Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thing #7 Google Rules the WORLD!

I have used a variety of Google Applications over the years, but I have been distracted by my inability to keep all my stuff in the same place. In calendars, I have Outlook on the home machine and on the work machine and have never been very proficient at sync them together with different versions at each place. I have been using an iphone for the past couple of years and the device lets me see all the various entries over several calendars but I have not found a way to have the entries entered into the phone to go back to the various calendars....I think I may have these problems (they may have only been problems due to technical ineptitude) licked and kicked after playing around with my existing calendar for this exercise. I created a new Google calendar with the same title as the blog that I intend to use with my classes. I shared it and gave posting & management rights to my team colleagues initially just to experiment with it, but hopefully for planning/collaborative purposes. Next I activated the mobile device extensions so it can all be sent to the iphone. (It is amazing how in just the last few years, my practices have changed so radically away from work on the desk/lap top to the iphone) Obviously, the benefit to the classroom is for students to be able to keep abreast of assignments. More so, I think the access to the class calendar to post events might work well towards real buy-in to a class community. From a productivity standpoint, I feel that I am now in a position of creating events just once and having multiple reminders of tasks and to dos across a variety of platforms.Lastly, I added it to my blog.
I have an igoogle page that I really love and use on my home machine.  It keeps me constantly hooked up to the news services, personal blogs, and edu-blogs that I want to see. There are so many really fun and useful apps here.  I love the Art Work of the Day, the Sticky Note, and the translation tool. I had begun to use Google Docs in my former position, but it never really went to far, as students were unable to gain access at school and my former district was afraid of such open platforms. Obviously this app is a wonderful way for educators to collaborate on lesson, parent letters, grant proposals, syllabai (?), etc. However the real benefit of Google Docs will reveal itself in student (individual, small group, class, department, world) collaboration on a document or presentation. As exciting as the potential these apps represent, it is nothing compared to the REALITY of using them! Starting in the August, ALL my students will have access to Google Apps!
I also experimented with Google Notebook and it looks promising, though I have to say (if I understand its intended use) is that Delicious and especially Diigo seem to be better bookmarking platforms. I also use Google Reader, but I tend to subscribe to too many streams and end up not really using it. That is my fault and not the app's....but that's a Thing #8 discussion.

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