10 Reasons to Trash Word for Google Docs

A blog post I wrote to High School Students. As I’ve been helping students get going with their gmail accounts and blogs over the past couple of weeks I’ve been joking about the “old school” e-mail systems that some of you still use. Hotmail, Yahoo…and seriously….AOL…come on….. But there is another old school tool that I think has seen its best days behind it. Microsoft Word….oh how we loved you back in the day when you were really the only word processing program we needed. But times are changing and it’s time to move on to new and better tools. Google Docs is a very powerful alternative to Word. Here are 10 reasons to consider using Google Docs the next time you need to do some writing. 1. No more corrupt files Nothing worse than staying up all night to finish an assignment only to quickly drag it to your flash drive and turn up at school with a file that won’t open on a teacher’s computer. With Google Docs access to your file is only a click away and you never have to worry about your file their corrupt. 2. No more corrupt USB Keys Of course if your file is not corrupt then it’s your USB Key that fails you when you need it most. Using Google Docs as an online storage locker means never having to worry about a corrupt or even lost USB key again. Simple download the documents you need when you get to school. With 1GB of space you can store a weeks worth of work easily. 3. .doc .docx who cares! Nothing worse than having a file you can’t open or giving someone a file they can’t open. With Google Docs simply share the link to your file on the Internet. If they have a web browser and an internet connect they can view the document. 4. Work Collaboratively By far the best feature of Google Docs. Work collaboratively with others in your class. Missing a day because of IASAS? No problem! Have a friend take notes in Google Docs during class and simply share the notes with you. Just don’t forget to return the favor. 5. Share and Share a Like Simply create documents to share with team members, club members, or anyone else you need to. No more worrying about the latest versions of the document or how many times you’ve revised. Allowing everyone to work on the same...

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Flubaroo Turns Google Forms into Self Graded Quizes

Click the Image to go to Flubaroo Last week a teacher here at ISB asked me if I had ever heard of Flubaroo. I hadn’t at the time and then over the course of the next three days Flubaroo came up 5 more times. Today I took some time to play with it and it is an amazing script that takes Google Forms to a new level. The Flubaroo websites has great step by step instructions on how it works and it’s easy to use. It even allows you to e-mail the students their scores right from the Google Sheet. A powerful add-on script for educators. All you need is a free Google Account! Give it a try and see what you think. Just another reasons why Open...

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The Classroom Newspaper Google Docs Style

3rd Grade Teacher, Laura Chesebro here at ISB continues to impress me with her innovative use of technology with kids. First there is her class website/blog where she engages both parents and students. Then there is the fact all her students are blogging themselves. Another example of her innovation was the weather unit they did earlier this year where she used her Facebook and Twitter Network to gather temperatures around the world for the kids to analyze and use.  And if that wasn’t enough, she’s now reinventing the way a classroom newspaper is created.  I remember creating classroom newspapers with my students in 4th, 5th, & 6th grade. This project almost makes me want to go back into the classroom again just to try it for myself.  First, there is Laura’s understanding of how kids learn technology. Before they start this project, she exposes them to Google Docs and lets them explore the program. It didn’t take long for the kids to of course find the chat feature in Google Docs. For some teachers, this would have been a reason to stop using Google Docs, for others like Laura, it was a teaching opportunity and a chance to use it for learning. A quick call to the carpet, the class talked about the chat. Why did Google put it there? How would you use it? What would you say? And off they go again exploring the program.                     Then there is the template Laura found by searching the Google Doc Templates for “Student Newspaper.” Someone else out there had done the hard work of creating the template for her (Thanks Lezlie Harris whoever you are).   Next was the creation. I went to observe as the students took the rough drafts they had on paper and started typing them into the newspaper template. Three to four kids to a “section” of the newspaper, working simutaneously on the same document. As I watched via the Google Docs, it didn’t take the students long to start chatting. One group talked about the font they were going to use. Another group commented and encouraged each other on how much they had written or how fast they were writing. Yes, they were all in the same room but what a great way to start teaching “chat etiquette” in an environment that could be monitored by a teacher. Next it was time to find pictures. A lesson on...

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Custom Google Docs App for your school

So maybe I’ve been reading to much Lifehacker lately. But I got to school this morning and some how got thinking about how I could hack-up the Google Doc Application that you get from Google when you install Google Gears to work with our school educational Google Apps domain. So here are the steps on how to do it for your own school domain. Mac 1. Download the app by clicking here. 2. Control+Click on the app and select “Show Package Contents” 3. Navigate to Contents-MacOS-launch.sh file 4. Control+Click on the file and open with TextEdit 5. You will see the value http://docs.google.com/a/yourschooldomain delete that and copy and paste the web address to your google apps. It should look something like http://docs.google.com/a/yourschooldomain 6. Save your changes to the launch.sh file 7. Drag the app into your application folder or to your dock and launch. Bounce: While in the launch.sh file you’ll also see the code to launch your web browser. You can change this to be the web browser of your choice. Safari, Firefox, or Google Chrome. I set it for Firefox for all our teachers at school, but use Google Chrome on my own computer. PC If you are on a PC Google just creates a shortcut for you on the desktop to the web page. Why? Teachers at our school have really started to use Google Docs; from team meeting notes, to creating unit plans and sharing them out. The problem was that teachers didn’t want to have to remember one more URL, and for many they have so many mismanaged bookmarks that they can’t find things they have bookmarked. So what this does is “reduce the clicks” as I’m always preaching. Now it’s one click and you’re to your docs! The simple app for the Mac just makes it nice and simple with a little design feature added in and easy to attach to an e-mail and send out to the...

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