The ‘Interesting Ways’ Series
One of the most current and useful resources that you’ll find for ideas on how to use technology in education is the ‘Interesting Ways’ series, which is the brainchild of Tom Barrett (follow him on Twitter at @tombarrett) and which can be found on Tom’s blog at http://edte.ch/blog/interesting-ways/. The ‘Interesting Ways’ series is a fantastic resource for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that they are really useful and packed full of practical ideas on how to use a number of different technologies for educational purposes. You’ll find ideas on how to use web-based resources such as blogs, Prezzi and Google docs, to ideas on how to use devices such as Interactive Whiteboards, iPads and Nintendo DSs. There are also presentations on less (or non) technology-related issues, such as getting to know a new class, making your classroom a sparkly place to learn, and teaching reading comprehension in the classroom.
A second reason is that the series is continually expanding, both in terms of the number of presentations themselves and the number of interesting ways within each presentation. For instance, the most recent presentation – using Google forms in the classroom, which brings the total number of presentations to 29 – was initiated only a couple of hours ago and is already up to 22 ideas. Similarly, the presentation on Wordle (which contained 43 interesting ways a few months ago when I wrote on word clouds for education) has now grown to 50. In this regard, the series highlights the fact that both new resources, and new ideas for using these resources in the classroom, are continually emerging through teachers’ experimentation, creativity and perseverance, and as they emerge they can be shared with others.
One of the most attractive aspects of the series is that it is an excellent example of using the web for collaborative authoring and sharing. While Tom has obviously contributed his own ideas to the various presentations, a number of other teachers and educationalists have also submitted theirs. In each case the author of the idea is credited (usually using their Twitter name, making it easy to ‘follow’ them) and the collective work is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Each presentation is compiled and shared using Google docs, an ideal platform for collaborative authoring, distribution and access from a wide number of platforms and devices. The end result is an ‘Interesting Ways’ resource that is freely available to all.
If you haven’t already discovered the ‘Interesting Ways’ series, head on over to Tom’s blog and take a look. And even if you are already aware of it, why not take another look? There’s probably a new idea or two there since you last checked