Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Google Docs

Google Docs is an alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. Some of the benefits of using Google Docs over Microsoft Office are:

1. Google Docs is free.
2. Google Docs allows for easy sharing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
3. Google Docs are accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection.
4. Students do not need to have Microsoft Office at home to be able to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
5. Saves time in the classroom

Google Docs In Plain English

Using Google Docs in the classroom allows for students to work on collaborative projects and not have to worry about how to share with their partners/teachers. It eliminates the need for emailing files, saving files to a jump drive and all the time that it takes to do these things. Students find this helpful when working in groups.
Students and teachers like to be able to share these files with each other and be able to edit them from anywhere. When it is time to present to the class the teacher just opens the file that has been shared with them from the student and they can present. No need to login and logout of student accounts, plug in jump drives, open emails etc.

How to Use Google Docs without a Gmail Account

It is easy to set up a Google docs account with or without a Gmail account. If you have a Gmail account you automatically have a Google Docs account.

Another nice feature of Google docs is the ability to create a Google Form which allows you to survey students, give online quizzes and gather any data you wish. The data will show up in a spreadsheet format that you can easily graph.

Using Google Forms

Here is a link to the Free Tech 4 Teachers blog that provides a number of Google Docs tutorials.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Research Tools

I have been sharing research tools with teachers throughout the district the past few weeks. I decided to put the tools here for everyone. There are countless research tools available to teachers and students today. Share these with your students or give them a try yourself.

Advanced Google Search
Most students and teachers use Google as their primary search engine. Google search is a very comprehensive tool but many times when you search you get way more results than you can sift through and they are not all valuable in an educational setting. By using Advanced Google Search you can narrow your searches and make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for.
Advanced Google Search Tutorial

Sweet Search
Another way to find better quality results from your search is Sweet Search. This search engine returns only educationally approved results. They have a research team that evaluates sources and approves the quality ones. There are other tools available on the site for students and teachers and you can get daily resources for Elementary, Middle and High School.

Students love this search engine! Mashpedia returns results from several different sources for each search. For example if you search for "gulf oil spill" you will receive results from wikipedia, youtube, twitter, news sources, google book sources, and google images. This saves students time looking at all these different sources by bringing it to them in one search.

Eyeplorer is another visual search engine that provides results in text format or in a web format. The web format is a visual display of your search topic that provides related search topics within the web. This makes it easier than a simple Google search because when you search for a term or concept you will also see related terms or concepts making for a more detailed and simplified search.

WOW! You have to take a look at this one. This is an amazing multimedia search tool. It provides results in a very visual format. It is a little overwhelming for someone not of the net generation, in my opinion, but I can see how digital natives would enjoy this tool. You can select, using a slider tool, if you want results that are more objective or more entertaining. WOW!

Self professed "search engine designed to provide meaningful search results" tool that returns only objective results for any term/concept searched. It seems to cut out useless information and organizes the objective information so users can access news, images, videos and other results.

Here are a few other tools recommended by Tech & Learning that I have not used.
Quintura, Spezify, Scoopler, Webkruz, Sputtik, Feedmil.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Math Is Not Linear-Prezi

It was quite a coincidence that Mr Macioce sent me this Prezi this morning. We will be presenting Prezi to the Senior High Faculty at our meeting on Wednesday morning and here is a great example of the tool. Ms Giron is using this tool with her literature circles and Ms Raymond is using it in her class for presentations this week. Students are slowly finding out about Prezi and are excited to use this as an alternative to PowerPoint!

This is a very thought provoking presentation about Math Education. Mr. Macioce wanted me to give credit to Mr. Segretti for finding this great presentation. See informal PLCs, sharing resources, is a great thing! Thanks for sharing!
If you aren't a Math educator I still think it is worth a look. I think you could apply some of the creator's thoughts to any content area. Enjoy!

Math Is Not Linear

As always if you need help with using this Prezi in your classroom to better engage students and to make your grading of presentations a little more exciting let me know. I will gladly help in class with your students or with you individually.