Top 5 EdTech Ideas for Educators

Throughout the past five weeks, I have been reading, reviewing, and compiling information found from the following education blogs:  The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness by Michael Zimmer, and Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade.  All three blogs hold an abundance of information, concepts, tools, and links, and have all helped enhance my confidence in incorporate innovative ideas into my secondary classroom.  The following 5 ideas are not in order of importance, but rather in order of how I think they should be implemented as an educator.

I am not going to link back to the blogs, because much of this information has been shared in my previous posts.  I am going to summarize these ideas in my own words- making the connection to what I have learned during my research.


Creating a personal learning network is the first step for educators that are striving to become CONNECTED with ideas and others in their profession.  What ways can you do this?  Twitter is an excellent place to start, as it’s fast and easy, and the use of educational hashtags makes it easy to navigate and find information.  Wikis and blogs are another avenue, writing and sharing personally and also throughout following others.  You could also start a Facebook page devoted to either your classroom or professional advice.  Other ways include:  Ning-Classroom 2.0, Discovery Educator Network, PBS Teacher Connect and Google Educators Forum


Once you instigate your PLN, it’s time to get organized!  Using your PLN, you will be accumulating a mass of new information, all of which can easily kept in check using the free Evernote online source.  Links, documents, web pages, images, videos and lesson plans.  Once those items are there, they can be accessed on any type of device, making it a slick way to keep all of the important stuff together.


As you start building your PLN connections and posting, writing, commenting, and linking, it’s important to remember that everything is out there.  Once you commit to posting something, anyone and everyone can access it and it will be archived for years to come.  Be certain that nothing you post will reflect negatively on you as a professional, only referencing your job in general and positive terms. Understanding the digital footprint concept is important for educators in their own personal lives, but even more important for teaching students about it.  When you begin incorporating the use of social media into the classroom, it’s crucial for students to be aware of this same concept.  As educators, one of the most important jobs we have is to protect our students and prepare them for a bright future.  Equipping them with the capacity to make smart online choices is definitely a good start!


In our classrooms, a new wave is catching on, and it’s called Bring Your Own Device or #BYOD.  This occurs when teachers and administrators allow students to literally “bring their own device” to class.  This could include:  cell phones, iPads, iPods, or tablets.  In using these devices, many goals can be accomplished, including:  Easy and fast access to the Internet, discussion posts online, group texting, polling, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

More specifically, the use of cell phones in the classroom can be a good thing for numerous reasons.  They can save schools money, cut down use of the server/network, make it easier for the technology coordinator, speeds up the process of “looking something up” on the Internet quickly, and teaches students responsibility and proper use.  Along with this, students can use their own devices to keep documents and other information organized, and could substitute phone apps for paper planners to keep track of assignments and deadlines.


The point of the matter is that social media is a mainstay in the lives of our students.  It’s not going anywhere, but rather only increasing in use and availability.  If we, as educators, embrace social media and find productive ways to use it in the classrooms, it can be a beneficial learning tool for students.  Not only can social media allow students to connect with their classmates and teachers for education purposes, but it can also be a way to learn solid skills in using social media for something GOOD.  Advocate for a cause, spread positive and inspiring messages, and continually be the same person you are online as real-life.  These are all amazing reasons to consider finding a place for social media in your classroom.

There they are- the top 5 idea to help integrate technology into secondary classrooms.  Each of these areas can be incorporated someway, somehow.  They all have a place in our 21st century classrooms.

As my last final project post, I can say that I feel confident that I can take some much-needed steps in the right direction to a more technology-rich classroom.  I plan on applying all of these ideas in my quest to become a more innovative educator- one that can reach and teach my students in the best way possible


Educational Blogs: A Melting Pot of Tech Ideas #2

So, yesterday I posted 3 great educational technology ideas from some superb blogs. Back at it today…and now I will share 3 more ideas from the blogs I have been following the past few weeks: The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness by Michael Zimmer, and Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade. These are all information blogs about the innovation of technology. If you are a teacher or administrator searching for ways to enhance technology at your school, take a peek. SO many amazing ideas on these sites!

