I'm all in when it comes to Google Docs! Google Docs will do about 99% of everything a student will need to do (including brochures, tables and other types of specialty formatting).
Google Docs is FREE and cloud based. Even if a student doesn't have a computer they can still access it at school or anywhere they have an Internet connection. Just a few years ago we used to have so many issues with students trying to print a document that originated on a home computer. Either we didn't have the software or the versions didn't mesh. That is not an issue with Google Docs. Files aren't corrupted and students don't have to stress over trying to upload a file from a flash drive.
The second but perhaps most important reason I like Google Docs is because it's collaborative. For instance, we're in the midst of updating the Counseling Center website and putting the "Junior Plan Book" online. It will live as a google document, shared with department chairpersons and any changes will automatically be updated, live.
For those of you that keep portfolios, this is an opportunity for a student to have an electronic portfolio and for you to view their work from one year to the next. Imagine being able too see what a student's writing was like in 8th grade compared to 10th grade.
If you don't think that collaboration is real, think again. I'll use a project that my husband is working on right now as an example. It's for a large military installation with over 21 consultants. Each consultant is responsible for a separate piece of the project and required to submit a final report. The final product contains 97 spreadsheets. Imagine if every consultant sent their work in using a different tool. By using the same tool they are able to collate the document into a unified product.
Try something different on your next assignment. Ask students to use the "share" feature and allow them to peer edit their work with classmates. Alternatively consider giving them your feedback or their final grade, using the comment feature.
Stop by if you want to share ideas and develop a strategy to help your students!
I had several people ask me to show them how to use the Explore feature in google docs. I did a quick screencast to show you how it can be used for research and how to cite information. Check it out and let me know if you have questions or would like help using this with students.
Research options/reference tools: The Research function activates in the right sidebar when you select ‘EXPLORE’ from the ‘Tools’ drop-down menu, click Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I, or simply right-click on the word you want to research or explore. From this one location, you can search for articles, images, or quotes. When you insert directly from the sidebar, it will automatically add a citation as a footnote, referencing where you found your data. Check out this example.
In the spirit of reducing paper try this tip to "force the user" to make a copy versus writing over the original. Simply change the last part of the URL.
Force the user to make a copy:
If you are navigating the students to a template or a Google Doc that you want them to put on their own Drive and you wish for them to copy, all you have to do is edit the URL! Remove the phrase /edit at the end of a Google Apps URL and change it to /copy.
I'm proposing a New Year's resolution for everyone! Go paperless! Maybe you've considered it in the past but have been afraid to flip the switch. From a teacher perspective, there are lots of pros to going paperless. Consider these:
First: Know this–you should only use technology when it expands your teaching. Sure, you want to find opportunities for that to occur, but if it doesn’t, put the keyboard and the class screen aside and continue in whatever method has worked for you in the past. Luckily, Common Core–and many State standards–provide an excellent starter list of seven ways to blend technology into your everyday teaching:
We use several search applications from the Gale Suite of resources. These include Opposing Viewpoints In Context, U.S. History in Context and World History in Context. Combining these applications with a Google Account is as easy as one, two, three.
Click on the image for the Gale Resouces Tip Sheet
Step ONE: Sign in to your Google account from the banner of the database.
Step TWO: Find a document that is useful to you. Make your notes and highlight the document.
Step THREE: Choose DOWNLOAD from the Tools menu and select Save to Google Drive.
Your document will be saved in a new folder named after the search application/database you were using.
What the Heck is RSS?
And why should I care?
Good questions. First, here’s why you should care.
Unlike getting website updates or ezines by email, RSS feeds give you absolute, 100% complete control over the situation.
You don’t have to reveal your email address. If you want to stop receiving content, you don’t have to request to be “taken off the list.”
One click, and poof… the subscription is gone.
Plus, since there’s no email address involved, there’s no way a publisher can sell, rent or give away the means to contact you.
That’s right… no more spam, viruses, phishing, or identity theft. And best of all, no reason to put yourself at the mercy of the publisher’s intentions.
Again, if you don’t like the content, you can make it disappear as fast as you can change a TV channel. With just one click.
Pretty cool, huh?
That is cool! Umm… What the heck is RSS?
Alright! Now we’re ready to get to that part.
RSS is a simply an Internet technology standard that allows busy people to receive updates to web-based content of interest.
You might have figured that much out by now. But basically, that’s the essence of an RSS feed – you subscribe and then receive new content automatically in your feed reader.
If you actually want to know how RSS works, click here.
What the heck is a feed reader?
You may already be using a form of feed reader, and not even realize it. If you use personalized home page services like My Yahoo or My MSN, you’ve got RSS capabilities built in. That’s how syndicated content like news, weather and stock quotes appears on your personal page. You can also add content from any blog or other site that uses RSS to provide updates.
Other web-based tools are primarily dedicated to feed reading only. One of the most popular web-based feed readers at this point is Bloglines, and it’s also free and easy to get started with.
If you use the Firefox browser, you can also receive RSS feeds from your tool bar by using the Live Bookmarks function. The next version of Internet Explorer will add this feature as well.
If it sounds complicated, it’s really not. And things will get even easier when the next version of Outlook integrates feed-reading capabilities. So, you’ll have the same convenience that email subscriptions offered in the old days, without any of the terrible consequences of giving out your email address to potentially unscrupulous characters.
Sounds good. So how do I subscribe to a Feed?
First of all, look for the subscription or feed options (some bloggers make this difficult for some odd reason). You might see a variety of buttons (amusingly called chicklets).
If the site you want to subscribe to uses FeedBurner to aid in the subscription process (like Copyblogger and many other popular sites), you’ll likely see the standard RSS icon, which takes you to a page that will give you an array of the most popular feed readers so you can select yours, and you’ll go from there. This is the new standard RSS icon:
Sometimes there will be a chicklet for your particular reader right on the blog that will take you to the appropriate subscription page. You may see these (among others):
Finally, you may also see little orange buttons that say XML or RSS. Often these chicklets will take you to a page that looks like code gibberish. In this case, you simply cut and paste the page URL from your browser window and manually paste it into your feed reader subscription function.
Hopefully this last method will soon disappear, never to be seen again.
In summary: RSS solves BIG problems.
So there you have it… RSS is being adopted at a phenomenal rate, because it’s a good thing for everyone.Thanks to Copyblogger for a helping hand with this RSS mini-tutorial.
Well, I've finally done it. I've gotten off my duff and worked hard to create a website that students and teachers will use AND enjoy. I hope I meet your needs.
It hasn't come easily. I tried using a variety of website CMS (which I have since learned is the acronym for content management systems) and faced a horror of obstacles from the dreaded, "That app is blocked at school" to "Watch this 5 hour tutorial to learn how to create a website."
So I decided to downsize and hopefully right size the Library Learning Commons website using Weebly. I can edit it at school, it didn't cost me an arm or a leg to get our own domain name and it offers password protected pages.
Here's what you can look forward to in this blog:
I hope you'll join me on my journey and offer suggestions along the way! Click on the Brain Pickings button and enjoy some of the things I like to read.