Guest Post by: Lynn Usrey
It’s summertime, and all good teachers are working on becoming better teachers. Maybe you’re looking for some new tools to make the teaching process easier or more effective? The tools are out there; the web is full of sites that claim to do just that. Who has time to investigate all these sites? I do, and below are some that I really like.
Studyblue is great for students and for teachers. This bountiful website has a fantastic library of flashcards right at your fingertips. Whether you teach 7th grade math or neurobiology, you’ll find flashcards relevant to your teaching. As a teacher, you can quickly create a flash card deck to guide your students’ studying. Or, have students create their own flash card deck and count it as an assignment. No more searching for 3×5 cards or tearing paper into squares. Students can use STUDYBLUE in groups or individually. Apps are available for both iPhone and android formats.
Recently, I wanted to extend my area of certification to include middle school social studies. I relied on SCMOOP to study for the test, and honestly, it provided excellent source material and reliable background information. But SCHMOOP is so much more: lessons, test preparation guides, videos, study guides, flashcards, and it’s all written in an extremely accessible conversational tone. Gone is the dry and boring textbook fodder. Students will enjoy reading and studying on SCHMOOP, I know I did. I highly recommend SCHMOOP for students who need to fill in gaps where they might have missed information on both the high school and college level.
Today’s teachers need TEACHERS.IO to keep their students (and parents) on track. This site offers you a beautiful way to share your lesson plans, syllabus, and assignments with your students. Students can access this ‘blog’ for the information on tablets, phones, or laptops. Or, if you already have a website, you can include TEACHERS.IO by using a widget. Every assignment, every test, even handouts can be found on the site. Once you set it up, you’ll wonder how you managed without it.
As a writing teacher, I rely on UNPLAG to make sure my students are not plagiarizing, either accidentally or intentionally. In is little as 4 seconds per page, I can check the sources of a paper. It’s really that quick! And, it does not really matter how the paper is formatted. Any format will work. Once students upload the paper, I can scan it and return it to them for revision. I can also use it as a teaching tool so students can learn how NOT to plagiarise. As a parent of a college student, I make sure my daughter uses UNPLAG when she is writing her research papers. It takes some of the stress out of writing for her and she can be confident that when she turns in her paper, it is not plagiarized. Used by high schools and colleges across the country, it also has the ability to work with your current Learning Management System (LMS) as an add-on. Sign up for their free trial; you will love UNPLAG.
You might wonder how RESCUETIME.com can make teaching easier, but it can. RESCUETIME is popular with writers and those whose businesses require daily time on the Internet, but it has applications for educators as well. RESCUETIME basically catalogues how you spend time working online. It analyzes your habits, the sites you visit, email time, etc. Then it gives you a report that you can use to be more productive and efficient. As we all know, more and more of an educator’s job requires him or her to be online. Whether we are creating documents or researching a subject, we do it online. One feature blocks non-productive sites for times when you need to get work done and the temptation of e-shopping or social media is too great. I think we can all relate. Students should use this, too!
The school planner is passé. MYHOMEWORK app is the way. We all know that students never go anywhere without their phones. To be honest, I don’t either. With the MYHOMEWORK app, students can keep up with their assignments and due dates with ease. The app does so much more than the old planner. It is simple for students to add projects, tests, and other assignments. And, if you use TEACHER.IO, your students can sync assignments automatically. No more excuses for your students.
Teaching students to write an outline can be painful, for both teacher and student. Honestly, many students do not have the skills to outline on a word document. Sometimes, I have trouble too, trying to get the levels correct. It can be a nightmare. But QUICKLYST.APPSPOT.com takes the struggle out of the time-consuming chore and makes it simple. And face it; students still need to know how to outline, for writing, projects, and speeches, etc. Outlining is a great way to organize thoughts and ideas. Give it a try you’ll use it, too.
Google and education go together like sugar and spice, so it’s no wonder that GOOGLE CLASSROOM is a boon to educators around the globe. GOOGLE CLASSROOM is a one-stop site where you can plan, store, and implement your lessons. GOOGLE CLASSROOM supports communication in a classroom. It supports discussion and email. Also, students can work collaboratively or independently and submit their work to you easily and securely. I use GOOGLE DOCS all the time and am looking forward to moving ahead with GOOGLE CLASSROOM. Check it out.
Author Bio: Lynn Usrey, a freelance writer and editor. Also Lynn runs writing course in Orlando, Florida. See her About.me page.