I like to stay up to date on a number of topics for my 6th Grade ELA class, my 8th grade class on creativity and coaching creative problem solving teams. I use a number of tools right now to help organize the information: livebinders, diigo, twitter lists, pocket and Google Reader.
All those tools are great but they require me to go out and find the information. I need the information to find me. I found a tool last week that does just that: Google Alerts.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your interests. I am sure this service has been around for awhile but its like a shiny new toy to me right now.
A Google Alert is easy to set up. Just type in www.google.com/alert in the address bar. You get a customizable menu that allows you to enter the topic of personal interest.
From there you can decide what type of information you would like to receive, how often, how many results and where you would like it to be delivered.
Once a day the newest information on the topics I follow comes to me and from there I determine if the information is worth reading, worth saving, worth sharing.
I am excited about sharing this tool with my students when they are curating information for current events research. The part that excites me the most is that students can set alerts for the topics that they are passionate about. Instead of taking time to find information they can begin collecting the information as it comes to them.
Google Alerts is a big time saver and a tool that will make a difference in my class this year.