Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Notes - Google Workshop for Educators #iste10 #gweiste10

The Google Workshop for Educators at ISTE2010 was a great workshop. I want to thank Mark Wagner and all the google certified teachers that presented. I thought I knew a lot about Google tools, but by the end of the day I realized that I really didn't know that much at all. I was most amazed by Google Search. Yeah, I thought I wasn't even going to pay attention to that part of the workshop. How much could there be that I don't know about Google Search? Well, as it turns out, there was a lot that I didn't know. :)

Here is the link to the workshop resources:

Below are some of the highlights that I pulled out of my notes as I reviewed them:

Google Search
  • Search Features - Every student should know about this. It is a list of Google search tools that are specific to certain types of content.
  • Want to narrow down your search results? Down on the lower left hand side of your there are two options to check out: Wonder Wheel and Timeline. These two options allow you to quickly narrow down your results.
  • Google Squared - This is a google labs feature. You can do a google search and it will create a spreadsheet of the results. It is great for comparisons!
  • Custom Google Search - You can build your own search engine. Your create the URL, and you select the domains it has access to pull data from. It could help if you are worried about students finding inappropriate results. Or you could have students create them to collaboratively build a set of the best resources for a subject.
Google Docs
  • You can now create templates for documents. There is also a whole section of Education templates already built
  • Use the map gadget in Spreadsheets to build a custom google map based on the select data.
Google Maps
  • Panoramio - You can take a picture of something, geo tag it and upload it to Panoramio. Google reviews the pictures for content and then if approved they will become part of the photos layer in google maps
  • Collaborative Maps - You can use your Google account to create your own custom map. You can then share the map with other users and build a collaborative map. Right now this option is not available for Google Apps users. It should be available by the end of the year.
  • Google Lit Trips - This website is a great resource for doing webquest type activities with your students.
Google Sites
  • Create templates for your teachers to use when starting out.
  • Picasa - Use Picasa to create a web album that can be turned into an embedded slide show in your website.
  • Use Google Analytics to track your site usage statistics.
Even More

Sunday, June 27, 2010

iPad: Is it a 1:1 device? #ebc10

We made it to the final session of EduBloggerCon2010 yesterday and sat in on a discussion about whether or not the iPad is a good fit for 1:1 initiatives. It was a great discussion with most of the group commenting on reasons why it was not a good fit. Some of the reasons:
No enterprise management
Consumption only (no way to create)
Closed system

I have to agree There are many reasons why it isn't a good fit if it is the only device available to students. However, I don't think this was necessarily the right discussion. In this day and age with all the devices that are available, should we still be looking for one device that can do everything? Is that cost effective? Shouldn't we be looking for ways to give our students experience on as many different devices as possible? Shouldn't we be teaching them to pick the right tool for the job?

I think we must begin to support many devices and many platforms. We need to give our students the opportunity to experience as much as possible and not lock them into one platform, or one device. This will enable them to be better prepared for whatever is thrown at them when they get into their chosen industry.