It seems like it has been a while since I have posted an update, but with the holiday, I’m not surprised. One thing I found while on vacation was that Google has made 23 more apps available for Google Apps users. This has been a long time coming and I’m excited that schools finally have the opportunity to begin using more of these tools in their classrooms. Here are a couple of the apps that are new that I’m excited about:
Blogger: For those who don’t know, blogger is a Google’s blogging platform and is quite simple for teachers and students to begin blogging and sharing their ideas with the rest of the world. I know many teachers that have been frustrated in the past with the lack of access to this app. However, now teachers can begin having their students complete blogging activities in their courses and help students develop a reflective voice that is necessary for life long learning.
Reader: Central to my PLN is my Google Reader page. I follow a number of blogs from educational techology, to politics, to design, to weird and wacky news. I have found that through the use of Google Reader that I have become more informed with what is happening in my field as well as staying abreast of what’s happening in the rest of the world. Living in a rural state it is easy to become isolated with the lack of different ideas coming at you everyday. Through the use of Google Reader I have been able to have my beliefs challenged, which has made me a better educator and person.
Picasa Web Albums: Picasa has become one of the ways I share pictures with family, friends, and co-workers, not to mention it is the place that I use to upload images to use on Web sites as slideshows. This may be a simple app, but it does open the doors for increased multimedia applications in the classroom, whether it be through an annotated slideshow that tells a story or simply a way to share pictures of a class field trip.
Having access to additional google apps has made teaching more flexible. Teachers now have more resources in their arsenal that are now easier to use since students don’t need to have an additional email account to access certain apps. Not to mention the fact that IT admins now have greater control over these sites, so if a student violates an AUP, they can now restrict access to the apps, as well as follow other compliance policies. This is a very exciting time and I can’t wait to see how teachers in all areas integrate some of these apps into their instruction.
Looking for projects or activities for your students to do where they get to use the tools they learn the best with? The look no further. The Apple Learning Interchange is a Web site that has a ton of activities for you to do with your class. The four major content areas are included on this site, as well as all grade levels. Most of the projects are based upon Apple software and technology, but this doesn’t mean you can’t adapt it if you want to use a Windows computer.
Whatever your motivation might be, check out Apple Learning Interchange. Just looking at some of the activities may inspire you to try something different.
Wallwisher.com is a nifty Web site that allows you to create an online area where you can post “stickies to a wall.” This would come in handy for brainstorming, sharing class notes, reviewing from class, etc. It is a free site and all you need to do is create a wall. But make sure you finish all the parts of the wall or it won’t let you create the wall. It does tell you what your mistake is or what you are missing.
Check it out: www.wallwisher.com
I am sitting in my first session and I am amazed at all the online resources I am finding with just a little help. I see how important it is to have someone there to hold your hand every time I go to one of my technology conferences. Just when I think I know almost everything there is, someone comes along and shows me something new. I am going to try to keep the sentiment going and pass on what I learn to you.
Right now I am in my first session that is about Internet Resources. I will go into more detail later about what is on some of the sites that I am linking to but here is a link that contains many, many links that can lead you to lesson plans, activities, and other online resources. Open a Web browser and go to: http://delicious.com/tag/gayleglobal. This is a listing of all the Web sites my session leader has shared with us.
On a side note, she has shared these bookmarks using delicious.com, which is social bookmarking. I will have to do a tech tip on that one later!
With supplies and funds becoming tighter and tighter, I wanted to let everyone know about an online resource that might help you out. Google has been making available online a large number of books. Many of the books are full-text or near full-text. This service is called Google Books. Google Books is one of the Google Apps and their goal for this app is to become an online library. It is very simple to get started using Google Books. Here’s how to do it:
- Open a Web browser and go to books.google.com
- From this page you can search for a book you might be using in one of your classes, say The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- After you search for the book then a list will appear of all the matching books
- You can further limit your search results by changing the drop down menu to show only Full Text books (The default is Limited and Full text)
- Once you find the book you want, click on it and it will open in a new Web page
- If the book is in Public Domain (books that have not renewed the copyright) can be downloaded for free
- If full text preview is available, you can read the entire book
- If limited text preview is available, then you can only read certain pages
- If no preview is available, only general information about the book will be shown
- If you want you can purchase a book from here as well