Best Teacher Tech Tools for Busy Educators

Best Teacher Tech Tools for Busy Educators.pdf

Why recreate the wheel? Find the best teacher created PowerPoint presentations, games, educational clipart, and music. Learn to save your sites for easy sharing. Explore sites to create seating charts, jeopardy games, word searches, and more. Discover the best tools to share images including BigHugeLabs and PhotoPeach. These tools will save you time and help you to be a better teacher. Hang on for a fast survey of some great useful tools and website.

1. Utilize Time-Saving Shortcuts
MS Office – and many other applications
A. Big 4 – CTRL Z, X, C, V
B. Extra 6 – CTRL P, S, N, B, I, U
C. Format Painter
D. CTRL + 2 or CTRL + 5
E. CTRL + SHIFT + > or <
F. Instant Lines --- = _
G. Insert image from Online
A. Enter when YES is highlighted
B. Alt F4 – Shut Down
C. Alt + Tab
D. Windows + L to go to login screen
E. Windows + D to hide/show desktop
F. Folders - view by Details; organize by date, size, type
G. Task Bar – Quick Launch/Show Desktop
H. Right Mouse Click – Contextual
I. Send to USB Flash Drive
Internet Explorer or MS Office
A. Add Internet Explorer Icons to Desktop
Drag icon from address bar onto desktop or into folder. The icon can be renamed and these can be organized into folders. They are only shortcuts and if they are no longer needed, can simply be deleted.
B. Resize Internet Explorer Zoom Levels
CTRL + mouse scroll wheel
C. Open link in new tab: CTRL + Click on link
D. Cycle through open tabs: CTRL + Tab

2. Manage favorites – Delicious
Delicious stores your bookmarks online, providing access from any computer and allowing you to add bookmarks from any computer. Instead of folders to organize your bookmarks or favorites, you use tags (key words) to identify your sites. Your collection is searchable by your tags. It’s social in that you can save sites for others Delicious users in your network and others can save sites for you. You can upload your current favorites or bookmarks to Delicious to get started. is an alternative to Delicious which offers many additional features. For beginners, Delicious is easier to use.
A. Common Craft – Social Bookmarking in Plain English
B. Delicious User’s Guide (nice 4 page guide with screenshots)
C. Wes Fryer’s A QuickStart Guide for social bookmarks (2 page)
3. I wish YouTube wasn’t blocked – 1-Click YouTube Video Download, Format Factory
A. Videos with educational value can sometimes be found only on YouTube. While you may find the video on: TeacherTube, SchoolTube, OurMedia, it may only be on YouTube.
B. Use Firefox – explore video add-ons such as: Video Download Helper, 1-Click YouTube Video Download, and Download YouTube Videos +
C. YouTube Downloader - A stand alone application which requires a two step process; step 1 - download as MP4, step 2 – convert to .WMV
D. Online converters - and may run slow, have limits, or email you when finished. Video may be in .FLV format and require converting.
E. Most YouTube videos are not only available in Flash (.FLV) but in MEG4 (MP4) format can easily be downloaded and played offline using the QuickTime Player. To download YouTube video in MP4 format you have a few options listed below. I recommend you convert the MP4 videos into .WMV or .AVI format for inserting into PowerPoint or playback using Windows Media Player. The free Format Factory application is a great choice for converting videos.
F. YouTube in Education handout (6 page .pdf) with step-by-step guide to doing the above.
G. MSNBC Videos, Collections of NBC videos, photos and social sharing. Ideal for social studies. The sites embedded player makes them difficult to download.

4. Search Google and Google Squared
A. Learn to use Google’s Advanced Search option and Image Search to find exactly what you need. Under File Type select: PowerPoint or PDF.
B. Also set date ranges to find the most up-to-date material.
C. The image search can look for images of specific file types, such as only clipart. You can also turn on “Save Search” to use Strict Filtering. WARNING – Never do an image search projecting in front of students without first testing the search terms – and still be cautious.
D. Google Squared is a Google labs project. It creates a sortable matrix of information on a topic with links to the source. Columns can be added.

5. Let other do the work
A. Utah Education Network This site provides a wealth of resources, including Student Interactives pages: where links are organized by curriculum area to Java, Flash, and Shockwave based interactive activities. A teacher can get lost exploring these activities.
B. Tools for Educators is a site with worksheets, cross word maker, word search, certificate creators and more. Super Teacher
C. Tools provides the tools that teachers love, such as the random name generator, and seating chart tool. Once a class list is created or uploaded, a teacher is assigned a number so their list may be used again and again.
D. The 4Teacher site provides a rich collection of different tools with RubiStar and TrackStar being two of the most popular. RubiStar allows users to create rubrics using predefined categories and text. TrackStar guide students using guided “tracks” with questions and links to websites.
E. ThinkFinity, the Verizon supported site provides links to partner sites including Xpeditions, ReadWriteThink, and Illuminations. Once you find a collection of resources, further refine your search by resource type. Try a search for “simple machines” and then narrow the search to just show only Interactives sites.
F. Michigan Electronic Library’s Michigan Online Resources for Educators (MORE). Start at and then navigate to MORE. Browse by content expectations or subject. Links are represented by a laptop icon.