The Innovative Educator

4. Screentime – Focus On Quality, Not Quantity

Nielsen is a firm believer in the use of cell phones and the #BYOD philosophy in schools.  Because of this, her site has many bog posts about ways to incorporate phones into a the classroom setting.  This post is interesting because it focuses on the importance of using phones and computers for positive things.  She says, “Unlimited screentime is fine… if used responsibly.  This can be confusing advice. We live in a society that is taught to believe that everything should be used in moderation, but when it comes to technology, the rules are different.”  This post also includes an amusing analogy of the “day in the life of Johnny” that explains the use of screens in students’ lives.

5. “How to change your Facebook administrator from a personal to professional account”

I’ve subconsciously been avoiding Facebook for some time now.  As much I have come around to the idea of students using their personal tech devices in the classroom, I am still so skeptical of the social media end of it.  I am a former Facebook-er turned exclusive Instagram-er.  BUT…kids loves it- and if there’s a way to integrate it into a classroom as an encouraging teaching device, then I’m all for it.  Maybe it’s just that kids need to be taught how to funnel their social media into something for the good!  Well, to start out, you need to know how to monitor the settings and this post can help with that. Facebook pages could be started for athletic teams, yearbooks staffs, or drama clubs- and it could a fun addition to any school!

6.  “Newsflash: Social media is real life”

Along with this idea, here is another great post about social media, and specifically, how Facebook is the new norm.  Nielsen and co-author Lisa Cooley state, “Adults need to wake up. We need to take a step back from the notion that online communication is interaction in a world that is not real or is somehow less valuable than face-to-face life. This impulse to dismiss social media as a “distraction” is detrimental to both ourselves and our children.”  Hard to deny that statement.

The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness

4. English Resources

My name is Krissi, and I’m an English teacher.  I’ve been keeping my posts related to general education, but I need to share these links with you today from Zimmer’s blog.  On the menu bar, he has resources for core teachers and they are AWESOME.  Within each link, there are a multitude of links and ideas for classroom use.  Find your subject and take a look!

5.  Mathematics Resources

6.  Science Resources

7.  Social Studies Resources

8.  Elective Subjects Resources

Educational Technology Guy

 4. “Android Smartphone and Apps I use as an educator”

This post is not relevant to me at all, because I have an iPhone, but…other educators and students may have one, so if so, this is a valuable post to look at.  Andrade has an entire section of posts devoted to Android for Education and this particular post is perfect for ideas using Android as a teacher.

5.  Guest Post – How to Create Stunning Visual Aids for your Lessons”

Just yesterday, Andrade featured a “guest post” from Terry Smith (he does so every now and then) about visual aids.  Although many of the ideas I have discussed are related to cell phones, social media, and other new wave innovations, sometimes educators just need new ways to visually display lesson plans and assignments.  Smith says, “…visual aids and pictures boost children’s creativity.” 

6.  “STEM – description, ideas and resources for educators”


Now this is an area that I know very little about, but my husband does!  He is a former science teacher and current principal, and talks about this all the time.  For other educators like me that are limited in their knowledge of STEM, this is a helpful link.  Andrade mentions that the White House’s Educate to Innovate Campaign’s goal is “to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”  Other companies, like Discovery, are part of this movement as well.


Educational Blogs: A Melting Pot of Tech Ideas

Throughout the past four weeks of my Wikis and Weblogs Final Project, Investigation into Innovation: Exploring Blogs that Focus on Integration of Technology in the Secondary Classroom I have been sharing ieas and reflection of three main blogs:  The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness by Michael Zimmer, and Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade.  After delving into the world of education-based blogs that focus on the integration of technology, these three stood out to me.  While I have specifically been reviewing these blogs, I have come across many other blogs, ideas, and links that have opened my eyes to an abundance of technology-related information for education!

In my next two posts, I am going to outline 6 posts from each of the blogs (3 today, 3 tomorrow) that I found to be relevant to the integration of technology. These will be listed in no particular order, and will feature posts that I have not already written about (but relate to topics that I have). Then, on Sunday, I will post a TOP 5 EDTECH IDEAS list, detailing the five best practices that I encountered during my final project.

