After experimenting with Planboard I thought it was a tool which was very easy to use. It is set up much like the traditional paper plan book, but provides the benefits of being paperless and easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. For this reason I could see it being incredibly useful in the case of substitute teachers so they could have access to the teachers plan even though the teacher may not have expected to be absent on the given day. Along with the lesson plan itself it is also possible to attach documents to any given lesson.
Another feature worth noting about Planboard is their standards tool. This tool allows the teacher to type in keywords of what they are looking for and pulls up the relevant standards. Additionally, Planboard allows for easy exporting of material including saving as a pdf, emailing, and printing the material. My one concern about this app is that it is only free for up to 500mb of space. Once that space is filled they recommend upgrading to a pro account which costs $30 for a year. This makes me curious to see what else is out there in terms of online lesson planning.
In module one we covered a number of interesting topics, one of which was Google for Educators. I felt the lesson plan area of this website was particularly useful for a number of reasons. Being able to narrow the search by both age range and subject make it easy to find the right plan. I also felt they had a very organized and useful list of educator resources.
Another online resource we learned about in module one was SkyDrive. Upon first being introduced to SkyDrive I was very excited because it seemed like it would be a very simple way to share documents between computers. Once put into practice however I didn’t find it as easy as I had hoped. This was due to the fact that it did not seem to work well with files I saved to my SkyDrive folder on my computer. It operated much smoother when I used the online version, but I felt that was the extra step I was trying to cut out using the program so it likely isn’t something I’ll use frequently in the future.
In module two we learned about Google Drive which I am much more likely to use than SkyDrive. In addition to being a great way to be able to access documents from anywhere with an internet connection, I felt it was beneficial because of the ability to share documents with others. I love this feature because it allows multiple people to work collaboratively on the same document.
Another module two resource I found incredibly useful was Prezi. While I had used it once or twice before, it was incredible to see how much it had changed since the last time I had. The number of templates added were a nice feature, and increased the ease of Prezi greatly. It’s always great to have an alternative to Power Point as well. By altering the type presentation it will help to keep things more interesting.
Module three dealt with Smart Notebook which I found to be incredibly interesting. This software provides so many opportunities for students to become more involved in the lesson. In the past my interaction with Smart Boards has always been limited to the teacher using the markers and occasionally tapping on it to click. I can now see so many opportunities, however. By designing my own lesson, I found there are so many ways to get the students to interact with the Smart Board. Whether it is accomplished my having students accomplish tasks such as matching items to the correct term or playing a game like “Whack-A-Mole”the opportunities are endless.
Finally, module four was on mobile education. Having very limited experience with iPads previously, it was interesting to see there were so many ways to use them in the classroom. There are apps such as Prezi for the iPad which naturally the benefit was immediately obvious for but others such as Mobile Mouse I had never heard of before but seem incredibly useful to me. With new Apps being developed all the time, it is definitely something to keep looking into.