in a while I will show a video that I think handles the lesson points well or that the students will particularly enjoy. I would feel safer both posting and viewing videos on Teachertube than on Youtube because all of material is geared towards education. It is very easy to use, especially if you already use Youtube.
Moodle is a way to manage a classroom using technology, but in a simple and logical way. I was able to grade student assignments (.pdf or .docx) and record scores. The best part is that I could save the graded assignment with notes or corrections that the students could view. I could communicate with the entire class or send alerts to individuals. It is really worthwhile, especially if you need a little help with organization or communication.
Skype is awesome. In my foreign language class, I always try to bring in a native speaker for my class to interview. It was difficult because the person had to physically come to the school. Now my class can practice speaking via webcam with Skype with someone in France, Spain, or Africa! It is also free. For that reason alone, it is a valuable tool even if you only use it once or twice a year for this purpose. I'd love to see more ideas from other teachers on how to use Skype in the classroom.
Teachers have been fired for what is on their Facebook page, so definitely if one uses this tool they should have a separate page for students and for their personal life. Young people love this forum, so it would be an excellent way to engage them. You could post questions for them to answer or homework, but beyond that I am not sure that the benefits outweigh the risks. It is nice on a professional level for networking, however.
Word Bubbles is about the most fun vocabulary game ever invented. The program keeps track of your progress so you can really see improvement over time. You learn to spell and type more quickly. The other games are fun too, though I don't like that they block so many of them unless you purchase paid membership, which is quite expensive.
You can create your own personalized quizzes or activities or use existing quizzes. I have a smart board and I like to start the class with a posted quia quiz, like rags to riches. During the first five minutes of class, while I am taking attendance and getting set up, the students can interact with the quia quizzes with their own vocabulary. Sometimes, I put their names into the examples, too.
To be honest, I only use Excel for basic spreadsheets. The other stuff is too complicated. If I learn it for one project, by the time I need it again I have forgotten how to do it or they have changed the format in an upgrade. I like to create a list of students and use the cells to record attendance or grades. There are a lot of Excel downloadable program,s, like calendars, that I love that were created by people with better skills than I.
This is a great humanitarian way to use a little downtime in a way that benefits others. I like to have it in the bookmark tab of the web browser in the student computer lab. If they finish work early, they can work. The ability to practice vocabulary in other languages is nice, but it could be more advanced. I used to play this a couple of years ago when I had a sinecure and I noticed that they have added quite a few more subjects.
I took a class and learned some cool ways to make interactive Word documents. If you have a online video that is divided into sections, you can write a question and provide a hyperlink for the students to click on that takes them to the appropriate video clip. I also really like clipart and different fonts to jazz up handouts. Having spellcheckers in different languages is also a big plus for my foreign language classroom- both for myself and for my students. Only drawback is the price and that it no longer comes pre-installed to computers without extra fees.
Google Docs is great if you do not have access to the latest form of Microsoft Office products. You can create a document or a spreadsheet. However, I found it a little awkward to work with on a project that required a spreadsheet. It was hard to see the entire document and go easily from one place to another. I prefer Microsoft Excel; if you don't have it or if you are collaborating with a group on a project and you need to send changes back and forth, this is a good option.
YouTube has a huge array of videos, though you have to be careful to watch the entire video before playing it to the class to make sure there is nothing undesirable. You can bookmark the videos you use and keep them in a folder. Students can also post videos that they create at home or at school. In addition to educational videos, I use it for song with lyrics in my foreign language class or play a song they like as a bonus for good behavior.
What I love about livemocha is the live feedback from native speakers. They can help you to identify sounds or errors that you make and tell you how to correctly say words or phrases. I have used both the free and the pay version of the site, and both are worthwhile. The advantage of paid membership is that you have access to video dialogues that you can listen to and then take quizzes about to see if you understood. The video quality is very good, and the situations are realistic.
This tool is pretty smart. The tutorials can help struggling students or give students who excel a chance to work ahead. I would recommend the product to anyone who teaches math or language arts. I hope that in the future the site incorporates other subjects such as foreign language, test-taking skills, or more advanced levels of math and reading. The best thing about it is the narration of the slides and the fact that it is free. It could use more interaction with students, however, perhaps allowing them to do a sample problem and then sending them to a slide that reteaches if they get it wrong.
We have a language lab where students can work on the computer and do listening exercises. I am going to use this product to reinforce vocabulary. It will help students when they have a specific topic for writing or oral projects to have all the words that they need in one place and to be able to practice the pronunciation. I also like the popup definitions in the readings. I do wish it had more interactive activities.
At times, students sometimes think that translators are substitutes for the human brain. I have students translate a message from French to English and let them see all the mistakes and awkwardly worded phrases that result. Then, I teach them to use the tool as a dictionary, to look up definitions, spelling, or gender and to verify sentences that they have written. It is a much more useful tool when used in this way.
I wish that Dropbox had been available my first year of teaching! I had 5 different classrooms in 2 schools. It was very easy to lose papers. With Dropbox, you can access all of your files at any computer. You can create a handout on your home computer, save it in your Dropbox, and then print the document from a school computer. If my students need another copy of a handout or want to turn in a paper, they can use my shared files.