The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen

1.  “Finally! Research-based proof that students use cell phones for LEARNING”

Nielsen LOVES discussing the positive aspects of incorporating cell phones in the classroom!  She has over 180 posts devoted to this topic, the most on her site.  This post breaks down a TRU study “which supports the “idea that students use cell phones to learn, and
also that schools are not acknowledging or supporting them fully, yet.”   It goes on to include quotes and findings from the study, all that indicate that when used properly, cell phones can be an integral part of education.

2. “Interested in #BYOD? Become a #ConnectedEducator! #CE13”

Nielsen consistently uses the hashtag #BYOD, which translates as “Bring your own device”. This post discusses the ways that educators can include students’ own devices in the classroom setting- AND shows links to help support them (join the learning community!).  She says, “There is no better way to support your students for real-world learning than providing settings they encounter in the real world. One of the best ways to get started and keep going is by developing your professional learning network of others who are also involved in this work.”

3. “4 things you need to know to help your students manage their online reputation”

One of the most important things we can do is educators is protect our students- especially when it comes to the choices they make online.  On this post, Nielsen shares an infographic normally suited for adults, but that could be just as useful for students.  It’s called “Managing Your Personal E-Reputation” and is a collage of information, statistics, pictures, and graphics that could be used in teaching students.

The Pursuit of Technology Integration by Michael Zimmer

1. “State of Educational Use of Blogs Survey 2013”

This is actually a quite short post, but within it, Zimmer gives links to:  The Edublogger and State of Educational Blogging.  These links have surveys for educators to take if they have their own blog or a class blog and are “beneficial piece of understanding how blogs are being used now and in the future as this survey is made available each year.”

2.  “Do you Tweet? As an Educator..You Should!”

Zimmer posted this over 5 years ago, but the content still resonates today.  I am not a huge Twitter fan, but as an educator, it can be an excellent source of knowledge.  He says, “What has Twitter provided me?  Resources, information, ideas, concepts, thoughts, knowledge, and colleagues who share all of that with me.  While at the same time I am able to provide resources, thoughts, ideas, concepts and knowledge to colleagues as well.”

3. .  “5 Easy Tips for Educators to Increase Twitter Followers and Interactions”

Making connections is one of the most important things in the social networking world of education.  On this page, Zimmer offers the best ways to do this via Twitter, including Twitterfeed and important hashtags.

Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade

1.  “Google Classroom resources for Educators”

In this post, Andrade outlines how Google Classroom works- as a tool for  “teachers to manage classes, assignments, student work, and to communicate with students.”

2.  “The Educator’s PLN – the personal learning network of educators”

Andrade devotes an entire section of blog to Personal Networks and why they are so pertinent to educators that want to connect with others and enhance their knowledge. He says they “are a great way to be a life-long learner and connect and collaborate with other educators”.

3.  “Evernote Tips and Tricks and Series- #13- Clearly- clean up what you are viewing”

Andrade sings many praises of Evernote as a way to organize information in a systematic way.  His Tips and Tricks Series from #1-#13 are helpful ways to learn how to use Evernote, both personally and professionally as a teacher or administrator.

Tomorrow…3 more EdTech ideas from these blogs!

Internet Writing in Secondary Education: Good or Bad?

For the past 3 weeks, I have been reading, reviewing, and sharing ideas for technology integration in secondary education classrooms.  Referencing ideas from The Innovative Educator, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness, and Educational Technology Guy, I have become aware of some amazing ways that technology can be used in the classroom.  In order to achieve 21st century learning status, technology cannot be avoided and students are in dire need of possessing these skills when they leave high school for college or career.

Many of the tools I’ve encountered over the course of my final project can be accessed via the Internet. Whether they are places to assist with assignments, presentations, or projects or social media sites to complement learning, the world wide web is there for teachers.  I’m a bit behind on the tech times, and have yet to use internet writing in my classes, but my research has made me wonder:

What kind of impact does the Internet have on students’ writing?

