Online Resources for Educators: 23 Things Project Reviewed

The Education Techie reviews technology that can help students and teachers. This week, the Techie is taking a look at some online resources for educators. Today's article focuses on the 23 Things Project. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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What Is It?

The 23 Things Web 2.0 Project is a fantastic Web resource for educators. The site is all about helping teachers and other education professionals become comfortable with the digital technologies that have become a standard and important part of Internet use, including blogs, Wikis and social networking. The great thing is that you don't necessarily have to already know how to use these things in order to get the most out of the site, because the posts are detailed and thoroughly informative.

As the title indicates, there are 23 activities in the 23 Things Project. These activities are organized into weeks with a theme, including blogging, photos and images, online applications and tools, RSS and newsreaders, wikis, tagging and Twitter. Each week has anywhere from one to three activities included. These activities cover things line online documents, podcasts, blogging how-to and using Flickr.

How It Works

The blogging activity is a great example of how the project works. It starts out with step-by-step instructions for setting up a blog of your own, a set of links to education blogs, a 'discovery exercise' and a 'bonus activity.' By the end of the activity, you will have set up your own blog. The way it's explained makes it seem very simple and easy, which it is, but I appreciate the helpful way the lesson is laid out. It's not very easy to find such easy-to-follow tutorials on the Web.

How It's Organized

One really great thing about the 23 Things Project site is how clearly and effectively it's organized. There's a very clear progression to follow, and the steps are clearly laid out and easy to find on the site. Depending on how you want to use the site, it would be easy to either follow the progression from activity to activity, going through each week as it's laid out, or to browse through at your own time and pace to find what you are most interested in learning.

Who Will Get the Most Use Out of It?

Educators are likely to get the most use out of the 23 Things Project, since most of the discussion comes from a professional development standpoint. However, there may be some useful information for students, particularly if they're trying to figure out how to utilize things they might use in leisure time - Twitter, blogging, photo sharing - for school.

Overall, this is a great place for tech novices to get their feet wet. The site is easy to use, the instructions are clear and the format of each activity is perfectly suited to a very basic level of computer and Internet literacy. You'll need to be able to use a computer and browse the Web competently, of course, but not much more skill is assumed as a given in the activities. Things you may be apprehensive about, like using online applications or digital images for your lessons, are explained clearly and thoroughly. And if you're not a tech novice, there's still some information here that you might want to use. I think the 23 Things Project is really useful, and is a really fantastic tech education resource.

This is the fourth and final article in a series about online resources for educators. Previously, the Techie wrote about Integrating Technology, The Edublogger and Teacher Reboot Camp. Stay tuned for more tech reviews from the Education Techie!

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