Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Quest: Inspired!

Although there are many sites and tutorials available on the web, I have found "Ideas to Inspire" to be a great resource to view specific Web 2.0 tools and a variety of ideas to consider for a possible use with my gifted/talented students or a lesson in a library class situation.

Today I explored the site and found a slide presentation featuring the use of Google docs in the classroom. I realize Google docs has been available for some time now and it is a shame that I am just now working to find applications for my teaching situation, but I figure it's better late than never!

Some slides share specific uses and some share basic information. For example, slide #3 shows the number of people that can collaborate on a specific Doc type at one time. Just so you know, 50 people can contribute to a presentation while up to 100 can edit a document at the same time.

Slide #6 discusses the use of Word Count in a document which includes the Automated Readability Index. You could paste text into the document and then show your students the reading level of the specific text. Or you could use their own writing sample and then show possible editing options to increase the reading/grade level of the sample. This might be helpful when trying to encourage students to work on sentence structure and word choice when writing.

"Work smarter not harder" is a motto I am trying to incorporate into my daily living philosophy so it is good to know that Google doc offers templates to assist both teachers and students. Slide #12 explores the use of templates in the program.

I want to come back to explore Google forms (G forms) which is presented on slide #18. Students respond to questions/comments using a 1-5 format or an ABC option. Slide #24 also shares a way to use G forms to receive parent return slips as an electronic alternative--now that's interesting!

This slide presentation has provided me with several ideas to utilize in lessons and many areas where I need further explanation and reflection. I want to look into Assignment Tracker but not as intently as before now that I will be using Edmodo. I am still very interested in the collaboration possibilities of Google docs but need to consider how to assist and monitor students with that feature. And I am very intrigued with slide #20 on Dynamic Visualization. Hmmm . . . lots to think about!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Quest: GoogleApps???

And just when I think I am getting caught up with Web 2.0, I read a Blue Skunk blog article by Doug Johnson about GoogleApps and librarians.

GoogleApps?? What about Google docs? Are these the same thing or is it something different?
Apparently the use of this cloud-based productivity tool and storage space in his school district will allow
"no cost to the district e-mail accounts, shared calendars, a mailing list generator, an to-do list and address book for all staff and students. As powerfully, it provides word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs that require only a web browser to access and use. The files created, like the applications themselves, are stored “in the cloud” where can be easily shared, collaboratively edited, and published. [See Libraries in the Cloud in this issue.]

These tools and the files they create are available anywhere, at any time, from any computer that has an Internet connection - Windows, Mac or Linux. No software other than a good web browser is needed."

Looks like I better get busy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Quest: Creek Squad and Google Apps

I am catching up on reading following the July 4th holidays and found this interesting YouTube video on eighth grade students teaching students and teachers how to use Google Apps and cloud computing at their school in Iowa.

This link was recommended by the Edmodo blog I follow with two field reporters sharing their favorite presentations from ISTE 2011. The session was called "Building Learning Communities with Google Apps" which is one of my summer quest topics.

On the video, the students share benefits of using Google docs and apps. One named "improved speed" which is a major concern in my district. They also named the benefits of access to shared information which leads to collaboration, a key area of 21st Century Skills.

View this link for the Creek Squad tech support team and the district perspective on using this tool in education.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Quest: 30 Days with Google Docs

I'm divided now in my time to follow my quest to discover how to use Google docs and relearning how to use Edmodo.

I came across an interesting blog article by Tony Bradley (PC World) where he spends 30 days learning about Google docs and comparing the program to Windows Office. I thought it might be helpful to hear his take on the advantages/disadvantages of the two programs. He started his adventure on May 1, 2011 so if he stayed true to his calendar he completed it on June 1.

So I guess I will start reading on July 1--one month after he completed his project. Here we go!