We had our last Instructional Technology Specialist meeting of the year. It always amazes me how much is out there on the Internet, as well as all of the tools that are available. We shared a few different concepts and ideas at the meeting that my co-worker and I thought would be of interest. We started out by showing the group the concept of Podcasts and one example that related to our audience. I think that it is kind of funny that something that is promoted by a VJ from MTV could be used by teachers in the classroom. We also shared the governments FREE resource for educators. This site has a ton of information from over 30 different government organizations. This is a great site for finding resources for WebQuests, web based activities, or learning extensions for students. There were also a lot of different activities that were interactive explorations or simulations of concepts. The best part of course is that is free and available on the web. We also showed a web site that has teacher created lessons available from the Madison Oneida BOCES here in New York. The site is similar to the area that we are creating that would allow teachers to see what is being done in our local 10 component districts in relation to the use of technology.
Weather Underground was also something that was shown. This site allows students to explore different weather concepts and see real live data. Of course there are the mandatory pop ups and adds on the site, but there is also a lot of interesting information on the site that a Earth science teacher might be able to use in their classroom. The entire site is devoted to the weather. It is really neat, even to a social studies guy like me!
The last two things that were of some interest were Adobe's Classroom in a Book publications. Adobe actually allows educators to download free copies of these materials for use in the class. Of course you have to agree to an end users agreement so that you aren't making millions of these copies. Someone from the group also shared the Voice Over IP program called Skype which is a free. This is also of interest to me since the company that has created this is the same people that created Kazzaa, the Peer to Peer file sharing application. Now with a lot of phone companies and ISPs opening up to this technology it will be interesting to see where it goes, especially as cell phones with this capability start to emerge.
This was a great meeting in my book we really had a nice time sharing information like this with the rest of our group, and hopefully we can make this a staple of these meetings.