3 Little Known Web Services Teachers Should Be Using

Adam Heckler is a twenty-something Cincinnati, Ohio local working in the education technology sector. Most of his time is spent at VARtek Services where he writes for the blog, manages social media, and advises K12 s

Teacher Web ServicesBy now, everyone’s heard of the major web services that have become popular in edtech circles: Edublogs and Blogger for blogging, Diigo and Delicious for bookmarking, Wikispaces and Wetpaint for wikis, and on and on and on…

Well, there are other services out there! Some of which you probably haven’t heard of yet. So today I present to you a few web services that even most tech-savvy educators aren’t familiar with and how you can best use them to better yourself or your classroom.

 

Amazon Glacier

The best way to think about Amazon Glacier is as if it’s a giant hard drive at Amazon HQ on which they let you rent space. Best of all, because the hard drive is so mind-bogglingly huge, rent is super cheap! You can expect to pay just pennies per month for multiple gigabytes of storage. Pennies per month!

Amazon Web Services Logo

The one trick to Glacier is that it’s “optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable.” In other words, when you want to download whatever you’ve uploaded, it won’t be instantaneous. Thus, it’s ideal for older, archived files that you don’t want to delete, but probably won’t need very often, like your outdated files and student documents from previous school years.

If you want to check it out, read their Getting Started Guide first, and then pop over to FastGlacier and download their client (the tool you will actually use to upload and download from Glacier).

 

Lynda.com

Everybody loves professional development, right? Well, it’s a shame I don’t see more people using this particular site to reach their learning goals. Lynda.com provides training on a wide array of software applications, ranging from Adobe Acrobat to Zoomerang.

Lynda.com Logo

You can browse their catalog by subject or by software to see everything they have to offer. Some example of courses that might be of particular interest to educators include:

  • Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors
  • iBooks Author Essential Training
  • Moodle 2 Essential Training for Teachers
  • Up and Running with Evernote for Windows

While a Lynda.com subscription does cost $25 a month, it’s well worth it if you need to learn some specific software or skills as part of your professional development plan. In fact, I’m using their service right now to learn the ins and outs of Joomla, a popular content management system.

 

Screencast-O-Matic

If you’re running a “flipped classroom”, where students watch lessons at home using the Internet and do what was previously homework in class, Screencast-O-Matic is the perfect tool for you. Even if you just need to record your screen once in a while for a tutorial or some such, definitely check this out.

Screencast-o-matic Logo

Unlike most other screen capture tools, you don’t need to download any special software programs: you simply press record and go! With the free version, you can make videos up to 15 minutes in length, which is usually plenty for basic purposes. By purchasing a Pro account for just $15 per year, you can record as long as you want as well as use their video editing tools and a bunch of other features.

Screencast-O-Matic is also one of the featured tools in our latest EdTech course - Introduction To Online Video And Screencasting. Try a free lesson and see what you think!

 

Bonus: Foldable.me

Ok, so this one has exactly nothing to do with education, but that’s why it’s the bonus! Foldable.me is a site where you can create a fully customizable replica of yourself on paper, pay a tiny fee to have the paper shipped to you, and then fold the paper up into a cute, if rather boxy, clone of yourself.

Foldable.Me

How awesome is that?! A couple of these around the classroom would lighten things up for sure.

 

Anyway, I hope you find these tools useful, and definitely let us know in the comments if you have more suggestions. And do let us know if you are already familiar with these tools and how you are using them in the classroom.

 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, puzzledmonkey.