Essential Tools
(social studies.doc - handout)

Social studies teachers need a way to:

  • Gather and share current events news
  • See world perspectives
  • Share bookmarks with and from students
  • Have a place for students to create knowledge
  • Discussion and debate forums
  • Means for Student Collaboration
  • Alternatives to Powerpoint

Gather and Share Current Events

netvibes - another excellent choice. First place winner for 2008. Allows sharing of tabs and more. Tutorial (Example - Michael Wesch)
pageflakes - an excellent choice. Second place winner in 2008. Tutorial (Youtube)
Google reader - very nice options for reading the posts, sharing with friends, etc. Check out this tutorial on how to use Google Reader

See World Perspectives

Google Custom Search Engines - example

Share bookmarks with and from students

Diigo - This one is the King. POWERFUL, yet easy to use Bookmarking tool. Install the toolbar for yourself and the Diigolet for the students. Here are four videos that show some features in Diigo, but don't let them scare you away. Diigo IS very easy to use.
Delicious - a nice alternative

Have a place for students to create knowledge

Wikispaces - free to educators. Make sure you sign up here as a teacher.
PBWorks - also free

Discussion forums

THe forums in Moodle are free. Don't have a Moodle server at school? Try
Lefora - free forum hosting
onlinetownhalls - GREAT place for a debate

Means for Student Collaboration

Google Docs - you know this one, I'm sure.
OfficeLive - If you've got Office 2007 or later you REALLY should use this. And, your students should use it, as well.

Alternatives to Powerpoint

Check out Tim Leister's suggestions here
Also, alllows you to upload a Powerpoint or pdf or Keynote and sync it with a sound file. Example (Maybe not the BEST example, but an example, nonetheless)
A very nice list of alternative sites for PowerPoint
Also, consider using the Presentation tool in Google Docs. It offers a chat window for backchanneling. You AND the students will LOVE it! Example (If I'm presenting it at the moment)
You can even make bubble charts in Google Docs: