Online Resources for Educators: Integrating Technology 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 Integrating Technology. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


What Is It?

Integrating Technology is an education website focused on helping teachers learn new and better ways to use technology in their professional lives. Its full title is Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL). The site is divided into four main categories: resources, courses, e-learning communities of learners and events. The design of the site isn't bad, but it isn't really well organized. I felt a bit overwhelmed just trying to figure out where to start. I decided to start by clicking on the 'course categories' link to see what's on offer.

There's a wide range of courses in this section, covering different grade levels, subjects and areas of technology. In order to access courses, you'll need to register for an account. It's a relatively quick process, requiring you to give your e-mail address and create a username and password. I consider this level of commitment to be minor, but I could see this requirement turning away users who might just want to casually peruse the site before deciding whether to use it regularly. However, I do think it's worth it to sign up and try to make the most of the site.

One big aspect of IT4ALL is the use of Moodle, an online course management system that can allow educators to create websites for online learning. Moodle is used to deliver courses developed by Integrating Technology contributors, and there are also workshops focused on using this technology for your own professional purposes. Though I think better organization might make the site more effective, it's aspects like the focus on Moodle and other education technology that make it worthwhile. You're likely to learn a new technique, or find some new technology, that will help you become a more technologically efficient educator.

Who Will Get the Most Use Out of It?

IT4ALL is definitely aimed at educators rather than at students. The focus is on lifelong learning, but on the whole, I think the best resources are dedicated to professional development for teachers. Those professional development resources are plentiful and come in many forms. If you're an educator looking for some cost-free ways to improve your job performance, this is a great place to start. Because there are so many formats that the resources here take, including self-guided courses, group workshops and community discussion, it's likely you'll find something that works with your schedule and abilities.

There are a couple of things that count as minor drawbacks, including the site's somewhat confusing design. Not all of the resources on the site are totally free - I saw a couple of workshops with a registration cost. I didn't see anything over $50, though. Another thing that I saw as a potential drawback for some users is the fact that much of the content on the site requires a moderate level of tech savvy. I don't think this is the best place to start if you're a complete tech novice looking to learn basic ways to integrate technology into education. The information on the site isn't super advanced, but you'll need to have a moderate level of computer and Internet literacy.

This was the first in a series of reviews of online resources for educators. Stay tuned for more of these articles this week!

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