Some Green Tips for EdTech Support

Greenphoto © 2010 Will Clayton | more info (via: Wylio)

Note: This post is cross-posted over at the GM Education blog.

Thanks to the folks in the education division of General Motors for inviting me to write a guest post. I am honored to be invited. It’s always great to see corporations like GM offering up support to students and teachers.

I occasionally am asked to share about my job as an instructional technology specialist. The various ways we offer professional development to our teachers, what has worked well, what hasn’t, etc. I’m always happy to do this over the phone, via Skype, or over email. I love what I do and love to share about it. I have learned a lot in the 7 years I’ve been doing this and look forward to learning more.

While I love getting to meet with teachers face to face, and believe this is still the best way for teachers to learn how to successfully infuse technology with learning, sometimes we can’t get out to meet with a teacher as soon as we’d like to. There are 4 of us for a district of 1,200 teachers and 17,000 students. Schedules don’t always allow it to happen as efficiently as we’d like. So with that all said, I thought I’d share a few tips for ways to offer some “green” edtech support to your teachers. Whether it’s to answer a question quickly, or to give teachers a little something to chew on until you can meet in person, these are a few that have come in pretty handy for me.

Share the screen!

Join.me

This is an easy to use screen sharing tool. Whoever initiates the screen sharing only has to share the link with anyone else they want to share their screen with. I have used this before when a teacher or student has one of those “need to see it” type questions about something they’re working on or something I want to demo for them. You can either instruct the teacher to create the screen sharing link and send it to me or vice versa. Works nicely when either party is on a time crunch. There’s even a mobile version for iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.


Tutorials a plenty!

There are lots of resources available online for tutorials.  These can come in really handy when teachers and students have a quick technology question. Many times pointing them to a tutorial that clearly explains the necessary steps (while being able to watch it demonstrated) saves a lot of time for everyone. It’s also nice that it can be viewed and immediately practiced as many times as necessary.

Here are some video tutorial sites that have great content to offer:

GCF LearnFree – Reading, Math, Social Media, Office, and more are available here. Be sure to also check out the All Topics page to see everything they have to offer. Good stuff. Check out the Twitter 101 tutorials!

Teacher Training Videos – This tutorial site was created by Russell Stannard, a well known educator out of the UK with extensive experience in web 2.0 tools, ELT/ESL, and MFL. Offered here are video tutorials on multiple topics. If you’re wanting to learn about general Web 2.0 Tools you’ll want to check out these.  Here’s an example of one that explains how to use TodaysMeet for backchanneling in your classroom. If you have ELT/ESL teachers they will want to be sure and check out this page. There is also a section for MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teachers.

CommonCraft – Just like they say: “Our product is explanation.” That’s what CommonCraft does and does very well. Their “In Plain English” series of videos have been hugely popular for many years now. They all follow the same uniquely animated format and narrated by CommonCraft founder Lee LeFever. They have loads of technology topics but also have In Plain English videos on society, money, and going green! Here’s a great example that I always enjoy sharing with teachers and students. It’s called Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English. Be sure to check it out if you’ve never seen it before. Again, CommonCraft is a great resource for teachers and students when needing to provide a quick explanation of a topic when you can’t meet face to face.

Online Resources

Plenty of online options exist as well for teachers to get just in time answers to their educational technology questions. Building a PLN via Twitter, networking on Diigo,  The Educator’s PLN, and Classroom 2.0 are just a few examples. Join a group, hop in a discussion, or find out about upcoming online learning opportunities.

The folks over at SimpleK12 have also recently launched a new online initiative for self-directed teacher PD and getting those just in time answers to educational technology questions.

It’s called The Teacher Learning Community. It’s constantly updated with great webinars, tools, discussions, and ideas. It’s also a great way for teachers to get connected with other teachers which ultimately connects students learning with other students (kind of big deal 🙂 ). “Green” learning whether you’re at school or home in your PJs!

These are just a handful of ways to go “green” with instructional technology support. Please feel free to leave a comment and share yours!

Thanks for reading.

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