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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.

Huggy, the bear in charge, all these years later.

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

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. 

Made with Padlet

Symbaloo

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.

Click on the image to go to the Symbaloo site and access this webmix.

Pinterest

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.)

Google Docs

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.

Click on the image to go to the doc. Please help me add to my list!

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.

Resources

Padlet

Symbaloo

Pinterest

Google Docs

 

Giveaway Information:

  • 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.)
  • For a chance to win this copy of Welcome to Writing Workshop, please leave a comment about this or any blog post in this blog series by Sunday, May 5th at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Melanie Meehan will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number. His/her name will be announced in the ICYMI blog post for this series on Monday, May 6th.
  • Please leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so Melanie can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.   From there, our contact at Stenhouse will ship the book to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, Betsy will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – WELCOME TO WRITING WORKSHOP within five days of receipt. A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

 

19 thoughts on “Digitally Organizing Your Resources: Strengthening Professional Learning Leave a comment

  1. I have tried all of these methods to help me organize my resources and I find it interesting how often I change my organizational tool. I’ve decided that my tool changes depending on what resources I’m trying to organize. My NEW favorite organizational tool is now Wakelet. This is very Pinterest-like BUT I can easily pull images, video, Twitter, websites into collections easily with the use of the Chrome extension. Collections can be made either public or private. Total win-win….. for now 🙂

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  2. Thanks so much for ways to store digital resources for professional learning. This is on my To Do List – so timely. Thank you!

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  3. THANK YOU! I have been struggling with organization of information and I really like the look of Symbaloo. Definitely something I will be looking into.

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  4. Thank you for this post. Organizing digital resources has always been a challenge for me. I’m definitely going to try out Symbaloo and rethink how I am using my Padlet account!

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  5. Thank you for the organizing tips! I never thought to use Padlet for gathering my resources.. Truly appreciate your sharing. 🙂

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  6. What great ideas. I usually send myself an email with a link to the specific blog/article/webpage, but then my inbox gets completely unmanageable. I’m looking forward to trying some of these \\suggestions.

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  7. Thanks for the recommendations! Symbaloo is new to me and might be helpful! I also like the google doc of blogs. I always feel like I may be missing great blog posts, if I don’t happen to see them. I did create a profile at BlogLove, which I think also does this…

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  8. Thank you for the reminder about Padlet! I currently use an e-mail folder, but even that is in need of some sub-folders. I have a Padlet account and really need to take the time to explore it so I feel more comfortable with it, as I think it would really helpful to me to access resources quickly and efficiently.

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  9. Thanks for the tips – I hadn’t thought about using a padlet. I’ve just begun exploring using Google Keep. A colleague recently shared how she was using it. I’m anxious to explore a couple of new options.

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  10. I appreciate all of your tech suggestions, Kathleen. I’ve deferred to my personal Pinterest boards a lot, but not everything I want to save has an associated image. (Plus, I often don’t refer back to Pinterest.) Having other alternatives is helpful.

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  11. I am so glad you posted this. I have the same problem. I will find something I LOVE and then a week later I can’t remember where I put the link. I will definitely try using some of your suggestions to help organize the plethora of information. Thanks!

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