Photo from:

The Chronicle of Higher Education website has many articles related to technology ad other issues in colleges.  In 2009, Josh Keller wrote, “Studies Explore Whether the Internet Makes Students Better Writers”, which focuses on the shift in abundances of online writing in colleges, including the five-year “Stanford Study of Writing”, which are intended to keep tabs on groups of students writing over a span of a few years.

Initial reactions to social media, blogging, and other Internet-based writing forums, is that because it’s informal, it can steer writers into bad habits.  Jeffrey T. Grabill, director of Writing in Digital Environments Research Center at Michigan State, emphasizes a different notion. “Digital technologies, computer networks, the Web —all of those things have led to an explosion in writing.  People write more now than ever. In order to interact on the Web, you have to write.”  So while texting may cause people to write abbreviated and grammatically incorrect, Grabill insists that online writing, in a sense, makes people write more.  Another reference to this culture is the “age of composition” as stated by professor English at Florida State University, Kathleen Blake Yancey.  She adds, “new technologies are driving a greater number of people to compose with words and other media than ever before.”

The “Stanford Study of Writing” began in 2001 and collected writing samples from 189 freshmen students.  Over 14,000 writing pieces were accumulated by 2006, including formal and informal writing, scraps of notes and diagrams, and personal histories.  While the study is still ongoing and in the earlier stages of findings, it can be noted that students found that the use of Internet writing is a positive aspect of learning at the college level- especially when specifically geared towards the type of writing they may encounter in a future profession.

So, if online writing has become commonplace, is it a good or bad addition to secondary education?  Well, for starters, if high school educators are preparing our students for college and career, students need experience with this. Grabill says, “college writing instruction should have two goals:

  • to help students become better academic writers
  • to help them become better writers in the outside world

There are definitely some areas of online writing that have been found to have a positive impact on students.  Paul M. Rogers, assistant professor of English at George Mason University, found that when students write messages on social media sites for a particular audience, they “were forced to be acutely aware of issues like audience, tone, and voice.”  Along with that, “the out-of-class writing actually made them more conscious of the things writing teachers want them to think about.”  As educators, we want our lessons to extend outside of the classroom, so Internet writing could be a good way to build that.

Instead of trying to completely avoid online writing, Ms. Yancey, a Florida State professor, suggests “to avoid creating a ‘fire wall’ betweein in-class and out-of-class writing.”  She believes that “out-of-class writing can be used in a classroom setting to help students draw connections among disparate types of writing.”  She uses an exercises that compare and contrast academic journals to magazines or newspapers, and researching using only blogs to track valid information.

When integrated into a systematic way, online writing can be added to classroom curriculum in secondary classrooms.  I would begin with grades 9-12, as there basic and advanced writing skills are more established than those in the junior high setting.  An integral part of our students’ future is to become literate in an Internet-based world.  The incorporation of Internet writing not only can improve their writing skills in different mediums, but reading skills, as well.  Being able to distinguish between many different styles of writing is crucial to the development of critical thinking skills in students.

So whether it be through social media, blogging, or Wikis, consider using some type of Internet-based writing in your classroom.  It doesn’t have to be an exclusive activity, but rather a companion to in-class academic writing.  In today’s world, students need to know how to do both.  So working hand-in-hand, both types of writing have to potential to be a very GOOD thing!


Photo from:  B.L. Ochman’s Blog:

 B.L Ochman’s Internet Writing Manifesto offers some tips for GOOD Internet writing.



Blogging in Secondary Education

If you have never read my blog, let me explain what I’m doing here.  As part of my graduate studies course, Weblogs and Wikis, I created this site to use for my final project, “Investigation into Innovation: Exploring Blogs that Focus on Integration of Technology in the Secondary Classroom“. Throughout the past few weeks, I have been sifting through the following education-focused blogs:  The Innovative Educator, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness, and Educational Technology Guy.  I have picked out a great deal of technology-related information that can be incorporated into my classroom or yours.  Along with tools to use with students, all three blogs contain ways for teachers and administrators to become organized and connected.

I had never blogged before this course, so my experience is limited to the past three months.  But the one thing I’ve noticed is how ultra-connected bloggers become to each other in certain circles.  While navigating the three previously mentioned blogs, I have re-visited many of the same blogs that are constantly linked from other sites.  This makes me realize that blogging can be an amazing way of staying connected within groups- including classes that I teach, or you teach, in a school setting.

