Sunday, October 5, 2014

My "Go To" Sites For Hints, Resources & Inspiration

I love books. Love them. But my schedule (and budget!) is such that I have to be strategic about committing to reading books or subscribing to journals. Sure, I can go to the library, but those visits typically happen only when I know exactly what I'm looking for, when I have a title or author in mind. But I frequently surf Internet, browsing resources as they were appetizers at a buffet. Who'm I kidding. I'm on the web a lot. Here are two social media sites and my latest "go-to" web page I consult when looking for quick tips or a bit of inspiration. 

Twitter: I use TweetDeck on my laptop, a Twitter app that lets me manage the different hashtags and tweeters I follow. It's like a regular Twitter, but with multiple channels I can see on a single screen, each channel devoted to a hashtag I follow. I have #SDWAP on my dashboard. And I follow plenty of teachers and educational bloggers: TeachThought, ReadWriteThinkEdutopia and Eduslam. I'm a newbie at Twitter, and I'm happy to say that my time online is so much more productive now that I "get it". 

Pinterest: This social media site makes my top three because I go to it for very focused searches, when I look for inspiration. When I find myself wanting to decompress or relax but don't want to feel like I'm wasting my time, I'll log on to Pinterest. My recent searches? Written fluency, rhetoric, composition, and inferences. The majority of the pins that I find are K-6, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how much there is to "steal" from my colleagues who teach elementary school. 

Teaching Naked: This is the companion website for Jose Bowen's book of the same name. I read his book for a professional development program last year and was blown away by Bowen's project, leveraging digital media and technology to make the most of our time in class. He is not talking about using technology in class. Instead, he urges educators to consider how to use tech outside the classroom (to deliver content, assign projects, assess learning) to free up class time for teachers to coach and facilitate students' learning. 

The provocative phrase has to do with teachers moving away from simply delivering content during class time and instead having us demonstrate to our students how we think and solve problems from our discipline. The teaching naked approach makes visible how we ask questions, solve problems, and otherwise apply the procedural knowledge of our fields - in front and beside our students, i.e., what flipped classrooms allow teachers to do. The site provides enough of a glimpse into what Bowen advocates to be useful even if you havn't read his book. His site makes the top three because I've been referring to his site a bit lately, refreshing my memory.