I remember my first days of teaching, when I would stay up late into the night, surrounded by binders divided by subject, class and year. I’m not sure if I was one that was a bit OCD—but let’s be real, every teacher has to be. Classes need plans. They need to be organized. However, in today’s world, a teacher lugging around stacks of binders is a sight to see, and quite frankly: pointless.
The things that students (and ideally teachers) should think about is organizing what can be found on the web—virtual resources. From iPads, to email, to laptops, teachers should be able to check their email and more importantly, their lesson plans from just about anywhere. So how will you set up your ‘virtual 3 ring binder’? Here are the top resources from my binder, if you have any other resources, sound off in the comments below!
Let’s start with To-Do Lists. As a teacher, it is always important to keep track of what you need to do. Luckily for us, there are many useful online resources that will help you remember that you need to bring the eggs for your latest science project.
- Astrid: This is an app available for both Android and iOS. This is the perfect web app to help you manage what you have to do. You can also sync and share your calendar with other users, see what you have to do on your phone or email, and it’s all free!
- Wunderlist: If you want an app that is completely customizable, this is great! This app will really help you finish your tasks, but reminding you about them, and checking them off when you said you completed them. No more forgetting about bringing construction paper!
- Toodledo: This is probably the most robust of the to-do list apps. You can access your calendar from just about anywhere. You can even complete, add, and manage to-dos from your email! And it’s totally free!
Keep in the Know
The next things that you should put in your binder are resources that will keep you in the know-how. One of the best ways to do this is by installing an aggregator? What is an aggregator you ask? It is a type of web tool that aggregates, or pulls a bunch of things together in one place for you. It is also called a RSS feed, which is known as Really Simple Syndication.
Google Reader is one of the most popular, and easiest to use of the newsreaders.
Feedly can be used as an add-on for Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and can also be used for Android and iOS. You can use this to access your streams on all your platforms.
Reeder, to never stay out of the loop, this is a great newsreader app for all of the Mac lovers out there.
Online File Storage
Storing your files online is the next thing that you should put in your “binder”. All of these tools can help you find your tools anytime, whether it be on your computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. There are tons of file-hosting services that are free, and some also let you share your documents. Be aware that many services do charge/penalize your for exceeding the megabytes downloaded by others from your public folder.
- Dropbox This is arguably the best service around. You can run your Dropbox on all your applications, and even create documents for your students to download. There is a 2GB limit, which is free, but you can upgrade to more storage.
- SkyDrive This is an online file storage created by Microsoft that starts with 7GB of storage. It can be used anywhere.
- Box This starts you off with 5GB of storage and you can share links with colleagues and even folders.
- Evernote This is a great tool that is a different than the three above. This is an all-inclusive web tool, where you can take notes, store notes, email your texts, and a huge slew of other helpful things.
Resource tools allow you to gather information, organize it, add your thoughts and share with others. This is different from other tools because you can arrange things how you like and then share it.
- Educlipper This is a great site that is dedicated to students and educators. You can add articles, images, audio, and share your clipboards with other educators for the world. Think: it’s almost like Pinterest for teachers!
- Pinterest This is one of the most popular curation tool. You can find useful websites, articles, and ‘pin’ them to your boards. Take a look at this board, Technology in the Classroom, and there are tons of resources.
- BagTheWeb This site lets you create “bags” of information for yourself or others. They even have a page which gives you ideas how to use their tool in the classroom. They have some good ideas!
- Weebly This site lets you create a web page where you can organize information, attach files, embed content, and even create weblink lists. Take advantage of their free education version that lets you allot Weebly accounts to your student. You could potentially create a web site for each of your classes!
Now that you have your 3 ring binder, what about other people that can help you organize it even more? Here are the top 8 educators on Twitter that can help you with organizing your thoughts, lesson plans, and can even give you more tips on teaching!
- Steve Reifman: @stevereifman
- David Hilton: @MisterHistory
- Alfredo Reyes: @teachtechie
- Nick Daws: @nickdaws
- John Goldsmith: @cyberjohn07
- Emily Starr: @StarrMatica
- Nancy Carroll: @ncarroll24
- Kimberly Wagner: @CheekyLitTeach
Instead of your real three-ring binder being filled to the max with papers and dividers, now you have a stuffed binder that you can literally take anywhere you go!