How do you learn to use new tech tools? If you were a typical student- Just Google It! Google knows all. Actually, I think YouTube may be a better choice for many. All kidding aside- many times, I will just google it, knowing that I may have to sift through the results. But when I need to learn how to use a tech tool, aside from the youtube videos, there are some great training resources out there.
The Google Training Center offers courses, training, and certification at various levels- from Educator Level 1 all the way to Certified Innovator. These are self-paced, and of course- free! There are quizzes, etc... and perhaps we can talk to admin about getting some pdps, etc. for completing these courses- unless badges and the relentless pursuit of knowledge is enough to drive you.
If you want to learn more about how to use any particular Google tool- just try out some of their basic tool resources. The image is from their Training resources and offers discrete lessons that you can go through to learn more, and ideas from other educators about how they use these tools in the classroom.
One of the icons you may notice on the image to the right is for Synergyse. This is currently a chrome extension. Google acquired the company last spring. The way it works is pretty cool. It is "just in time" learning. If you enable the extension, and are working in docs, and have a question about how to do something- simply click the button and it can walk you through it. Here's a one minute video to show you a bit more about it.
Quick Go-To Experts
*Depending on what I need, I will check out:
* Richard Byrne's FreeTech4Teachers site (I get a daily update). Richard is a former social studies teacher in Maine. He keeps his site current, stays on top of new developments, posts useful videos, comparisons of tools and guides.
* EdTechTeacher- for innovative ideas for iPads in the classroom, as well as other stuff, or try Ctrl-Alt-Achieve- for more Google Chrome ideas.
Eric Curts' Ctrl Alt Achieve is my go-to site for all things chrome. He has excellent resources, recorded webinars and more. But if you just need chrome extensions? Try Kasey Bell's Chrome extension database. Google or chromebooks for special needs? Cannot go wrong with Mike Marotta's ChromeAT site.
Looking for more on specific topics?
By far, the most extensive online community and PD offerings for educators- aside from Google + groups, has to be edweb. There are communities for just about anything you can think of and free webinars practically every day. These are always recorded. You get a certificate for attending live and can earn one by watching a recorded webinar and taking a very short quiz. I just wish they still did google calendars.
Check out edweb.net!
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