The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide

Professional Productivity

  • It’s time to use productivity tools like electronic calendar, address book, and to-do lists. No doubt your school has a student information system for attendance, grade reporting, and demographic information. Be sure to learn as much as you can about what it can do. If your school doesn’t provide a course management system like Blackboard, you can use Moodle, which is open-source and free. This can also foster parent involvement as can email, Facebook fan pages, and other social media tools like Twitter. In addition to a school website, each teacher can have their own as can each student. There is no reason why parents can’t have access to detailed information about assignments and progress. (Dr. Doug: You may need some kind of outreach for parents without home access.)
  • All teachers should have facility with word processing and web browsing. Then its on to graphics and photo editing tools, presentation software, and perhaps spreadsheets. Doug gives advice about how slideshows can be effective or not. Be sure your content is stored on the Internet somewhere so you can access it at school, at home, or anywhere. Online collaboration using wikis or Google Docs is another area to explore. (Dr. Doug: I recently taught a course where I used no paper and accepted no paper assignments. This may not be possible for young students but you can use it as a goal.)
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