1. Twitter -Do I really need to explain twitter? Let’s just say I couldn’t imagine my life without twitter! This is where I learn about how any other tools can help me both personally and professionally.
2. Blogging-I keep this blog for my reflections and professional growth and also maintain a blog for my staff.
3. Google Docs-I love how easy it is to have others contribute to a document or ask someone to review something I’ve written before submitting it. No more emailing an attachments back and forth. No more losing a document in microsoft word when your computer auto-closes it before saving (google docs auto-saves every few seconds).
Here is a great video clip to see how beneficial google docs can be in your school:
4. Google calendar-this is the first year I’ve used google calendar and find it extremely useful for my useful for my secretaries to have access to my calendar-they can always see where I’m at and add new appointments to my calendar. Recently after having an issue with our computer lab sign-up on our internal network, we set up a google calendar for staff to sign up this way…for many of our staff it’s their first time activating their google account and I’m hopeful that it will lead to many more uses of google apps in our building. My next goal is also for us to create an IEP calendar in our district o we make sure that there are not 2 mtgs scheduled at once that LEA representatives need to be at.
5. Google reader-I love reading blogs online and I no longer have to waste my time checking my favorite blog sites to see if there’s a new post…they go straight to my google reader and I check it when I want to see what’s in there. Here’s a video clip I shared with staff when I showed them google reader at our Tech Tuesday:
5. Diigo -I love that I can access and add to my favorites no matter what device I’m using online. I also enjoy that i can just have the “autobots” search my tags within diigo to find what I’m looking for. There are many features of diigo that I haven’t begun to use yet, sharing them in a group for example.
6. Evernote -after having an incident of losing everything in my yellow notepad on my iPad I have become an all the time Evernote user. If you don’t have an iPad, you can still use evernote on your computer. It’s “in the cloud” so you can access it from any device! I love that’s I can organize my notes in notebooks, label them with multiple tags and that I can access the on any device. I recently learned that Evernote has a voice feature that is useful in the classroom, because the teacher could record a student reading, take notes and save it for that student’s portfolio or even email the recording with a message to the parents!
7. Pinterest -this has become a new addiction that one of my teachers discovered. Basically Pinterest is a way to search for ideas, but you’re just searching on others’ bulletin boards and you then create your own bulletin boards of ideas. The teacher that shared this with me said she basically never uses google anymore when she’s looking for an idea.
8. Podcasts-I love being able to learn from podcasts while I’m cleaning the house or working out and I have also enjoyed joining in on podcasts recording within the past year. You can find my list of podcasts here.
9. TodaysMeet is basically a chat room you can create and invite anyone in by giving them the link. I recently used this in a staff mtg as a back channel to foster more discussion.
10. Skype – I love to use this for personal and professional use
11. Google + I rarely go to Google +, however, the hangout feature is just like skype, but allows up to 10 people to join for free. There has been a regular group of us in my twitter PLN that organize times to meet in google +hangout (we’ve discussed the start of the school year, walkthroughs, use of evernote, etc.)
12. Facebook – I pretty much only use facebook to keep in touch with family/friends since we live out of state. I use this to post pictures of my kids so Grandma can still feel connected (it’s far easier for me than emailing them out to people).
13. The Principal Center is a new online place for Principals started by Justin Baeder to join for sharing ideas and resources. This month I’m starting a book study there with several other principals. If you want to join, just let me know and I’ll send you an invite (you do have to go through a process to verify that you are an administrator).
14. Screencastomatic – I have found it very easy to make quick tutorials that show staff exactly how to do something. No more screenshots/editing to make a handout that gets lost. The screencast stays on my blog and youtube channel for them to access as needed.
15. YouTube – I use YouTube for school video clips and for Screencasts. Last year we were fortunate enough to have a young lady from another country visiting her grandmother over the summer and attended our summer school program. She recently saw our summer school video clip and commented on it that she can’t wait to come back to America and join us again this year!
16. Xtranomral -I have not used this, but I certainly love watching what others have made, especially what some of our 4th graders made that you can find here. I have also found some to start out a staff meeting with humor (like a funny one about parent teacher conferences).
17. Bitly.com I love using bitly to shorten web links and to customize them so they aren’t just a random assortment of letters/numbers. Here’s a screencast I made to show my staff how to use it:
18. Shelfari – I used to use Goodreads to log my books and connect with others that have similar reading interests and find book suggestions, but I wanted to add a “widget” to my blog that shows the most recent books I’ve read. This isn’t to brag (which my husband usually says), but it’s actually after attending a conference with Regie Routman—she says it is important for teachers to share with students about themselves as readers and for principals to do the same for their staff. I thought the easiest way would be to have this on my staff blog for when they check my Monday Memo and Friday Focus each week. You can see that it is also on this blog.
19. Pandora – I’m the type of person that needs music to work, so I love being able to access my Pandora account and pick my station (especially since we don’t get a radio signal in our school building).
I’m sure that I missed some tool, but as I went through my week, these are the tools I used that help me do my job and continue my learning.