Great tools for teachers... that I can't always use...


Okay, let's face it.  The world is moving toward more and more online collaboration.  We need to prep our students for this.  One project I currently have simmering on the back burner is a "design team" project where student groups would "meet" online with clients to discuss the design of everything from logos to web sites.  The ideal tool for such an undertaking is

This tool is ideal for real-time online meeting, sketching ideas on the whiteboard, uploading sample files and presentations, and even sharing screens.  It's even free.  The problem is, it doesn't work on our student workstations...  It's fine on my workstation and most of my colleagues.  My students, on the other hand, always get "invalid ticket" errors.  I swear this is deep freeze, but I can't get anyone to believe me.

Here are some other possibilities that may not already be on your radar because they haven't been mentioned in a summer workshop or whatever (I find we're constantly told about the same old resources again and again). These, however, all require signup and therefore open up a whole other can of worms, particularly if your district doesn't have student email...

Free Apps you should have but probably aren't allowed to install yourself...

Okay, so if you teach computer classes in the public education system and you don't have a cool class like "Web Design" or "Desktop Publishing", you probably get pretty sick of Microsoft Office.  You also probably are not in a position to beg your district to buy you new apps.

  • Adobe Air (a world of widgety goodness and free mini-apps awaits)

  • Google Sketch-up (who can argue with 3d drawing)

  • Audacity (a little slice of near-pro podcasting goodness)

  • Gimp (open source alternative to Photoshop)

  • Inkscape (open source alternative to Illustrator)

Of course, you probably can't install these yourself so put in an IT request, beg your tech department, and bake them cookies.


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