Sunday, April 13, 2008

How Do You Get Your Google Glow On?

My colleague, Jodie, and I got an e-mail the other day from the organizers of the Virtual School Society's Annual Spring Conference saying that they did have room for us after all to give our presentation Get Your Google Glow On and could we still do it? Even though the conference is next week (not a lot of prep time), Jodie and I are good sports and said yes.

Image: google_logo by keso

Nervous About the Presentation
Yes, I've been teaching for awhile now, but for some reason I'm more comfortable talking to an auditorium of high school kids than I am speaking to a group of my peers. Added to that, the last time I did a presentation at a conference was when I was wrapping up my MSc in Biology about 13 years ago; hopefully distance learning educators are less ruthless than grad students and post-docs who are trying to make a name for themselves!

Collaboration & Communication
Jodie and I are presenting on some of the many on-line tools that Google offers. We're highlighting Google Notebook, Google Docs, and Google Calendar. The presentation is aimed at beginners who have not used these tools before. We're planning on focusing on how these tools can allow for increased collaboration and better communication.

How We Use The Tools
Since September we've been using Google Calendar to post relevant due dates, exam dates etc. We created a separate calendar for each grade and students can subscribe to their calendar or just view them on our website (see the grade 9 calendar here). I teach at a distributed learning school where many of our students are working asynchronously. The calendar 'deadlines' have been very helpful to let students know if they are on track to finishing their courses on time.

Jodie and I use Notebook to book mark sites we want to show the students in a particular unit. We've just been working on a series of lessons on hatching duck eggs; Jodie set up a notebook and shared it with me so that I could add links as well. I also use Notebook to organize the links for my Elluminate Live! sessions.

As for Google Docs, I've been preparing my Elluminate Live! lesson presentations using the Presentation tool. To demonstrate how to solve Applications of Math 10 questions I set up a spreadsheet in Google Docs and walked a student through the process on-line. We're also starting to get students to collaborate with each other using the Documents software.

How Do You Use These Google Tools?
Do you use any of these three Google tools with students or colleagues? If so, would you be willing to share how they have been effective for you? If so I'd love to hear from you!

Post Script
I'm posting this using the Blog Posting option in Flock. I'm curious as to how this will work out as I'm new to using Flock.

Added after posting--The Flock upload worked fairly well, except that none of my font formats were uploaded (italics and bold).

Blogged with the Flock Browser

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