Cool Sites: Be a Cutting Edge Educator

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Before I was an English major, I was a Business major. I attended a magnet school for four years which prepped me for the business world. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was to keep current in my field in order to do the best job possible! When I began teaching, I was surprised that several educators had not learned how to do this. I seriously believe that is why the field of education is often overlooked as a cutting edge career. Therefore, in the second week of this series I share with you how I keep current in my field. This advice is meant to align with your current professional activities of reading trade journals, attending seminars, belonging to professional organizations, and reading books.

How to Find Relevant Sites

I am surprised every week I find new web sites involving educational technologies! The process is quite easy if you would like to begin to make your own collection of links for your Delicious account. However, I will continue this weekly series in case you would like to just add the links I find weekly. You may want to subscribe to receive regular updates, leave a quick comment of how one of these tools helped you, tweet this, or share this series with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) through your RSS reader or Delicious account.

I find these web sites, educational technology tools, and great links in six ways:

  1. I subscribe to Ziipa which provides me with the majority of my links to new applications and web sites you can use for educational technologies.
    • The only drawback is you have to sift through some web sites that are still in beta or require a payment. Sometimes this process takes some time, because I try to only tweet those that offer a free service or that I think educators will find really useful.
  2. A better blog that provides useful tools but not as many is I Want To by Phil Bradley. I share a majority of his links in my Google reader.
  3. Google reader is an additional way I find great information in my field! Please feel free to friend me on Google reader to receive the posts of these tools as soon as I read them! Leave a message that you are a friend from Twitter or a reader of this blog please. Thanks to all the members of my PLN who tweeted these links and tips to me!
  4. I find many of my ESL web sites by subscribing to EnglishSpark a site run by Neal Chambers and Jason Campbell.
  5. I discover new blogs and websites through Google Alerts. My Google Alerts include edtech, elearning, web 2.0, and ESL. Google Alerts is where I find several new blogs to add to my reader.
    • Karenne Sylvester’s post on Google Alerts will help you get started!
    • One tip Karenne suggests is to Google your own blog to make sure you see what others are saying about your blog or who is linking to your blog!
  6. I use Twitter to keep current as well. Next week, I will explain how to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter in order to stay cutting edge!

Cool Sites

In my Google reader I favorite each website I plan to talk about in my blog. Here are a few of my starred links.

SafeShareTV, which I found through Ziipa, will let you share Youtube videos with your students minus the comments and other negative stuff. Richard Byrne provides an example and more information on this great tool!

Futuristk is another site I found through Ziipa. Send video messages to your future children, advice to yourself, or use this as a video time capsule. I am hoping to use this with my adult English language learners. The service is free!

Tagul is like Wordle but allows you to create images with the words. The only downfall is you have a limit of 10 images. For more information on using Tagul read Carol Rainbow’s post! Carol used Tagul to create the image in her post.

Rollip allows students to create Polaroids with their photographs and add written captions. View Phil Bradley’s post for more information!


Subscribe to one of the web sites I mentioned or use one of the tools! Leave a comment if you found the tip useful!

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Some great links thanks for putting these on there! Some really useful stuff put together. looking forward to building your PLN on twitter – Will you be writing anything about building your blog audience?

  2. Today, we’d like you to think about your future.

    Not just dinner. Not just your five-year plan. Not just you golfing out your days in Boca.

    But to the year 2059, when you’ll get an email from yourself. That you sent today.

    Welcome to the wild world of—a new social networking site where you can send messages to yourself, your friends or anyone up to 50 years in the future—ready now.

    Brought to you by a team of sentimentalists/engineers/futuristic postal workers in Brazil, this site’s message-sending services are only limited by your imagination (in other words, they’re limitless). Send anything from reminders to pick up milk after work next Tuesday to notes from last night’s date sent just before you pick her up tonight (she’ll be so impressed you remembered that she’s a part-time cricket player) to a few time-tested moves for a future-you that you’ll want to keep in the archives.

    There’s also a future blog and photo album in case you want to take a time line of daily photos and turn them into stop-motion videos (again, limitless possibilities). And you can also manage your messages via your own Control Panel—so if, perhaps, things end suddenly with the cricket player, and you need to cancel her future notes, you can delete them.


  3. Thanks for this great post.
    Yet again, a wealth of info I really enjoyed following up.
    I’m an avid Google Reader fan. It’s my idea of a newspaper. I get all the updates from sites I have subscribed to. It’s an inspiring and energising thing to do at 5 in the morning when you have to get those cogwheels oiled.
    Now I have your bookmarks to check out, too. 😉

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