10 great media resources for educators

In today’s world of rapidly evolving gadgets and changing media, for it’s easy for educators — tasked with equipping the next generation with the skills they’ll need to succeed as adults — to feel daunted by the prospect of keeping up with technology. Here are 10 great resources for teachers with help for everything from staying informed to crafting lesson plans.

1. eSchoolNews (http://www.eschoolnews.com/)


eSchoolNews tracks technology news that impacts educators.

eSchoolNews tracks research and news about technology as it impacts educations. The site also links to resources and funding opportunities.

2. PBS Teachers (http://www.pbs.org/teachers/)

PBS Teachers

PBS' teachers portal offers resources for use in the classroom.

PBS Teachers is a trove of teaching resources and program information for PreK-12 educators. Teachers can also take advantage of PBS’ online professional development opportunities and discuss with other teachers in the site’s forums.

3. ARSU Curriculum Resources (https://sites.google.com/a/students.arsu.org/arsu-curriculum-resources/home)

ARSU Curriculum Resources

ARSU Curriculum Resources has something for everyone.

This collaborative site collects links to everything from resources for grade levels K-12, to information about SMART Boards and iPhone apps, to free software downloads. Of special interest is a page devoted to “Web 2.0 for All,” which includes a list, links and descriptions of various Web 2.0 technologies that can be useful in the classroom.

4. Tech Toolkit (http://apcoker.edublogs.org/)

Tech Toolkit

Tech Toolkit lives up to its name.

This site was developed by an instructional technology coach for a Georgia school system to share tools and tips with educators and parents alike. The site draws attention to curriculum resources, IWB resources and Web 2.0 tools.

5. High School Journalism Initiative (http://www.hsj.org/index.cfm)


The High School Journalism initiative.

The High School Journalism Initiative aims to be “the go-to scholastic journalism site on the Web for students, their teachers and advisers, guidance counselors and professional journalists.” The site offers everything from news literacy kits and resources to assess source credibility, to free web hosting solutions for student journalists.

6. CED in the History of Media Technology (http://www.cedmagic.com/history/)

CED Media History

The site provides a pictorial timeline of advancements in technology.

This project is a pictorial timeline of changing media — particularly video — technologies. Pictures, descriptions and links to more information about the technology are provided.

7. Internet Archive WayBack Machine (http://web.archive.org/)

WayBack Machine

The WayBack Machine crawls websites to show what they looked like in earlier years.

The WayBack Machine can be a fun illustrative tool to demonstrate the history of the Internet for students. Enter a site’s URL and select from the dates the WayBack Machine turns up. The picture above shows the New York Times’ home page for Nov. 12, 1996, the first available date WayBack has for the Times.

8. PBS’ MediaShift (http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/)

PBS MediaShift

MediaShift tracks the digital media revolution.

Another PBS project, MediaShift, examines the digital media revolution in terms of the impact on various aspects of society. The section devoted to digital media and education addresses issues affecting educators from PreK to higher ed. An article dated April 21, 2011, 5 Great Media Literacy Programs and How to Assess Their Impact, addresses and provides links for various media literacy and citizenship initiatives.

9. Common Sense Media (http://www.commonsensemedia.org/)

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media provides information for families and educators about media.

Common Sense Media attempts to approach media with a dash of sensibility. The non-profit’s mission is to improve “the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.” The site includes reviews of music, games, websites, TV shows, movies and books, as well as sections for parent advice and educators. The educators’ section includes a new Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum.

10. Don’t Touch that Dial! (http://www.slate.com/id/2244198/)

This intriguing article from Slate’s Vaughan Bell addresses a “history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.” It’s a fascinating perspective that may serve for personal research or class illustration.


Magazines, social media and ‘crowd publishing’

Decât o Revistă

Decât o Revistă, a Romanian magazine, has found a following online.

I’ve been enjoying checking out the content on PBS’ MediaShift project site, where they recently posted an article about a start-up Romanian magazine that turned to Facebook to attract attention. According to the article, the mag, Decât o Revistă (“Just a Magazine”), is meant to showcase what great journalistic feats Romanian journos are capable of performing when commercial or political pressures are absent. To make a long story short, the magazine got enough attention on Facebook that its creators decided to keep publishing quarterly issues. And those Facebook fans have generated real sales of the printed product.

The magazines creators credit their social media philosophy with their success: Speedy, short-lived, value-added content are posted on  social media. Hard-thought, serious, lengthy pieces appear in the printed publication only. In a symbiotic relationship, the mag’s social media involvement has also led to content for the printed version.

“We brought someone we met on Twitter to a shooting. We asked a blogger to bake a cake for us. We published another blogger’s personal essay. Someone called this crowd publishing.” ~ Cristian Lupşa, Decât o Revistă co-founder

It struck me that this Romanian magazine is far from the only traditionally printed magazine to participate in so-called “crowd-publishing.” Continue reading

A tsunami of social media


A view of CNN's iReport feature. You can see they have an "assignment desk" for social media users.

News coverage of the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan highlight more than ever the mainstream news media’s reliance on user-generated social media to tell a story. This phenomenon has even become part of the actual reporting on the tsunami — I just watched a whole report by Josh Levs about social media’s impact on this event on CNN’s TV coverage. According to a December 2010 piece by PBS, Levs is at the forefront of this leverage of social media by the mainstream media. You can read more on his take on social media in the news at the link.

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What’s in a name?

I came across a news story that made me wonder: What makes a newspaper a newspaper? When does it become something else? And does it even really matter?

The story appeared in the Daily Camera, a paper covering Boulder County and the city of Boulder, CO. Well, I assume it appeared in the print version of the paper. I happened to read the story on the Camera‘s website. It seems that the local high school, Boulder High, once upon a time had a printed monthly student newspaper, The Owl. Recently, the decision was made to publish The Owl in virtual form only. It seems budget concerns and changing technology were factors in this decision. The decision to go strictly virtual, along with certain restrictions imposed by school authorities on the official paper, was enough to disillusion a group of students and cause them to strike out on their own. The result: An independent student “newspaper” dubbed The Fowl.

Boulder High School

Boulder High School

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