On Michael Zimmer’s blog, Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness, he has a page filled with Web 2.0 Resources that are amazingly helpful.  One of his links is to “21 Classes”, which focuses on Classroom and Education Blogs.  This site features products that can be tried for a free 7-day trial or purchased for a $39 yearly fee, including the following types: Teacher Blog, Classrooms BlogPortals, and School-wide License. As I’ve become acquainted with the blogging world in the year 2015, the more I believe that it can be of use in the classroom.

Image from:


The article “Integrating, Evaluating, and Managing Blogging in the Classroom” by Julie Meloni offers some pertinent advice to those educators thinking about venturing into the world of classroom blogging.  First, she says, teachers should clearly know the following features of HOW blogging:

  • will be integrated into the classroom
  • will be used to evaluate student work
  • will be hosted and managed

Where to start?

According to Meloni, one of the first ways that blogging is usually started is through “in-class discussion starters”.  If students have access to technology in the classroom, the entire blogging process can be much easier.  She suggests to have students work on their blogging while they are in class- of course, much of it can be done outside of school, as well.  But by practicing it together, showing examples of blog posts, and learning from each other, the process can be adapted to quicker.

Required or optional?

Another thing to consider is what type of blogging a teacher intends to require:  either “forced” (a required number of posts for each student with deadlines) or “voluntary” (independent posting on students’ own will).   If students only have access to Internet inside the classroom, educators may be forced to only blog during that time- BUT if students are able to connect to Wi-Fi outside of class, posts could be assigned for a later time.  In m case, our students have laptops during the entire school day, so I could essentially require they post outside of class- during study hall hours of before/after school/lunch time.  Most of my students have Internet access on their Smart Phones 24/7, so I would assumed many of them could create and post assignments from those devices.  It could really be a fun way of keeping them thinking about readings and other curriculum at different times of the day.  I also see this as an effective way of preparing my students for college and career readiness- and the focus on 21st century education.  Technology, technology, technology!

Will students buy in?

Now, while this blogging idea seems amazing, there are going to be some drawbacks.  Meloni states, “…you are likely to find that students who would complete traditional assignments will still complete the “non-traditional” blogging assignment, and students who would slack with traditional assignments will do so with their blogs as well.”  Of course- while the use of cell phones in the classroom may receive some joyous applause from students, the blogging will be a way of completing class assignments- are there are more than likely some students that will not buy into it.  It will be a transitional period- for teacher and students alike- but one that could definitely transition into a welcomed routine.

 How to access blogging work?

Evaluating any type of Internet writing can be a challenge, but especially student blogging.  Blogging is usually thought of as more informal, so Meloni suggests that assigning students work like an essay will not work.  But if we allow students to type out grammatically messy work, that may not be hitting the point either.   Basically, she says, there really is not answer- either right or wrong.  It comes down to each individual teacher and their vision for what the purpose of the blog is.  Meloni says, “Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle; I look for informal but thoughtful work that I can “grade” as credit/no credit and that is produced on a consistent basis.”  I personally like that vision- it would be impossible to expect students to blog essay-level work, but I would stress that “thoughtful” and “focused” work would be required.

Don’t forget about the blog!

It’s important to remember that if you start a blog in your classroom, you have to keep current on it. It cannot be a once-in-a-great-while activity, but rather needs to be implemented within the curriculum consistently.

Here is a video from 21 Classes to get you started!

So those are some things to think about before starting a blog in the classroom.  The 21 Classes Cooperative Learning site offers a classroom-catered program to install that could be an easier way start-up a classroom environment, which is probably the best route to take for a  classroom setting.  The following are some of the features from 21 Classes (Classroom Blogs):

  • Class homepage to communicate with students
  • Independent yet inter-connected blog accounts for students
  • Central console to manage students accounts with control over accounts and content
  • Multiple Options for registration process
  • Review capabilities of student entries
  • Upload images or insert videos
  • Make all or selected students’ writings private
  • Selection of templates or your own CSS editing
  • Customizable headers
  • SSL-encrypted connection
  • Hosted application — no installation, automatic updates, no hassle

Check it out, test it out, and you never know.  Blogging in the classroom may be right for you!

