The Alabama Learning Exchange(ALEX) is just one of many web sites geared to help teachers and students alike. When you get to the home page of ALEX you see several hyper-links that you can click on: Courses of Study, Web Sites, Lesson Plans, Search, Personal Workspace, Professional Learning, Podcast Treasury, and ALEXville. I will give you a little insight to what you will find when you click on these hyper-links. Then I will give my opinion on how well I think these tools will help in the classroom.
The first two hyper-links that I will discuss are "Courses of Study" and "Lesson Plans." The "Courses of Study" link allows you to select a subject and see the content standards for said course. After clicking on a subject, you select a grade level and you are given the different standards that the students are supposed to learn. I tried this out by selecting the English Language Arts tab and selecting kindergarten. Several standards appeared and I could then click on a specific standard and find lessons plans that fit that standard. The "Lesson Plans" link was much the same. You select a subject, grade level, and then several lesson plans pop up to chose from. ALEX lesson plans and Thinkfinity lesson plans popped up when I entered my criteria.
The next few links that I would like to discuss are the "Web Sites" link, the "Search" link, and the "Podcast Treasury" link. The "Web Sites" link brings you to a page with links to Teacher, Administrator, and Student Web Resources. You can also recommend or search for more related web sites. Clicking on any of these links allows you to find websites for almost everything education related. The "Search" link allows you to search the entire ALEX website for anything you might want to know. The "Podcast Treasury" allows you to find podcasts done by different groups for almost any topic. One of the podcasts that I watched was done by a sixth grader at Evans Elementary School. The podcast was about the accomplishments of Teddy Roosevelt. These are some really great resources for the classroom.
The last links that I want to discuss are the "Personal Workspace", "Professional Learning", and "ALEXville" links. The "Personal Workspace" link allows you to create a login that is used on ALEX. By creating a login, you can store and submit lesson plans and teacher web pages. The "Professional Learning" link allows you to do many things. Some of the things you can do are find out how to learn more about ALEX, look for grants, and gives you additional links to websites where you can find out about "professional development opportunities, teaching and learning tools, the latest news, best practices and more." There are also links that give you more information about using technology in the classroom. The "ALEXville" link allows you "to communicate with your colleagues, keep up with the latest ALEX news, and follow various ALEX Professional Learning Communities." By clicking on one of the "houses" on the page, such as "Learn more about GEMS-U", you can be directed to another webpage with more information on that topic.
I believe the ALEX website will be invaluable in the classroom. This website can answer pretty much any question that a teacher might need to ask. It is also helpful to students as well. I think the most useful links will be the "Lesson Plans" link, the "Professional Learning" link, and the "ALEXville" link. The "Lesson Plans" link can give me great ideas on ways to teach my students, which will be very helpful in my first few years. The "Professional Learning" link will give me access to even more learning opportunities, and the "ALEXville" link will keep me connected to other professional educators from around the world. I look forward to learning more about this site and using it in the future!
Another website that I found quite interesting was the ACCESS website. This is a website that is dedicated to furthering the use of technology in the classroom. Through the ACCESS program, students take web based courses that use highly trained teachers to teach from a distance. They incorporate video conferencing and other tools to help enhance the learning experience. So far the system is doing well and they hope to expand the program to all high schools. This is a great way to keep students interested in learning and offers them better opportunities to succeed. I highly recommend checking out this website. Some other websites that I recommend are the Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Education website. All of these sites seem like they will be quite helpful in my quest to become an educator.