Google Docs for Education

Google Docs is a free educational tool that can be used for collaborative writing and presentations for students. The web based software is a great resource for teacher looks to promote writing on the web. Students can work together on separate screens at any time. A final project can be a report, book review or presentation worked on by every student. The service even allows teacher to see changes and writing made be each student at specific times by comparing new and old revisions.

I have posted a video of various teacher and administrators who find Google Docs to be a valuable resource:

video

*New Technology Alert*


When I happen to come upon it, I want to share with you new technology that has the potential to change how we use technology. I will also share my ideas on how it may be integrated in schools and classrooms.


The new technology I'd like to share with you today is called Google wave. This is Google's new approach to collaborative communication. Many of you may be familiar with Google search, Gmail and Google Apps, but this is a new foray into 21st century communication. The new cross platform application is a way to have an online conversation without sending emails to a whole list of people. Instead you can send a message to people, called a wave, where people can add their comments real time. The wave can also include media, such as videos and pictures. Overall, Google wave combines the speed of IM with the thread conversations of an email. To see a video demo if this web app in progress just click this link. Google wave


Ok, I don't work for Google but you can tell I'm a big fan of their forward thinking web apps. Now I'd like to share what I think the applications for Google Wave in the schools or classroom with teachers, students and parents. First, I think teachers can use this program to collaborate lesson ideas, send messages and offer instructional feedback to other teachers. A wave can include multiple teachers, so experienced teachers can be helping a new teacher as an example. Second, I envision students asking teachers for homework help over this software. For example, several students may be struggling on the same math problem. Instead of having the teacher answer the same question 5 times, he can send out a Google wave clarification and help. From there students can collaborate with the teacher to get the problem. Third, Google wave can help parents keep in contaact with that their child's classroom is doing. There maybe a group of parents wondering when a field trip is taking place for their child's class. Other parents can fill them in via a Google wave or the teacher can send out a reminder. These are just a few ways Google wave can improve realtime communication in the classroom.

Can you think of some and share them in the comments?

Your Technology Friend

It has been a common practice among teachers to make friends with the janitor or secretary of a school. As a teacher, it seems to be a beneficial way to open up a two way street of communication. This friendly collaboration makes the school more beneficial for the students, teachers and support staff.

Its time all teachers became friends with their technology teacher. These people possess a vast knowledge of technology that can be useful in your classroom. A good technology school representative seeks out new technology and discovers ways to use it in the classroom. They are happy to share new ideas to use in a lesson plan. Technology can be infused with all subjects from math, English literacy to social studies. Technology integration will help you reach students who grew up with technology, so get out there are learn it. Go make friends with that technology guru!

Come back, and leave a comment if you met the technology teacher and learned from them

Classroom and School Survey

When teachers report for their first week of preparation, it can be a hectic time to find desks, markers (no longer chalk) or text books to prepare for their year. All of those things can be important, but I feel that a teacher also needs to survey their classroom and school for the technology they have available to them throughout the year.

Classroom Survey:

Do I have a.....
desktop or laptop?
keyboard/mouse?
speakers?
Internet connection?
projector or digital projector?
Smart-board?

School Survey:

Are there technology resources in the library?
Is there a computer lab?
Is there a mobile laptop cart?
Can I sign out a projector, camera, or camcorder?

What other questions would you add to the survey?
Add a comment so we can make a comprehensive list.

Bringing Teachers up to Speed...

The world seems to be moving at lightening speed when it comes to the topic of technology. With technology getting more complex, teachers are turning towards experts to learn about the technology available to them. Teachers can become overwhelmed in the differences between blogs, wikis and pod-casts. I want to be a teacher resource for untangling technology differences and discovering how to use a tech tool for the classroom. Although teachers may not be technology experts, they are experts in instructing students how to learn. Once a teacher learns how to use technology effectively, then it becomes a powerful tool in their arsenal of teaching.

I will be posting weekly technology tools and tips which can used in the classroom. But this blog isn't just for me to broadcast my ideas. I want to hear how you the teacher went and used the technology effectively or ineffectively. The collaboration will spur new ideas for me and other teachers.