Breaking Down the Blogs- How They Focus on Technology

“…Technology should be integrated, not as a separate subject or as a once-in-a-while project, but as a tool to promote and extend student learning on a daily basis. The challenge, of course, is in finding ways to use technology — and to help students use it — that don’t take time away from core subjects.”

In her article, “Integrating Technology in the Classroom: It Takes More Than Just Having Computers”, Linda Starr stresses the importance of technology in schools and how it’s not merely suggested, but a MANDATORY component of current education.  Lack of technology in schools is detrimental to students, as life-long learners need these skills for college and career readiness.

The three blogs that I have investigated during my Wikis and Weblogs Final Project, all present ways to make secondary classrooms a place of daily use of technology, while focuses on the importance of technology:  WHY and HOW it can be effective.  Each of the blogs do so in different ways, each with their own style of blogging, presenting, and focus.  Today, I will go back to each of the three blogs and pull out quotes, links, and references that support why and how technology integration in schools is important!

BLOG #1:  The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielsen

Image from:  Twitter @InnovativeEdu

Nielsen does an excellent job of setting her blog up so it’s easy to navigate and user-friendly.  Her archived information can be browsed through by “What’s Hot”, “Categories”, and “Archives”.  This makes it super-convenient to find what you’re looking for.  She writes about a wide range of issues, not only related to technology, but also Homeschooling, Differentiated Learning, Teacher Effectiveness.  Her main focus is on Social Media and Cell Phones and ways to incorporate them both in a positive fashion in classrooms.  Here are some of her quotes…

“The books hit upon some of my favorite topics including how to turn technology from weapons of mass distraction to tools of engagement, how to harness the power of technology to strengthen the home school connection, and alternatives to learning for those students that are struggling in a traditional school setting.”

Along with her role as a blogger, Nielsen is also an author of several education-related books: Teaching Generation Text, How to Opt Out (Not Drop Out) of School and Fix the School, Not the Child.  About her books, she says:

“There is not such thing as too much screentime if screens are used responsibly.”

Screentime – Focus On Quality, Not Quantity

“But as technology marches on, so too do opportunities for academic success.”

“Just because so many assistive technologies embody digital, emerging and advanced mechanics doesn’t mean simpler, more low-key solutions should go entirely ignored.”

25 Incredible Assistive Technologies

“If students want to run for office, run a business, or change how things are run
where they live, work, or play, they need to be savvy users of social media.
This starts with having a positive online reputation.”

Digital Footprint- Advice from the Experts at Tech Forum NY #TLTF14

BLOG #2:  The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness by Michael Zimmer

Photo from:

Zimmer’s blog isn’t posted on very regularly, so a bulk of the information I have investigated is dated.  That has not deterred me from browsing his archived information, much of which is still relevant and helpful.  His blog is very basic, consisting of red, black, and grey color scheme, but sometimes less is more.  The tool bar at the top has links to “Intriguing Articles” , “Web 2.0 Resources”, and resources for all core secondary education subjects and electives.  His main focus is on physical tools and gadgets that can assist teachers, students, and administrators in schools.

Zimmer doesn’t write abundantly, but instead provides detailed lists and links to refer to.  He has all of his blog posts archived by date on the left side of the main page. The Web 2.0 page is a go-to reference for teachers with links organized by different topics, such as:  Collaboration, File Sharing, Digital Storytelling, and Presentation Tools.

BLOG #3:  Educational Technology Guy by David Andrade

Photo from his blog

Andrade’s blog is set up nicely, with all topics of posting listed at the top, including:  Google for Education, Evernote for Education, My Favorite Resources for Teachers and Students, STEM Resources, and Android for Education.  His blog contains many graphics, pictures, and images that offset the writing and links that he provides.

While he links to many appropriate articles and websites, a majority of the information he posts is written by him- which makes it a nice first-hand account of advice for technology.  He also offers speaking and consulting services, in which he describes his focus:

“When I speak or lead a professional development workshop I work towards giving teachers practical resources and ideas to use in their classroom. I will always provide support materials and am available via email for follow up questions. I focus on using free technology tools to support learning and using project based learning in any classroom.”