6. ZoomIt
ZoomIt is from Microsoft. and allows screen zooming, annotation and a built-in timer. Every teacher with a projector should use ZoomIt. It can be installed to launch on startup.

7. Let Me Just Show You – Jing
Create handouts with screenshots or record screen actions using
Jing from
Capture parts of the screen or up to 5 minutes of onscreen actions with audio. Saved tutorials are in Flash and may be posted to a website, emailed, or uploaded to TechSmith’s site.

8. Guide Students –Weebly is a “brain dead” easy way to create a website. Using drag and drop modules and more than 50 design templates, you add text, links, photos, and even documents. You pick the web site name which becomes a prefix to, e.g. Create a website in minutes. An alternative is Google Sites:
A. Weebly Tutorial Site
B. Weebly Video Tutorial from Miracola’s Free is Good site

9. Pete’s PowerPoint Station, Blackwell’s Templates
A. Pete’s PowerPoint Station: (check out templates & clipart)
B. Blackwell’s Teacher Templates
C. World of Teaching PowerPoints
D. Microsoft Templates and Clip Art
E. Discovery Schools Clipart

10. Picasa – Image editing and organization made easy
A. Google’s Picas is a downloaded application which provides the tools to easily edit and manage your photo collection. Printing, enhancing, cropping, creating slideshows, and ordering photos only takes a few clicks. New features include face recognition to automatically find all photos based on a face.

11. PhotoPeach – digital storytelling made easy
A. PhotoPeach is a free online site where you can create and share a digital slideshow with up to 30 images, music, text, and even a built-in quiz. It does not support narration unless added as an audio file. PhotoPeach is a nice alternative to the popular PhotoStory application. Free downloads with the premium account, only $3 a month.

12. Keep Me Up To Date – iGoogle
iGoogle allows you to customize your Google page to hold your most important information. The Google search tool is still there, but the white area has now been replaced with modules you select. Modules can be rearranged and multiple pages can be created so personal information can be kept separate from work information. Modules may contact the latest news, RSS content from your favorite blog, or gadgets with the current weather forecasts or the word of the day. Principals use iGoogle to monitor teachers’ blogs. From click the upper right corner where it says iGoogle to login or create an account. Then start adding content. Switch back to the “Classic” view at anytime with a click.
A. Getting Started with iGoogle
i. Subscribe to Educator’s Blogs - Search for blogs by content area at:
1. ,
ii. Go to a blog site and see what blogs the author is following in their blog roll:
1. David Warlick’s blog, 2¢Worth,
2. School bloggers

13. Let’s Work Together – WikiSpaces
Wikis may be the most important tool for educators to learn to use for student collaboration. Why use wikis? Wikis allow users to easily add text, links, images, and embed multimedia into wiki pages. Multiple users can work at the same time on different pages, and if a change needs to be made to something already created, anyone can use the history tab to go back to a previous version. Wikis can have some pages open for editing and other locked. Some wikis allow teachers to batch create accounts for students, bypassing the unique email requirement. When a teacher creates an account in WikiSpaces, they indicate it’s for K-12 educational use. An existing WikiSpaces user can easily start a new educational wiki at: For examples of wikis in education visit:

14.URL shortening
A. Tools such as TinyURL and Bitly: have become popular for shortening long URLs. This allowed a site such as: to be shared as:

1515. Every picture tells a story - Photofunia is a site where a user can add a photo to a specialized background, making it look like the photo or the person was a part of the photo. Starting with a passport like photo (close up of a face), the program locates the face in the image and replaces the face in the picture with that face for some humorous results. Nice program for creating images for writing prompts or to enhance a story or website. Big Huge Labs is a site which provides some alternative image tools.

1616.Grab Bag
A. Wordle Create word clouds. The more frequent a word, the larger the image. Options for saving on the site but no options for copying to paste into another application. We have students use Alt + Print Screen.
B. Online Flash Cards and study games. Quizlet and Create your own or use existing sets.
C. Blabberize Make history come to life as students add their voice to an image with parts of the image moving so it looks like its talking. Try objects/animals, such as a horse telling their view of the Civil War.
D. The British Dance Mat Keyboarding is a favorite with accented directions. Explore the rich collection of resources