25 February 2012

Weekend Update 4

The Technology Integration Committees want to thank everyone for their support over the last couple of weeks. We are approaching the 5000 page view mark (currently at 4855!) and should top it easily in the closing days of the month.  Hopefully everyone has had a chance to read all of the posts and have started integrated the different web tools into their lessons.

Normally here is where we give some important stats about the blog, but we have just of cruised for the last week, gradually growing each day.  But, I do want to announce we have added another CONTINENT to our following:  Australia!  So, a hearty G'Day, Mates, from Middletown, NJ, USA!!

When selected the tools for this challenge, we had 3 conditions: easy to use, immediate implementation, and FREE.  Well, there is a great blog that we would like to focus on for this update and that is FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) is a Social Studies teacher in Maine and runs this blog as a way to expose teachers to as many free resources as possible.  EduBlogs honored his site as the 2010 Winner for Best Resource Sharing Blog and 2011 Winner for Best Ed Tech Blog.   36,000 people view his blog every day!  Byrne is a Google Certified Teacher and has a number of Google Apps tutorials on his site as well.

As you will see when you visit the site, his current week's list of resources includes:
Flipping Your Classroom With Free Web Tools
Creative Interactive Bulletin Boards
Web 2.0 Collaborative Projects for Middle School

But our favorite part of the site is his list of Favorite Resources.  One of the most important ones (and #2 on his list) is the Super Book of Web Tools For Educators.  This an extensive list of tools that can be used in all areas of education and an absolute must for any educator looking to increase the level of technology and student involvement in class.

Take a look at FreeTech4Teachers.com and let us know what you found.  We love to read all of the comments (all 366 of them!) that are left on the blog.  Have a great weekend!


  1. I have been following Richard Byrne's Free Tech 4 Teachers blog for a couple of years now and it has provided me with many ideas on implementing technology in my classroom. I highly recommend it. Some of my favorite tools were discovered through Byrne's blog suggestions: Animoto, Dropbox, and multiple Google apps such as Picassa and Sketchup. He also has a new blog for users of Android phones and tablets. I have been following that also and recently found my new favorite app for my Droid: CamScanner. Check it out...

  2. I had not heard of Richard Byrne's Free Tech 4 Teachers blog so I went and checked it out. It is similar to the Middletown Web Challenge yet dates back to 2007. I found this piece of advice from his first post to be most beneficial to me...

    "The biggest mistake I made was trying too many things at once. I was excited by everything the web had to offer (I still am) and tried too many things that I wasn't comfortable with or weren't as relevant to my students as I thought. The lesson here is get really comfortable with one or two simple applications and use those in your practice before trying more complex applications. By taking that approach you will find that most web applications are very similar. As you recognize similarities between applications the gradient of your learning curve will improve."

    There is so much out their for educators and I want to try them all, but it is overwhelming! I will be following this advice and stick to a few things and then add to my repertoire of technology one step at a time! As always...thank you for the wonderful information! :)

    1. Yes, Janet. I echo your feelings. As the saying goes "well begun is half done" and we have made a great start. Now we need to stay on it, but each to his/her own pace. We also can support and help each other. I think the exposure has been great and has given a lot of people the idea and impetus to try a few new things and do what they do a little differently. I am all about balance, and now I think it is important that we incorporate the new with what we have already found to be working well, rather than trying to replace everything else with the new technology. "Incorporate" is a key word. Balance is the most important philosophy to my way of thinking.

    2. I have been following the Middletown Web Challenge as a challenge for myself to begin using more technology with my students. Thank you Middletown Challenge Committee for helping me to take a giant step toward my goal! Although it is overwhelming, I am finding that I can actually manage simpler tasks such as creating blogs. With that being said, I believe that FreeTech4Teachers will be a good resource.

    3. I completely agree with Janet as well. We were discussing this at our most recent Science Department meeting--that it would work best if we could each become fluent at one new technology, then "pass it on" as it were, and teach each other. This way, it's not so overwhelming to integrate these technologies into our curricula.

  3. I like to go to this type of website (Free tools for teachers) to see examples of what others have done. It gives me ideas to start with and then put my own twist on it! thanks!

  4. wow! I'm excited to check out some of these ... I love lists of resources. I don't use everything at once, of course, but I keep them in the back of my mind and then the opportunity to put them to work arises and voila!

  5. Thank you Middletown Web Challenge. I hope this link remains on the MTBOE page so that I can refer back to it when I see a new opportunity to integrate technology into my classroom.