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Technology: Favorite Websites

EDTE.CH: "Inspire Connect Engage Create http://edte.ch/blog/

By Marilyn Pongracz

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DTE.CH, “Inspire Connect Engage Create,” by Tom Barrett is a blog for sharing ideas about using technology in the classroom.  When Judie Haynes first introduced me to the site, there were about fifteen ways listed to use a blog in the classroom.  When I checked back about five months later, the number had more than doubled, and I found an equal number of ideas for using other Web 2.0 technology in the classroom.

The best feature on this blog is the “Interesting Ways” page which lists different types of technology and lessons using it.  Teachers can add ways that they have used specific technology in their classrooms, so the choices keep expanding.  I looked at blogs and found teachers using them to inspire students to write by creating top 10 lists, such as imaginative reasons for not doing homework, or by linking to an author’s website.  Others teachers used their blogs in conjunction with other web applications such as Vocaroo, http://vocaroo.com/ for recordings or quizzes with Quizbox, http://www.quizbox.com/builder/.  There were also many uses for Wordle.  A Wordle wall could help ELLs learn vocabulary or a Wordle walk could be used to introduce a story.  There are also ideas for Prezi, Wallwisher, Twitter, and Google tools.  “Interesting Ways” includes suggestions for other tools as well such as iPads, iPods, mobile phones, pocket cameras, and web conferencing.

While exploring Tom Barrett’s blog, I discovered that “Contact” is a page for comments and questions from other educators about technology in the classroom.  Posts are organized by topics.  A search of “VoiceThread” led to various ways that teachers use this tool in combination with other technology.  The blog posts also include some technical advice.

Among the links in the presentations he’s given, under the “Writing + Courses” tab, I found an article about using Twitter in the classroom.  He surveyed his followers about the chance of snow where they lived and used the results in a lesson about math and geography.  http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2009/10/01/01twitter.h03.html . Another article offers lesson ideas for using flip video cameras in the classroom at different grade levels.  http://www.nmk.co.uk/articles/1156 . Unfortunately, not all of the links on this page work.

“Maths Maps” includes diversified and engaging tasks that could readily be differentiated for ELLs.  One was “13 Addition Activities in Adelaide.” http://goo.gl/vapMr .

“Curriculum Catalyst” lists a few topics to which teachers can add lesson ideas using reading, writing, math, and science.  One example is “Endangered Species.”  http://bit.ly/92KS5B .

Tom Barrett’s blog is well-organized and worth exploring for ideas about using technology in the classroom.  To keep up with additions to this site, you may choose to follow him on Twitter or get e-mail notices of new posts. 

Marilyn Pongracz is the Technology Coordinator for NJTESOL/NJBE and the English Language Resource Center Supervisor at Bergen Community College. She may be reached at mpongracz@njtesol-njbe.org .