Guest Post: Our newest Blogger is Daniel Ferreira, currently in Tokyo.
If you have gained a bit a reputation for using technology in the classroom, you may have been asked about what apps are best to use for one purpose or another. Or even if you are a new user to using tech in the classroom, you may wonder how to even begin finding what you need and for what purpose. Doing a Google search for “teaching” + “app(s)” + “?” can quickly catapult you into a universe of hits, none which really get you where you want to go. Or worse, you get so distracted with sifting through that kind of approach that you forget what it was you were looking for in the first place. How we wished there was an app for that – helping teachers find a tech resource that suits their needs. Well, do you remember the old adage “Be careful what you wish for because it may just come true”?
“Teachers Tech: mobile learning strategies for teachers and students” is an app that is available on iOS devices. As the name of the app suggests, it is a tool for both teachers and students who are looking to enhance the learning experience via the right tech tool. Upon launching the app, you immediately notice that it organized by tabs such as “Channels”, “Tools’, “Web”, “Chat”, “Twitter”, and “Community”. I’ll be honest, the resources contained in the app are, to put it mildly, overwhelming. And if you’re teacher geek like me, be prepared to lose a couple hours of your life upon first launching the app!! I’ll describe the three best features: the “Channels” tab is really a part of the app that offers “how-to” videos and some popular uses of tech in the classroom that are arranged alphabetically. For example, the first category has one “how-to” video on using “Animoto”, followed by the next category entitled “Google” with 21 more videos on how to use Google Apps, Drive, Google Earth, etc. The next tab, which I loosely refer to as the “money tab”, is called “Tools”. It should really be called the “Teacher Geek Rabbit Hole” because it is here that you are going to find a plethora of tools neatly arranged into categories such as “Audio Tools”, “Animation Tools”, “Class Management”, etc. Within each category the apps are arranged alphabetically. For example, go into “Class Management” and then look for “Edmodo” and you are offered a brief description of what it does and if you want to know more you can go into the site from your device or you can comment on the device, “like” it, or share it to Twitter, Facebook or by email.
The third tab I appreciated a lot is the “Web” resource one. Essentially, launching it gets you to a list of Web resources such as sites that have more on IT “how-to” videos or teachers’ blogs/sites. Unfortunately, it is not arranged alphabetically (and being a former librarian I find this a wee-bit annoying). Nevertheless, if you’ve got a moderate PLN set up on Twitter, you’ll be quick to notice the “Rock Stars” of teaching on there with sites such as “Edutopia for Teachers”, “Edudemic – and EdTech Mecca” and “CoolCatTeacher – Vicki Davis” to name just a few.
Just one note, as of the writing of this post, I noticed on my Google Chrome Web Browser for Mac that developers website has some malware connected to it, however, a search for Teachers Tech in the iTunes store ought to suffice for now. Happy browsing and I’ll be looking forward to hearing whatever gems the teaching community finds worth looking into.