5 New Year's Resolutions for a Better Connected Classroom

December 31, 2013
Amy Wilson
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES In the Classroom

It's New Year's Eve, when many of us take time to set resolutions for the coming year. We're going to eat more healthy foods, exercise more regularly, write more thank-you notes, and take time to smell the roses. If you're an educator, then 2014 is also the year to use technology as a resource for professional development and innovation. 

Here are five possible technology resolutions for you to set tonight. Let us know what your resolutions are and Happy New Year!

1. Start following others who have worn the path ahead of you. We've rounded up our favorite digital citizenship bloggers as well as our favorite edtech bloggers to follow in 2014. Follow them on twitter, subscribe to their newsletters, or to their RSS Feeds. Wondering how to subscribe to an RSS feed? Here is an article outlining the best alternatives to Google Reader, which was phased out in July.

2. Find new apps and websites to integrate into your curriculum. Teachers on Common Sense Education have curated Collections and written Teacher Reviews about how they're using specific apps and sites in the classroom. Our expert educators have written in-depth reviews of 1,000 apps and sites, so far. Filter by grade-level, subject area, and platform and then sort by Rating to see the highest-rated products we've reviewed.

3. Establish a professional learning network (PLN). This could be as simple as following edtech leaders on Twitter and engaging with them, or faithfully attending a #twitchat each week. #Edchat is probably the largest. It takes place twice on Tuesdays: at 12pm EST/5pm GMT and 7pm EST/12am GMT. #Edtechchat takes place on Mondays at 8pm EDT. We also recommend #ntchat for new teachers. It's on Wednesday at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT. Of course, here at Common Sense Media, one of our favorites is #digcit, which takes place on the 2nd and 4th weeks of the month at 7pmEST/12am GMT. For a complete list of see the list maintained by @thomascmurray, @cevans5095,  @cybraryman1: Weekly Twitter Chat Times.

4. Join a hosted community like those on EdWeb, Thinkfinity, and Edmodo. On these sites, communities have been created around topics important to teachers and are hosted by various organizations, including Common Sense Media. On Edmodo, for example, we cohost the Digital Citizenship community and also maintain a publisher community. On EdWeb, we host a Digital Citizenship community. Stay tuned for exciting news vis à vis Thinkfinity. These communities are free for teachers to join and are full of forum discussions, tips, and resources. EdWeb communities also offer a rich array of webinars that are free for teachers as well. 

5. Use teacher-resource sites like, Edutopia, WeAreTeachers, LearnZillionTeachersPayTeachers, Scholastic for Teachers, Teaching Channel, Discovery Education, Educator Innovator powered by the National Writing Project and of course, Common Sense Education!