Three Tech Recommendations for New Teachers (and Reminders for Others)

About a month ago I was a guest on a podcast. The interviewer asked me for three things that I’d share with new teachers or any teacher who is looking to build their edtech tool kit. I know he was looking for three brand-name tools, but I took the question in a little different direction (by the way, the podcast should be released soon and I’ll post it on my blog when it’s available). Here’s what I shared:

Brush-up on Your Search Skills

Conducting a good search is more than just picking the right keywords. Take some time to learn what Google’s advanced refinement options do. For example, refining a search by filetype just might take you to that awesome lesson plan idea you’ve been looking for. It’s how I found this cool STEM resource and at the very least it will get you away from endless TPT links.

At the start of every search workshop or webinar I teach I remind people to ask your school or public librarian for help. They can help you and your students access materials that you didn’t even know existed and ask you questions that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. While you’re visiting your library, ask the librarian for a copy of Dan Russell’s The Joy of Search.

Create an Email System

Messaging apps like Seesaw might be popular, but email is still the most-used electronic communication tool. If you don’t have a good system for handling your inbox, you can quickly get overwhelmed by it. Implementing even a couple of “hacks” like using message templates and automatic filtering can help you stay on top of your inbox.

Start Writing

I started writing Free Technology for Teachers fifteen years ago as a way to document the cool things I was finding and trying in my classroom. I’m not saying that you need to write a blog (that’s so 2012 in the age of TikTok), but take time every week to write down what went well and what didn’t go well in your classroom. It’s a great exercise in self-reflection, it will help you prepare for discussions with your supervisors about observations they’ve made, and it will give you something to refer to next year when you need a lesson plan idea. Put your writing somewhere that you can easily search through it. A Google Drive folder or OneNote notebook is good for that. Creating a blog is even better.

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!

50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integrators, and media specialists in mind. In it you’ll find 50 ideas and tutorials that you can use as the basis of your own short PD sessions. Get a copy today!