I recently attended the New York City Dept. of Education Technology Summit at LaGuardia High School. I went to the summit to learn about the material that was out there for me to use with my students in the technology lab. Having never been to a Tech Summit before I had no clue what to expect, what I was going to see, or how many other people were going to be there. What I got was a very well-organized and a little too crowded for my taste day filled with networking, learning, and almost 10,000 steps on my pedometer.
As I walked into the summit I slowly began to adjust to the noise, tables and mass amounts of pens and candy. Yes candy, every table had candy as the prize for stopping and talking with the sales people and listening to their sales pitch for a few minutes. Some of the vendors were very knowledgeable and could answer any question I threw at them. The question I asked the most was “Is there a free trial?” and that was after they had all tried to convince me that spending anywhere between $1000 and $4000 for the school year was worth it. There were several wonderful tables with useful material, colorful flyers and animated sales representatives, and then there were the tables that I purposely went to see because I was thinking about the needs of my students, and my school community.
The Google Apps for Education table was one of the last tables that I visited, but helped me the most with the questions that I had. My school is switching over to Google Classroom this year, and I am in charge of setting it up. The representative that I spoke with was knowledgeable and friendly. He was able to show me how to add teachers to the website, explain why the set-up process was so tedious and give me the clearest directions for setting up my school. For those of you who do not know, Google Apps For Education is a FREE program available to schools around the world. It has “all the tools that schools need to be productive and work together.”
Check out this YouTube Video Google For Education 101 (in 101 seconds)
News-O-Matic was one of the first tables that I did not set out to visit that caught my eye. This website is a daily news publication on a variety of grade levels. They publish several articles across the grade levels Monday-Friday all year-long. Yes, all year-long!!! I had the pleasure of meeting Russell Kahn, the Editor-in-Chief of News-O-Matic. He gave me a wonderful demonstration of how the website works and made sure that I knew without asking that they were willing to work with schools and offered free trials. I was so excited after leaving the table I made sure to put his business card in my wallet so that I could hand it off to my Principal in a few weeks. In addition to the daily publications on the website they are available in the App stores. I downloaded the FREE trial app that gave me access to publications for grades 3 and 4 dating back to July 11. Again this is the #EdTech that I am taking back to my principal.
Check out this YouTube video All About News-O-Matic
I have been a huge fan of Lynda.com for several years now. I first came across the site through my best friend. He introduced me to the website by telling me “They have the best training videos on everything you could ever want to learn.” I checked it out with their FREE 10-day trial and was instantly hooked on the website. They really do have videos on everything you could ever want to learn about that involves technology. What I didn’t know was that they have an education package. It’s a group rate for educators and schools so that they can use the videos in their classrooms. Lynda.com is great even if you are super busy and only have 20 minutes to watch an educational video. You can watch as little or as long as you want and come back to it at another time. Self-help at its finest!
Some of their excellent videos to use in Education are…
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Adobe Photoshop
- Educational Technologies
- Google Apps For Education
- Getting Started with Schoology
As an educator I am always looking for new sources of online reading material. My school has been using Reading A-Z and Raz Kids, which is are subdivisions of www.learningA-Z.com for many years but it’s not a resource that all of the teachers in my school use. So I wanted to see what they were offering that was new and inviting. From the speech that the sales rep gave me, it doesn’t seem like anything too new but they really don’t need to be new. They have just about every genre of reading that an elementary school teacher could ask for, because “they are the ‘just-right reading’ source” For those of you who have never heard of them here are some of the fabulous features they do offer that you can find during their 14-day FREE trial.
- Reading levels for PreK-6th Grade
- Read aloud features
- Downloadable and printable books
- Color copies and black and white copies—great for coloring pages
- Projection view–yes you can project the books onto your Smart Board
Check out this YouTube Video Learning A-Z Intro
There were many other tables, booths and workshops available to me throughout the day. If you have never heard of any or all of these #EdTechs I hope that you check them out. Don’t forget to let me know what you think.