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TeAchnology, “The Online Teacher Resource”, has been in operation for over ten years and combines free resources with membership options for access to an even wider selection of resources.
Suggested material is available for students from Kindergarten age through to High School. The initial appearance is very simple and professional, and the site is divided into clear sections; Worksheets, Lesson Plans, Rubrics, Teacher Resources, Printables, Subjects, Tools, Tips, Memberships and Home. There is a good site search facility, and although there is some advertising it is subtle and does not overpower the site content. The site proclaims its goals as being two-fold: “... to provide a reservoir of online resources for educators to access at any time and to provide effective tools for designing instruction that are time and energy saving.” There is also a consulting division.
The site provides free access to many well organised and useful resources, and many more are available for members. Membership options along with what each membership includes are clearly set out. Supreme Membership is $49.99 per year and provides unlimited access to all member items, Gold Membership is $29.99 per year and allows access to more worksheets, lesson plans, printables, templates, web quests and learning activities, Platinum Membership costs $29.99 per year and gives access to worksheet makers, rubric makers, language arts and maths worksheet makers, graphic organisers, puzzle makers, lesson plan makers and time savers, and Silver Membership costs $29.99 per year and allows you to create online learning games, trivia calendars, lessons, maths games, message boards, quizzes and web pages. I just looked through the free content, which I found alone to contain many wonderful resources, tips and ideas.
Many High Quality Free Worksheets
The worksheets are divided into different themes, with each theme being further broken into sub-categories. I found this section to be very well organised and easy to use, and you can quickly identify a suitable worksheet for your class. Themes include science, holidays, elementary, research skills and much more.
Free Lesson Plans
There is a great wide variety of lesson plans for many different learning areas and goals. They are well organised and clearly state the target grade and subject and take you through step by step how to conduct the lesson. You can see how to begin the lesson, your lesson aims, activities to do through the lesson, and how to finish the class. The lesson plans are perfect for busy teachers and require little additional planning.
Throughout the site there is excellent useful information. For example, I looked in the Monthly Teacher Resources, where I found a breakdown of each month. Going into a month shows you interesting facts about that month, holidays that fall in that month, and links to relevant worksheets and lesson plans on the TeAchnology site. Everything is put together in a very user-friendly manner, and the use of good links mean that you do not need to waste time searching for information.
Free Ready to use Printables
There are over 9,000 free printables ready for you to use. Members can access a staggering 50,000 items. Within the printables section they are further divided into handy categories, including crosswords, colouring, crafts, bookmarks, mazes, puzzles, songs, nursery rhymes, word walls, word scrambles, word searches and more. These are great for extra activities, time fillers and for those last few minutes of a class where you have finished all your other material. In my opinion, a good supply of a few of these different printables can be invaluable in any teachers stash of materials.
Easy to Use Different Subject Material
There is a terrific range of material contained within different subject headings of Arts and Humanities, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Music Education, Physical Education, Science and Social Studies. With such a great online resource you need never again be stuck for something to do in a class. Lesson plans and worksheets are provided, along with links to other useful parts of the site.
Excellent Extra Tools
Have you ever had an idea and searched and searched online for resources but to no avail? With a great free crossword puzzle maker, word search maker, today in history activities, graphic organizer makers, educational games, handwriting simulator and more, you will never struggle again. Use these tools to conveniently make the exact materials that you want to use in your class.
Within the Tips section you will find a plethora of useful and practical tips for in the classroom. Topics are easy to search and tip areas include:
5 Minutes To Go
All Subject Areas
Back to School Videos
Physical Education and Health
Start of the Year
Technology in Your Class
I love that there are tips relating not only to actual subject teaching, but also to classroom management, potential problems that can arise in the classroom, dealing with parents and other associated areas. It is also great that teachers can share their tips and ideas through this section by contacting the site owner. You can also sign up for a free weekly newsletter with new and innovative tips.
Clear Membership Packages
Even though the site has many great free resources, the different membership options are very clear in pricing and the benefits. You can make a very informed choice before paying for membership.
The forum looks to be fairly well used, with teachers able to ask for advice and bounce ideas around, browse posts by others and reply to posts. You must register to post in the forum, although you can browse topics, posts and responses without registering. The threads are easy to follow through, with the main post at the top of the page and all replies following in order below.
Although the advertising on this site is subtle and not as overwhelming as on other websites, it is an unfortunate reality on many websites nowadays and TeAchnology is no exception.
Some Areas Are Not Free
The site states it is a fee resource site for teachers, but then there are many resources that can only be accessed by paying members. Due to the excellent availability and range of free resources though, I do not think most teachers would find this so much of a problem.
Restricted Payment Methods
Whilst there is a fairly good range of payment options for membership, including credit card through a secure server, credit card by fax, cheque, money order and postal order, I feel that with many people trusting payment methods such as paypal, where individual bank details are not given to the payee, this should also be a payment option.
No Jobs Section
There are some usual things that teachers typically expect on an ESL website, including sections on jobs. TeAchnology does not appear to have this. I think the site could at least provide prominent links to dedicated ESL jobs websites. The absence of this does not in any way though detract from the overall usefulness of the site; I just think that this suggested addition would make this great site even better.
Forum Not Easily Apparent
The forum is not so easy to spot. I initially thought there was no teacher forum, but then stumbled upon it by accident. I think this could have its own tab at the top of the home page so it is easier to find by teachers. Many teachers find being able to discuss ideas and share ideas really useful, and as such I think greater prominence should be given to the forum.
Overall, there are very few negatives I can think of for TeAchnology, but there are bucket loads of positives. The site is incredibly well organised and easy to use, which saves valuable time when trying to balance many competing tasks when planning for the classroom. There are many excellent resources to use, which will help teachers to help students and facilitate their learning. Practical and fun activities are included and the site includes things for students of all ages and abilities. Comprehensive lesson plans, functional worksheets, highly practical tips in countless areas and the ability to make your own materials are just some of the great things you will find on this website. The full site offers over 46,000 lesson plans and in excess of 10,000 worksheets, so it is very unlikely that you would be unable to find something appropriate. Although there is the option to become a member, I believe that the basic access is probably enough for most teachers. I think this website should be bookmarked by all ESL teachers and that it can be an invaluable tool for everyone working in the ESL and EFL industries.
What are your opinions of TeAchnology?
How do the membership resources compare to the free resources? Would you advise becoming a member or do you find that the free materials are enough?
This is a guest review by an independent author. This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of BusyTeacher.org as a publication.