Thursday, August 5, 2010

BP1_Google Reader

     Google Reader is part of the family of online tools to help increase productivity and organization. You need a free gmail account to log in. Within Google Reader, you can subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite places on the web and see all of the updates and latest news in one place.
     So for this blog I am going to share my top 5  RSS feeds in Google Reader with you, and explain their features and benefits.
     This website is a one-stop resource for teachers. The site was created by Richard Byrne. Mr Byrne is a Google certified teacher and also provides professional development. He feels that when used correctly, technology has the power to improve student engagement and student achievement. (Byrne, 2008). The website offers advice and resources for both Mac and PC platforms, and includes free software downloads, templates, clip art, and lesson plans.
     One of my favorite features of Free Technology for Teachers is the video tutorials. I don't know about you, but I absorb information much better when I watch a video as opposed to reading a tutorial in print. You can follow his website updates not only through RSS feeds, but also through Twitter, Facebook, and email updates.

2. Edutopia
     Sponsored by the George Lucas Educational Foundation,  Edutopia is an incredible resource for not only the classroom teacher, but for specialists and administrators alike. There are articles on six Core Concepts for the improvement of education that are introduced by a brief video. The Core Concepts are Integrated Studies, Project Learning, Social and Emotional Learning, Technology Integration, Teacher Development and Comprehensive Assessment. (, 2010)
     Edutopia also features a large video library that can be searched by keyword, grade level or topic. In addition, reader contributed blogs from noted experts in education are available. An educator can join one of the groups on Edutopia, and there are plenty to chose from. There are also several articles that promote schools that work in our communities.
     I like the weekly giveaways and the e-newsletter from Edutopia. Kudos need to go to George Lucas and his Foundation for Education for getting involved in the support of educators.

3. Discovery Education Classroom
Puzzle Maker Feature from Discovery Education
     The Discovery Channel is a leader in cable television in providing interesting and educational programing. Their role in providing teachers with resources for the classroom via the web, has helped them make this list of my top 5 RSS feeds. Discovery Education Classroom is one of the features of the Discovery Education series of websites.  While some of the services on the Discovery Education websites require a subscription, Discovery Education Classroom is free. (And right now, FREE is GOOD!)
     One of the best features of this website is Science Fair Central. With the belief that "Science can answer a world of questions," Discovery Education Classroom provides help for Science Fair coordinators, ideas for science projects that students can try, and help for parents to encourage their children in exploring the world of science. (, 2010)
List of videos on Homework Help page by Discovery Education
     The Homework Help tab has a variety of videos available for students to watch from home. The videos are available in all subject areas, and stream from their location, they do not need to be downloaded.
     Following their Tech Tip blog is a great way to keep informed of new Discovery Education offerings, so check it out!

4. MakeUseOf
     Whether you are a Mac lover or an avid PC user, MakeUseOf is the website for you! Written by a large staff of contributors from all over the world, MakeUseOf is an important resource for any educator interested in integrating technology. You can follow the updates to their site through Facebook, Twitter, RSS, of by an email subscription.
     As a technology specialist at my school, I have to keep up with new trends in software, virus protection, and operating system updates. I also train teachers regarding these trends, and there is no better place than MakeUseOf to get training guides.  Their guides are entirely free and include everything you could ever dream about knowing. (, 2010). There are guides available for both Mac and PC platforms. They are easy to follow and a nice reference to pull out when you need an answer right at your fingertips.
Geeky Fun Page from
     I enjoy the section of the website called Geeky Fun. (I am not a geek per say, but I do have some geek-like qualities!) This area is full of silly videos and articles for the technology lover. They are designed to entertain rather than inform, and it is a nice change after spending time on research.

5. TeacherTube
     Welcome to the YouTube for education professionals: TeacherTube! This website, which is updated frequently with new content, is the teacher's best friend when looking for appropriate sources of video clips. However, TeacherTube also has a wealth of audio clips, pictures, and documents that can be downloaded for use in the classroom.
     But what if you and your students produce a video that you would like to share with others? TeacherTube now has the availability for teachers to submit their videos and share them with the world of educators. However, the newest feature, which is still in beta mode, is the classified section. On the TeacherTube Classified page, teachers can buy, sell and trade educational items all for free! (, 2010). You can define your search parameters by location or item, or just start browsing! Are you are in a school district that is cutting jobs? They also post jobs on the TeacherTube Classified page, so you can find that new job.
     Another useful feature from TeacherTube is the RSS updates for video, audio and photos. They are all separate feeds, so if you are more interested in photos, you don't have to receive all the video and audio updates. As for me, I have subscribed to them all!

     I hope you will check out these websites and subscribe to their RSS feeds. I also have a few websites I recommend on the home page of this blog. Check them out too and I'd love to hear from you!

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