Tuesday, July 14, 2009

G-mail and Google docs

I Just noticed a small, useful feature, on G-mail- at the end of a message you can select to convert the message as a document. (Google Docs)
This makes it easy to go from an email containing minutes of meeting or something that you want to save, or do something with.
Once it is a Google doc you can then invite others to collaborate, publish on web, blog or wiki, download , or just save for later reference, etc.

A lot of people, and I'm guilty, currently save messages in e-mail format because we want to keep the message, contacts or attachments and view them again. This uses up lots of storage space and means you have multiple folders and programs to work with and search when you are looking for your own stuff. I'm like Google docs and how it works in sync,with G-mail.

On another Google Note Picasa for pictures also has built in GPS on Google earth so you can designate where photos are taken. Geo-tagging photos with Picasa and Google Earth
This may be useful for the traveler, geographer, photographer. I want to create a virtual tour for the Eramosa Karst Conservation area in my back yard so that will be a great (easy, free) tool. When I have it done I will let you know.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google Operating System- Great news for education!

News out today shows how Google will be releasing an Operating System distributed initially on Netbooks in 2010. I think this could be great news for education. Since last year I have been testing out, exploring, using and sharing a wide variety of software. Google has a huge number of online services. Using the internet more for online applications is easier, and free for users. There are several privacy and security options with each program and individual file. I've blogged about "Cloud Computing" and "synchronicity" previously. It all makes sense, and I agree that more people will be turning to the web for programs and storage.

Educators around the world are under pressure to have technology accessible for students integrated in all subject areas. E-learning is growing and will continue to prosper. Keeping students engaged with creative and challenging task, differentiating for each students needs, requires more use of technology in all classrooms. Add to that increase ease of use and tight budgets and making more use of free tools just makes sense. Technology can be a way to increase innovation and reduce the economic gap between schools in districts and even countries around the world.

The Old model of having an expensive "fat" computer loaded down with a lot of programs that quickly go out of date is a way of the past in my opinion. I purchased a Netbook last year and love it. Half the price, half the size and weight and all the functionality you need when you work online.

As an educator who works in the classroom, teaching online, with students and peers, I think that this is great news for education. If progressive school boards consider moving to Netbooks in the future that would be great. Our computer labs are overbooked and laptop carts are not available. In the U.S. and other countries there have been one-to-one programs so every student has access to a laptop. We have not been that fortunate, but with a lower cost maybe it will be considered. At a cheaper price even if students come in with their own Netbooks, that may be welcomed in some cases. Of course if school provided access to Netbooks then than the teachers would have an easier time managing their use to ensure it is effective and appropriate, and put away when it is time for other teaching/learning vehicles. Educators can focus our teaching that enhance student creativity, engagement. I'm hopeful that lower costs will reduce or eliminate barriers to access that exist now.

Here are news announcements:




Related posts:
Netbooks- wouldn't it be nice!

Why Cloud Computing

Sychronicity Google + YouTube + Picasa

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Music - Creative Commons

Looking for Free Music with Creative Commons license.
Check this out.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Synchronicity ,Google + YouTube,+ Picasa

Synchronicity is defined by Wikipedia as "the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner." When it comes to technology and web 2.o tools this is really exciting. Before web 2.0 programs people and computers worked as "independent" work stations, documents and files were kept separately. If you wanted to transfer a single document or a number of files you would most likely attach files to an e-mail, copy files to some sort of memory device.

I recently was uploading a video to YouTube and discovered a few new things about synchronicity. First I was asked at the YouTube log in if I wanted to sign in using my Google account I agreed and now, every time I log into Google I also have my YouTube account, with access to my "favourites", and "playlists" at the same time. Selecting a video as "favourite" and adding it to a "playlist" means you can find that video again when you need to share it with someone or reference at another time. There are also new comment, annotations and message tools now in YouTube that will make collaboration on a video possible. The one Log In now works for both accounts. When these two programs are opened together it makes for easier transfer of YouTube files to my Google Blog, Document, Presentation, website or wiki.

The power of having files in sync is clear when I Started using Picasa. This program takes all the photos you have on a given computer (or the folders you want) and lets you upload and store them on the Internet. Those file can be synchronized. So now I can access, edit and create with my photo's on my home computer, office computer, net book or even on mobile device. Each of the folders of photos can be left private by default or made public and shared. So no longer do I need to worry about loosing all the special photo's if my computer breaks down. Everything I need is together, photo's video' docs, etc.

Sychronicity means = access to my stuff, anytime anywhere! Try it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creative Classroom

Technolgy tools and programs help make learning fun and engaging. Teachers working with a variety of old and new technology is illustrated in this presentation. Using new tools for the future is one way to help students be more challenged in the classroom.
This video illustrates the contrast between the technology and innovation dream for the future and the sad old technology reality that we work work with each day. The majority of photos were taken in my real classroom , school in 2009! Those are my outdated desk and yes, lots of overhead projectors and photocopies were made this year. Even though we are try to prepare students for the future and we have some technology we are far behind many other schools and regions around the world and persist in teaching excellence in spite of the drawbacks.