online apps for the classroom

by Richard Riehle

Every time I come to a different classroom I am struck by the amount of technology that is in place. Almost every classroom I have worked in as a student teacher, a substitute or as a teacher have had at least one computer, a DVD player, and a projection TV and/or a projector. The simple majority of these classrooms have some form of interactive white boards too. Moat schools have some sort of computer resource center with a number of aging XP machines. Students all over the developed world are working to develop some basic skills on PCs. This includes learning how to type, use MS Office applications (i.e. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Teachers more often than not, use classroom projectors to present PowerPoint lectures, use DVD’s and other forms of video.

All of this sounds like a lot of technology in the classroom, but either in the use or the technology itself, these examples are almost all a decade old. Admittedly, when I was in school, nobody worried about whether a mimeograph machine or a slide projector was ‘old’. But things have been changing quite rapidly in the last decade or so…

I ran across an interesting post discussing whether schools and teachers should ideas or prosaic skills based upon the use of technology.

http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/10/tool-imperative-or-macgyver-complex.html

I think that this post pretty adequately presents an argument that schools and teachers do, and have teach these skills (and that teaching how to use technology is implicitly important for our students). With this in mind, as with the notion that technology is changing so rapidly, I think that most teachers (and administrators) could stand to work on upgrading some of their own skills.

There is so much online which is:

· Free

· Helps to present information in new and engaging ways

· Provides new tools for students (without costs to the school)

· Provides more and deeper opportunities for students and teachers to interact with other students and teachers

Just to show how much is presented by fellow teachers, I have a list of only a few links which cover and relate to online apps which may be of use in almost any classroom. This list is mostly from the last couple of weeks, and almost any teacher would find it worthwhile to subscribe (via RSS or email) to any of these sites…

http://3pinteract.blogspot.com/2010/10/uboard-and-active-link.html

http://3pinteract.blogspot.com/2010/09/best-value-interactive-whiteboard-on.html

http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2010/09/prezi-meeting.html

http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2010/10/useful-mapping-tool-for-learnin.html

http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2010/10/using-the-ipad-in-the-classroom.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/five-alternatives-to-traditional-book.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/take-dangerously-irrelevant-textbook.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/10-us-history-google-earth-tours.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/world-mapper-useful-mapped-displays-of.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/10/show-world-infographic-maps.html

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/how-to-create-self-graded-quizzes-in.html

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26708/conduct-easy-to-manage-online-testing-with-zohochallenge/

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2010/08/vuvox-rocks-what-a-great-tool-for-creating-student-reports-and-teacher-presentations/

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/25946/how-to-add-live-web-pages-to-a-powerpoint-presentation/

http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/06/30/50-awesome-ways-to-use-skype-in-the-classroom/