Digitally Organizing Your Resources: Strengthening Professional Learning
I’ve always loved collections. As a little girl, I had a teddy bear collection consisting of bears in all shapes and sizes. Huggy, the bear-in-charge, led the crew. He was a little brown bear who I got at the age of three, and he became a life-long friend. As I got older, I began collecting stickers and charms for bracelets. By the time I was in high school, I began collecting quotes. I bought books of all different inspirational quotes and would type up my favorites, making books for friends and family.
When I became a teacher in 2001, my collecting habit centered around educational websites. The Internet still felt so new! I would make lists of websites I found and loved, pasting the hyperlinks in a Microsoft Word document for safe-keeping. The Virtual Vine was one of my favorite sites when I taught kindergarten and often one site would lead me to others. There were just so many resources available!
Fast-forward to 2019. If I thought there were so many resources in 2001, it’s hard to fathom how many sites, blog posts, articles, songs, images, videos, and more are available to teachers at any given moment. There are so many brilliant and generous educators creating and sharing their expertise, lessons, and ideas.
The challenge is how to keep it all organized and accessible!
We teachers have a lot of things- smarts, drive, heart, creativity, passion, flexibility….what we don’t have a lot of is TIME. We don’t have time to search for the idea we saw online last week but now can’t remember where. We don’t have time to search through our bookmarks to find the website we loved. We need an easily accessible collection of teaching resources and inspiration!
Ways to Digitally Organize Your Resources
Padlet is my top choice for organizing my resources. I like the visual layout and the different ways to post your links. I’ve chosen columns to separate different subject areas and categories of resources, such as educational bloggers to follow and podcasts. This is a work-in-progress! Please share in the comments any resources you think I should add to my Padlet.
According to the website, Symbaloo is “a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web.” The “webmix” you create is a personalized place for your favorite resources on the topic of your choice. Symbaloo users can search the gallery and find other webmixes that have been published, which is helpful as well. I’ve used Symbaloo to organize favorite websites my students visit . Recently, I created a webmix to share the previous TWT Author Spotlight posts.
I’ve been using Pinterest for many years now and many of my interests intersect here. I have Pinterest boards for specific subjects, grade levels, and then personal boards for my children, clothing, recipes, etc. Pinterest can sometimes take me down a rabbit hole, so it’s not my favorite way to store my teaching resources. However, I have found some wonderful boards that have helped me in my teaching practice (love Dr. Nicki Newton for all things math and her Pinterest boards are so helpful.)
This method of digitally organizing resources reminds me most of what I did years ago when I would copy and paste website URLs into Microsoft Word. In Google Docs, you can hyperlink names or images as a way to keep track of places you want to visit on the web. In this Doc, I started a list of Literacy bloggers whose posts I enjoy reading. The difference between Doc and a Microsoft Word document is I can share this publicly and others can contribute if I open the settings. Educators can also comment on what I’ve posted. This makes this method of organizing feel more collaborative.
Padlet, Symbaloo, Pinterest and Google Docs are some ways I organize my teaching resources digitally. What are some ways you keep your best resources a click away? Please share your favorite ways to organize your resources or any resources that you feel are MUSTS on any teacher’s list- however it may be organized.
- This giveaway is for a copy of Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging Today’s Students with a Model That Works. Thanks to Stenhouse Publishers for donating a copy for one reader. (You must have a U.S. mailing address to win a print copy of this book.)
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