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Great IT tools that schools and teachers can use

September 9, 2009

Being in the software industry we realized that there are a lot of applications we use on a daily basis that could benefit teachers and administration at schools too. This week we’re going to focus on FREE applications that you can find on the internet.

There are a lot of applications available for free on the internet. Educators, specially teachers can benefit from using them at school or even at home. Some of the tools we’ve covered are Google Calendar, Freemind and Picnik. Read the full article to check out the web services that we recommend you use.

Being in the software industry we realized that there are a lot of applications we use on a daily basis that could benefit teachers and administration at schools too. This week we’re going to focus on FREE applications that you can find on the internet.

There are a lot of applications available for free on the internet. Educators, specially teachers can benefit from using them at school or even at home. We hope you find the following list useful:

Workspace Applications

Google Docs is an online workspace application that provides a free Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and form application. Teachers are allowed to create and edit school related documents online while collaborating in real-time with other teachers within the application itself. The documents can be saved to the teachers’ computer in a variety of formats and can be accessed by anyone who has been given access. More on the updates of this application can be found at http://googledocs.blogspot.com/. You can access Google Docs here. Below is an example of one of Google’s templates for a budget planner:

 

Screenshot of Google Docs Spreadsheet

Screenshot of Google Docs Spreadsheet

For more templates, go to http://docs.google.com/templates?hl=en

Freemind this desktop application allows you to create or edit a hierarchical set of ideas around a central concept. The non-linear approach allows you to brainstorm new projects with ideas being added around the mind map. Here’s an example of how a school teacher might use it for her lesson plans:

freemind-lessonplans

Given that brainstorming is essential in every learning environment, this application is great for use in the classroom as well as for sharing ideas with other teachers. You can download Freemind here.

 

Mindmeister.com is another application that allows you to create mind maps and this is a web-based service. With Mindmeister, teachers can have interactive brainstorming sessions with other teachers over the internet, specially when some of the teachers are not in town. In brainstorming mode, other users can simultaneously work on the same mind map and see each other’s changes as they happen. For more information, go to http://www.mindmeister.com/.

 

Classmarker.com is a tool to that allows you to design quizzes and test your students. Not only can examinations be timed but students can instantly find out how much they scored as soon as they’re done. Teachers using Classmarker would no longer need to spend weekends grading multiple-choice exams.

Schedules / To do lists / Organizers

Google Calendar is a web-service linked to your gmail that helps you organize your time, similar to a desktop calendar. It’s popular for it’s simplicity and ease of use as it allows you to view, add and drag-and-drop events from one date – all thise without reloading the page.  Here’s a sample of Google calendar’s view of your events on a weekly format

googlecalendaragenda

 

Teachers can organize their schedules and keep track of crucial events in one calendar. Plus, they can invite other people online to the events within the calendar without having to call or e-mail. Read more here.

RememberTheMilk.com is a great way for teachers to manage their tasks and to-do lists online. Teachers can view tasks located nearby, add and complete tasks on the go, organize upcoming tasks, and sync it all seamlessly. This application ensures that you’ll never misplace your To Do list because it’s always available online.

Screenshot of Remember The Milk

Screenshot of Remember The Milk

More updates can be found at http://www.rememberthemilk.com/.

Delicious.com is a social bookmarking service. There are two things that make this service great. Firstly, you can manage your own education related bookmarks as well as share them with your academic staff. Secondly, you can always research on what other educational sites are being bookmarked.

delicious

Educators can easily use this online platform as a central repository for all the material that they research on for lessons & research projects. An added advantage would be the ability to share these links with students and parents when needed. Click here to discover the service.

 

Pageflakes.com is an online application that allows you to personalize your homepage for your browser. Teachers can customize their homepage that enables them to pick the news and information feeds that they would love to read especially regarding the schools and students’ issues.

 

Online Communication and Networking

Gmail is a free webmail. One of many specialties of this service is that gmail tracks ‘conversations’. Each conversation consists of a string of emails sent using the same Subject header – therefore reducing the amount of clutter in your Inbox. More updates on the usage of Gmail can be read at Gmail’s blog http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/.

 

 

Meebo.com is a web based instant messaging service that allows you to communicate with your contacts without having to download any software. This online application enables you to communicate with any of your contacts on MSN, Yahoo, MySpace, AIM and your Meebo account easily. Great for teachers who don’t want to download any softwares on the machine they are using. Read more about Meebo here.

 

Screenshot of Meebo

Screenshot of Meebo

Ning.com is an application that allows teachers to create and join new social networks according to their interests and passions. The teachers are able to discuss or organize activities with their social networks here. They can also keep updated with the ongoing activities nearby and involve in those great activities. The blog http://blog.ning.com/ has a lot of information regarding this application.

Convert files

Zamzar.com is a free online file conversion that does not require you to download any software. All you need to do is upload the file, select the format you need it in and then submit it. The converted file gets sent back to you via email. Click here to read more.

 

Screenshot of Zamzar

Screenshot of Zamzar

Another alternative for file conversion would be ScreenToaster.com.

Sharing media

Flickr.com and Picnik.com are two applications that allow teachers to share photos of events and class activities over the internet. Albums can then be shared with faculty, students and parents.

 

For videos Youtube.com would be the ultimate platform to share. Besides class videos and performances, teachers can also opt to share education videos with peers and students.

Mediafire.com is a simplest free file hosting service that allows teachers to upload and share files and images with the other teachers.

 

Screenshot of Mediafire

Screenshot of Mediafire

Slideshare.net is a popular site for file sharing specially presentation slides. Considering that Powerpoint slides are being adopted as the medium of instruction in schools, Slideshare provides the perfect opportunity for teachers to share their lesson slides with the students taking the subject. For more information, go to http://blog.slideshare.net/.

 

Screenshot of Slideshare

Screenshot of Slideshare

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