Why reinvent the wheel? Leverage your PLN to find great resources!

The one thing I hear most from teachers during the school year when I talk to them about tech integration goes something like this: “That whiteboard/iPad lesson looks great, but I just don’t have time to create something like the on my own.”

My response to them is generally something like: “Me neither! That’s why I searched for a lesson somebody else made, then I made a few minor changes to it, and I was ready to go!”

That’s because I put a lot of faith in the PLN (Personal Learning Network). I’m on Facebook or Pinterest all the time anyway, so I take note (or favorite, share, or just take a screenshot) of great resources I see other people posting so I can use them myself. Sometimes I’ll post a resource of my own, but I freely admit to being a social media lurker.

A good way to think about your PLN: You get the great ideas and resources that you would get from a summer EdCamp or a PD week, but by leveraging your PLN, you get the resources all year long, when you need them, and you don’t have to give up any time during your summer to get them. Win-Win!

Here are a few examples of some of my favorite places to find quality ideas resources that I can lightly modify to suit my own needs.

Twitter:

South Berwyn District 100

Common Sense Educators

Teacher Tube

Green Light Learning Tools (shameless plug: this is me!)

Pinterest:

Ideas for Exit Tickets

1 iPad Classroom

1:1 Devices

Classroom Decorating Ideas

Setting Classroom Rules

Facebook Groups:

Dreambox Learning

Teachers Sharing Resources

ISTE

Edutopia Teaching Resources

Other online communities:

Promethean Planet (teacher-created lessons)

TeachHub interactive lessons

New Teacher? Time to get acquainted with the technology in your classroom!

Welcome to your new classroom! Here is your Chromebook, your cart of iPads, your interactive whiteboard, and a copy of the digital literacy expectations for our students… Good luck!

If you’re a new teacher, you’ve probably heard these words recently. You may have found yourself wondering how to use the devices so generously bestowed upon your class — so, we’ve listed a few tips to keep you from getting overwhelmed.

1. Make friends with the tech integration specialist at your school.

This person will be able to help you work through the technical difficulties of plugging in your devices and learning simple troubleshooting techniques.

2. On the first day of school, identify a student tech whiz.

Chances are your students had a similar technology setup in their classrooms last year and more than a few of them are probably well versed in troubleshooting and setup. Give them a chance to shine. You may have so many interested tech gurus that you have to set up a rotation.

3. Find your favorite how-to blogs or Pinterest pages.

You are NOT the first teacher to have these problems. If you’re not comfortable asking someone in your school for help, ask someone on the Internet instead! Pinterest pages like this one are especially helpful for ideas using iPads in class and finding digital resources and activities.

4. Go slowly; there’s no need to jump into each device in the first week of school.

Before school starts, set up your class rules for handling the technology and review with them your school’s Acceptable Use Policy, like this one from South Berwyn District 100. You’ll likely have to send home permission slips so your students are allowed to work online. If you share a cart of devices with another class, figure out what the rotation schedule will be. There’s a lot of administrative work to getting your digital classroom up and running — but that gives you some extra time to get used to the tools.

Once you get comfortable you’ll find that using tech can save you time and energy and that your students will develop greater interest in the subject matter. Just take it one step at a time and remember you’re not alone!