As I continue to research and learn more about librarianship, I continue to be astounded by the quantity and quality of web resources. How much has changed in the ten years since I first got my teaching certificate and the Technology Teacher largely had web-games only for elementary users! The quantity of new sites and apps is overwhelming, however. I am coming to appreciate the skill and art of finding quality “resources for resources”–reliable places to go to curate the best of the best.
The ALA is obviously one of these places. Their Best Websites for Teaching and Learning is a gem at http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards/best/websites/2016 as is their Great Websites for Kids http://gws.ala.org/ which has the added bonus of being organized by subject and content area.
I am also a huge fan of Common Sense Media which includes not only websites but apps, television shows, movies, games, and even (gasp!) books! I also love that it is searchable by age and media type and has ratings for different kinds of content such as educational value, positive role models, violence, sexy stuff, and (importantly!) consumerism.
Edtechteacher at http://edtechteacher.org also provides an deep resource for quality technology tools aimed at the technology teacher, teacher-librarian, and educator. Websites, apps, and educational tech tools can be discovered searching by educational subject, topic, or learning activity. Tons of free recommended lists, project ideas, webinar tutorials, rubrics, and more are made available to educators at this site.
I’m also more carefully considering the value and ethics of “parental controls” for web and internet exploration. While I don’t feel I have fully internalized my personal position on web censorship for children, I can see the value of sites such as kidrex.org, googlejunior.com, Kideos, as well as “safe search” and “safety” modes on sites like google and youtube. Particularly in a school setting, teacher-librarians and educators want to be sensitive to appropriate content for young people and teach media skills without concern about overstepping appropriate boundaries or breaking trust with our family-partners.
But I warn you, once you begin to explore these resources you can go down a very deep and compelling rabbit hole! Refer back to my blog post about Adjusting the Flow to help keep things in perspective!