Monday, January 11, 2010

Must See Monday #2 - Free Technology 4 Teachers

Let me start off by saying that Free Technology 4 Teachers shares some of the best resources for teachers, no matter what subject matter you teach.  Free Technology for Teachers is the project of Mr. Richard Byrne; which you can follow on Twitter, and I highly recommend that you do so.  Mr. Byrne is a Google Certified Teacher and has been posting Technology for teachers since November of 2007.  Is it a coincidence that I started this blog in November as well? Hmm...probably not since my started 2 years later, and that is beside the point, since Mr. Byrne was an inspiration for my blog.

Now, why is this site a Must See...well, it is really more than a Must See, it is a Must Follow.  So far 15,000 other people do.  Daily post about Web 2.0 and other technology resources that teachers can use; and every single post I have read has always been free...hence the title of the blog.  Over 2600 post to date with technology related resources.  Do the math...that is over 100 a month!  Man, and he does all this on top of teaching...Kudos!

Free Technology 4 Teachers was nominated and won The Best Resource Sharing Blog and The Best Individual Blog in the 2009 Edublog Awards.  That makes him a Repeat Champ since he won The Best Resource Sharing Blog in 2008 as well.  You can Become a Fan on Facebook as well...and let me give Mr. Byrne credit for giving me the idea to create a Fan Page as well for this blog.  Any links he adds go to a Favorite List that he has created based on the resource in each post.  So find your subject matter and see what can help you in your classroom.

Two documents on Free Technology 4 Teachers that I suggest you view are digital magazines created on Yudu.  I have posted about the Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration before and they are a great tool for beginners trying to integrate technology.  He also has another publication, Beyond Google, which discusses "15+ tools and strategies for better Web Search Results."  It appears he has a thing for Green Laptops though because both front pages have Green Laptops.  I personally prefer red (Go Louisville Cardinals!)

While typing this post, Mr. Byrne typed another post about technology.  Keep up the great work for all the educators out there!

Does Your School Tweet? They Should!!

So last night I had a parent and member of the community request that I create a Twitter Account and Facebook account for our district.  Well, I am not far enough up the food chain to do anything with the district, but I did ask and get granted permission to create a Twitter account for my school.  I am not quite ready to tackle a Facebook Account yet...Just starting with Twitter.

After creating an account and emailing all the teachers telling them about it, I received an email that the district was worried about students Tweets with profanity being Tweeted to our Twitter account.  I have our account set to private so that I have to approve all the followers.  I also don't plan on following anyone that way their tweets do not show up on our Twitter Account.  Then we ran into the problem of reply Tweets (@).  Well I realized that I could easily block the user if they left a vulgar or profane Tweet mentioning the school account.  By Blocking them I delete the Tweet from our Twitter Account.  That means constantly monitoring the account, but it is Twitter...isn't that the point?

Now that I have got that out of the way, why should schools use Twitter?  It is a great source for communicating with parents, students, and the community.  What could you communicate you might ask?
  1. Daily and Weekly Announcements, Office Information, Guidance Information.
  2. Cancellations and Delays
  3. Student of the Week or Day
  4. Athlete of the Week or Day
  5. Stories about students and teachers from your school
  6. Awards, Scholarships, Grants, and Accomplishments by teachers and students at your school
  7. Sports scores and statisitics
  8. Scheduled events (Sports, Band, Drama, Meetings, Registration, etc.)
  9. Club and Organization information.  Sponsors could share field trip related information, meeting dates, Volunteer opportunities.  Imagine what this could do for FFA, FBLA, DECA, BETA, etc, etc, etc
  10. Daily Lunch Menu
  11. Dates and information for extra-curricular activities
  12. Links to teacher webpages and student work created and posted online
  13. Due Dates and Test dates both school wide and within teachers classrooms
How does your school use Twitter?

Be sure that your school has a policty regarding Social Networking before creating a Twitter Account.