Saturday, September 6, 2014

In Praise of Free Tech 4 Teachers

I just finished writing a thank you note to Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers, and then I decided I should also add a note here. Over the summer of 2014 I sat down every morning with my Raisin Bran and iPhone, and read through Richard's half-dozen or so new articles offering "free tech tools" for teachers on his blog. I consider it his labor of love, I wondered (in my email to him) how he manages to find the time, and I simply offered a word of thanks for all the time-saving tools he's shared with me over the past couple of years. If you're reading this, do yourself a favor and click on the link to his blog. Subscribe via email updates and sift through his daily updates, using what you find helpful. I click on "share" and pass the best stuff on to Evernote for later reading and checking-out.

Over the summer I was able to add a few add-on tools to my Google Drive arsenal, making my assignment and project workflow move even more efficiently between me, my students, and back again. I can now give my kids an online quiz or offer them a few reflection questions after sharing a short video with them, and get the results of their answers delivered to me. Multiple choice questions are graded and delivered with "item analysis", so I know which of the questions gave my class-as-a-whole the most trouble. Armed with that data prior to my next class session, I can focus my attention on the area(s) most in need of my attention and move past those areas that the kids have already mastered. This is just one area of growth for me over the summer, thanks to the resources that Richard has shared with all of us.

Today, I made a Google Custom Search Engine after reading Richard's latest articles. Now, my students and their parents can search my website for the document or video they need. I also did the same for our school website which is in need of a facelift. In the meantime, at least I can find the stuff I need quickly and easily thanks to Google and thanks to Richard Byrne.

As you can see, it was a productive summer for me. Now, if I can just find the time during the school year to keep plowing through all this good and free tech!

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