Webinars – a great tool for professional development

webinarsSubmitted by Fiona Beal

SchoolNet is planning to introduce regular webinars for educators in the areas of technology integration and good classroom practice. I am in the process of contacting South African educators that I know of who have expertise in certain fields to see if they would be willing to share their expertise and host a webinar somewhere along the line. But what about you? To start off we will confine this to SchoolNet Premium members. If you are a SchoolNet Premium member and you have something you would like to share that could benefit us all, please let me know. Initially the time span will be 45 minutes with another 10-15 minutes for interaction…and we’ll take it from there!

30 tools in 50 minutes

But now. let me talk about a webinar I listened to last night. It was wonderful. It was given by Steven Anderson  Web20 classroom fame. I was keen to hear what he had to say about 30 tools in 50 minutes. Educators LOVE knowing about resources so the session was packed with people from all over the globe. (By the way the webinar was presented by Simple K12).

He divided his favourite tools into 6 categories. I liked his emphasis to start with. It is not about tools. The focus in any lesson should be on the content and good curriculum delivery.  The tools certainly spice things up and catch the learners’ attention. It’s a case of ‘Right tool, right time, right job, right people’.


1) Compufight.com searches Flickr for images with the Creative Commons License.

2) Flickr.com for storing, looking for and sharing pictures.

3) Aviary.com is a free Google very-easy-to-use photo editing site

4) Piknik.com is another great photo editing site

5) Big Huge Labs.com to create varied fun photo items

OK, so I have tried Big Huge Labs and have created a mosaic and here it is!

What I love about using these free tools in the classroom is that the learners can go home and try them out there.

Audio and video

Vocaroo.com is a very simple audio recording site. Great for sending a simple message to your students.

Screenr.com is a simple, free easy 5 minute screencasting site – you can recap a way to do a Maths problem for example.

Jing.com Also for screencasting but can do a bit more than screenr

Skype.com for free computer ro computer calling. You can do screen sharing as well. What about getting authors to come in on Skype and say something about their book?

Voki.com sends a message. Use for introductions, instructions etc.


1) Linoit is a corkboard brainstorming tool

2) PBWorks and Wikispaces for wiki collaboration

3) Ning a great collaboration site but no longer free

4) Googledocs amazing for sharing – 100 can work on the same document

5) Google Forms are very useful

Chat and backchannel

1) TodaysMeet is a really useful classroom tool. Very popular at conferences.

2) Tiny chat.com for video chatting

Presentation tools

1) Creative commons.org has a great search feature on site

2) Sliderocket.com has amazing, professional presentation templates and tools. You can also set up collaborators.

3) Prezi.com for different kinds of presentations

4) Livebinders.com is a three ring binder on the web.


1) Mindmeister.com a free web-based mindmapping tool, very simple to use and exportable.

2) Bubble.us.com is also a web-based mindmapping tool with less options than Mindmeister. Easy to use.

3) Lovely charts.com a bit more difficult with lots of icons

4) Popplet.com is also a great mindmapping tool

Essential tools

1) Embedit.in can embed s nearly everything into a blog or website

2) Zamzar.com converts one file type into another one

3) Twitter.com is a must for every educator. 140 character microblogging tool. 

4) Readit later.com keeps track of information – anything you don’t have time to read right now you just click.

5) Diigo.com allows you to keep bookmarks and also share your bookmarks. You can also automtically save them to delicious another bookmarking service.

6) Google calendar keeps you updated amd you can share shedules.

That’s just a quick overview of a few useful tools. I wonder what you would add to this list? Please feel free to add some suggestions in the comment box. It would also be great to hear how these can be used in lessons.  It would also be useful to hear what the problems are in using Web 2.0 tools in your classroom.

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