Photo by Wagsom Dog Gifted students thrive on the novel, but there comes a point when I feel like I’ve used up all my interesting ideas. Who has the time and memory to keep fresh, new ideas flowing?
Here are my top five free tools to quickly discover (and easily keep track of) new ideas:
This is my number one way of stumbling across interesting ideas. If you’re unfamiliar with an RSS Reader, it keeps track of your favorite websites and shows you only new updates. Rather than checking twenty different sites, I just head to Google Reader and scroll through the latest from the sites I enjoy. I can ‘star’ outstanding posts and skip past those that don’t interest me.
You can follow Byrdseed.com in Google Reader using the RSS Feed.
Delicious stores your favorite websites as bookmarks online. Besides being a convenient way to access your own bookmarks from any computer, Delicious also lets you share and browse others’ bookmarks.
I can even follow just Dan Meyer’s bookmarks tagged with math.
The most exciting part is that each page has an RSS feed that I can subscribe to using Google Reader. When anyone adds a new gifted bookmark to Delicious, I see it on Google Reader.
After a hard drive fail, I realized that I needed a better backup system. Dropbox is simple and free way to keep your files safe. Anything you put into your ‘dropbox’ folder is automatically uploaded and safely stored on Dropbox’s server. Plus, if you install Dropbox on multiple computers (say your home computer and work laptop) Dropbox automatically makes sure you have the latest files on BOTH computers. No more carrying files in a flash drive.
Evernote is like my digital notebook. I store webpages, PDFs, digital photos, scanned images, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Like Dropbox, Evernote syncs all of my information to multiple computers (and cell phones) and saves it all on their servers.
An amazing bonus feature is the ability to ‘read’ text in images and PDFs. So if I take a photo that has writing in it, Evernote recognizes the writing as text. This makes it very easy to search and find anything I’m looking for.
Evernote has a million uses, read their website for more information.
Twitter is a way of communicating using tiny, 140 character messages. There is a thriving community of educators, parents and advocates supporting gifted children on Twitter. To get started, try searching Twitter.com for messages with the tag #gifted. Every Friday there is an online chat under the tag #gtchat led by Deborah Mersino of Ingeniosus.net. Twitter is a great way to find inspiration for your classroom. Keep track of me on Twitter at ByrdseedGifted.
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