Tools for Teachers–online resources to help you start the school year

There are so many new online tools for teaching language, it can be difficult to keep up.  Here’s a list of a few tutorials that can help you figure out which are tools are going to be most helpful in your own classroom.  Some of them are language specific, others could be adapted across the curriculum.

Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers:  A blog that, like this entry on LingEducator, tries to help teachers keep up with changing technology.  The article in this link describes ways for students to self-publish and a site called Toasted Cheese that provides daily writing prompts.  You can also check Byrne’s site for an article on cell phones in the classroom.

CrowdSourcing Information:  An short article on CrowdSourcing–using the internet to harvest information from experts and popular opinion.

Driving Questions for Project Based Learning:  Projects help students engage with the material, especially when they have “real-world” outputs.  Driving Questions help you focus students on the learning goals of the project, and this site helps you develop those.

Free Children’s Books for iPad: A free app that allows you to download books from a different languages, cultures, and time periods–your own mini portable library.  (Thanks to Ruslanda Westerlund for providing this link.)

Free Supplies for Teachers:  A list of sites giving away free teacher supplies from Cybrary Man.  You can also check out this site’s list of charities for teachers.

Glogster EDU Tutorial: A tutorial on using Glogster–which allows you and your students to post text, images, music, and video online.  Such practices often make the assignment seem more relevant to students, since they are presenting their ideas to the world, and not just to their teacher/classmates.

Google & General Search Engine Tutorial: As this site says, many students can type things into a search engine like Google, but most aren’t aware how many search engines are out there (Bing, Yahoo, etc.).  Knowing more about how each works will make their time searching the web more effective.

100+ Google Tips for Teachers: provides you with a list of Google functions you might not know about.  Worth checking out.

Google Plus Tips:  Many who like Facebook, have been troubled by its privacy settings.  It shows great potential for facilitating classroom discussions, but it offers little (uncomplicated) control over who sees what–which is problematic for students and teachers who would like to use the platform for educational purposes without over-sharing with one another.  Google+ “circle” features show great potential for overcoming this problem, but its user interface is more complicated to manipulate than Facebook.  This tutorial might help you to better understand Google+ so that you can more effectively use it for educational purposes.

iOS (Apple Operating System) Apps for Students:  Lists of Apps that you can load on your Apple product to replace other classroom tools.

Kahn Academy:  Exceptional video tutorials on a wide variety of topics by Sal Kahn and his team.  Initially developed for individual instruction, these videos are now transforming the way that teachers are interacting with their students.  With a video running, teachers can spend their classroom time next to their students–helping them as they have problems.  It also allows students to work at their own pace, earning badges for both effort and success and taking responsibility for their own pace.

LinkedIn Tutorial:  Teaching students about digital media should include teaching them how to present themselves to the world–especially as they’re looking for jobs.  LinkedIn is a service that allows professionals to network online.  This tutorial explains how to maximize LinkedIn’s effectiveness in your job search, but the site might also offer other teaching opportunities–how do we label ourselves?  How do companies label us?  How do programmers set up something like the LinkedIn network?

UN Human Rights Video: We often teach about the U.S. Bill of Rights and how it makes us unique.  However, it’s important to look at similar documents, including the United Nations’ Declaration of Universal Human Rights, which includes a statement about Linguistic Rights.  Sing up on this website for a free educational video.

Themed Poetry Lesson Plan | Creating a Themed Poetry Collection As a Class Project:   A free lesson plan–ready to go or adapt it for your own purposes. 

Wikis |  Tutorial for Teachers: Wikipedia is one of the ultimate examples of CrowdSourcing, but did you know that you could produce a wiki that was specific to a particular class topic?

ScoopIt Tutorials | ScreenChomp for iPad:  ScoopIt is another tech blog that provides helpful tutorials.  This one is teaches you ScreenChomp, an iPad app that lets you record your own voice over your presentation.

Teaching for Change:  Helps teachers and parents get students involved in learning through projects that help the community.

Twitter Tips | How to write the perfect tweet: Twitter is sometimes written off as an example of cultural ADD, but those who study new media point out that the ability to distill your message to 180 characters can demonstrate exceptional rhetorical skills. 

Skype Tutorial:  Skype allows you to videoconference online for free.  It can be a lifesaver for distance classes, but it could also be used to facilitate real-world interaction for language classes.

Spanish Lesson | El Preterite Imperfecto de Subjunctivo: We teach so little about grammar these days, that most people don’t know what the Subjunctive Mood is.  (Even most grammar books describe it as a kind of tense.  It is not.)  This creates real challenges for English speakers who are trying to learn Spanish, where the subjunctive is far more likely to be grammatically marked than it is in English.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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