All three blogs have their own style and focus, but the consistent thread is that they all offer great ways of enhancing technology in the secondary education classroom.

Evernote for Education

On his blog, Educational Technology Guy, author Dave Andrade lists Evernote as his most used and favorite resource.  This seems like the perfect topic to discuss today, as Evernote is a way for educators to get organized!  With all of the technology-related information I have reviewed over the past few weeks, it’s time to look at a way to get it all in order.

Image from:  Techloy

What is Evernote?  Andrade describes it as “digital notebook that allows you to take text notes, clip web pages, upload images and files, and much more”.  He’s absolutely right.  The company tagline is “Remember Everything“, and according to the Evernote website, here are the aspects that it entails:

1.  It allows you to “write every day“, but not just in the old-fashioned writing sense.  Projecting planning, lesson planning, meeting notes, etc. etc. etc….anything you think of on the top of your head can be included on Evernote. When you “write” it, the information stays with you and you can access it anywhere.

2. It gives you the opportunity to connect and “work together” with anybody at anytime.  For educators, communication can be done before/after school hours and weekends, which is helpful, especially for collaboration projects.

3. It’s a perfect way to “gather research” and keep it organized.  The Web Clipper feature allows users to save articles and snapshots of physical and digital documents can be taken.  One this is done, everything will be together in one place.

4. Evernote allows you to “find everything fast” with the speed and accuracy of its search tool.  Everything you have saved can be found likethat.

5.  You can “share your ideas” through the presentation mode.  Administrators, department heads, and project leaders can present information in an informal way without using slides.

6. The entire systems helps you “stay in sync“, as information is all in one place and available at any given time.

“So now that you know what Evernote is…how does an educator get started using this?”

 Andrade has some tips:

  • Jumping into this technology can be overwhelming- not knowing where to start.  Andrade shares a helpful article written by Tim Stiffler-Dean titled, “The overwhelming ‘everything'”.  Start with small amounts of information and you can always add more as you get used to it.  Evernote also has a “Getting Started” page to assist new users.
  • Uses for teachers:  Lesson plan scheduling, lesson plans, filing resources for lesson plans, unit planning, project information, student work and e-portfolio’s, storing meeting notes, parent contact logs, reference materials, teacher evaluation resources, contacts, *curriculum planning and mapping (see bottom of post for more information on this)
  • Uses for students:  Create individual notebooks for classes, add written notes from lectures and assignments, assignments and projects, attachments, research notes, to do lists, homework deadlines
  • Uses for administrators:  Teacher evaluations, teacher/school board meeting notes, parent contact information, disciplinary logs, project planning, research materials, to do lists

As you can see, Evernote can be a very excellent tool for education.  In our 21st century classrooms, the use of paper and pencils is declining and technology is taking its place.  People, whether it be teachers, administrators, or students, have their phones/computers/tablets with them more often than anything, so if important information can be stored on it in an organized fashion, it can be a positive thing.

As noted above, Evernote can be a go-to gadget for everyone in a school district.  When it comes to a school district’s success, much of it is based on the learning outcomes of students.  In order to achieve student success, curriculum should be meticulously planned and mapped.

CURRICULUM PLANNING AND MAPPING: Keeping information organized as you find it can be of benefit to teachers striving to improve the planning of their curriculum, which should include curriculum mapping.  In the article, “The Continuing Challenges of Technology Integration for Teachers”, by Pamela Morehead and Barbara LeBeau, there is much discussion about the importance of 21st century learning, “understanding technology as a tool for connecting curriculum content to learning processes”.  Curriculum should be mapped so that units extend over the course of a school year, instead of just week to week, which helps schools “avoid the static nature of curriculum development”.  Learning should be a “dynamic process”, in which students learn and retain information   Teachers should “organize the curriculum and connect the resulting instruction in the classroom in a way that is logical and meaningful for students”.  In order to do attain the goal of having a structured curriculum, Evernote can be of assistance in organizing information as you find it.