Access/Share Google Docs in Edmodo & the Power of My PLN

Edmodo and Google Users…

I guess I am a bit behind in the game because I just realized you can access your Google Docs in Edmodo now. This new feature came about in March and allows you to Sync your Google Docs (Drive) with your Edmodo Library. That means you can share documents with your Edmodo groups and students can easily turn-in assignments completed via Google Docs.Find the instructions to do this at the Edomod Help site. FYI all users will need to link their Google Docs account with Edmodo before and sharing of docs with users or groups takes place.

Wondering how I heard about this new feature of Edmodo??? Maybe not but here’s the power of my PLN…

I found this blog (while I was browsing Pinterest one evening). It’s by a Digital Learning Coordinator in the Chicago Public Schools > Teaching like it’s 2999 . I first pinned her idea to my “learn” Pinterest board and then visited her blog and found that what the author, Jennie Magiera, blogged about was so connected to what I do so I added it to my Google Reader.

One day this week Google Reader showed that the author had posted something new to her blog called More Ideas to Googlize Your School. That post linked to a Google Doc that she was going to share at a presentation she was doing with teachers. As I scanned the doc I noticed a reference to “Edmodo’s Google Doc integration” so I did a Google searched for edomodo google docs and came up with the link that I shared with you all above.

Isn’t that so cool…in a nerdy sort of way :) In what ways do you “harvest” great teaching ideas from the web? And a big shout out to Jennie Magiera for sharing her ideas and more with us all.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists, Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer, and sporadic blogger for the eMINTS National Center. This post was originally posted at the Higgins’ Helpful Hints Blog.

Get Ready to Jump to Google Drive

Almost everyone associated with eMINTS – teachers, administrators, instructional specialists -has adopted Google Docs as their preferred online collaboration and production tool. Now, Google is taking their cloud-loving system a step further with Drive. Watch…

With Google Drive, creating and collaborating is still a key feature. However, now storing and finding your files are as effortless as… well… everything else on Google. Plus, Google Drive has a downloadable app to make synching easy, much like DropBox. Each user receives 5GB of storage for free with an option to upgrade for a small fee.

For more details on the benefits of switching over to Google Drive, read Google’s blog post on this new feature. There’s also a Droid app for even more syncing options. Below are a few more articles and blog posts on Google’s newest product:

When do you plan to make the leap to Google Drive? How will this affect your DropBox use? What advantages do you see to Google Drive over the old version of Google Docs?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Three Ways to Share PowerPoint Presentations Online

PowerPoint has grown to be one of the most popular presentation tools inside and outside of the classroom. However, newer versions don’t always convert well on older editions of the software. It can also be easy to forget a copy of one’s presentation. So, having an online copy of a presentation can be valuable. Three online tools make it easy to share PowerPoint presentations anywhere there’s an internet connection.

Google Docs has its own presentation feature, but it also allows users to host and share PowerPoint presentations online. It’s an easy uploading process where users may choose to do additional editing using Google’s interface. Google Docs then allow multiple parties to contribute to the same presentation. Plus, Google Presentations are embeddable on almost any website or blog. The only drawback is that presentations will lose their animations, sounds, and transitions.

Another alternate way to share a PowerPoint is to upload it to YouTube. Unlike with Google Docs, this requires a simple process. When saving a PowerPoint, select a picture format such as PNG or JPEG. Then, load those files onto video editing software such as MovieMaker or iMovie. The slides work as images one can arrange in a project’s timeline. Then, go through the process to export the presentation to YouTube.

The third process for sharing PowerPoint presentations online will transform your presentations completely. The online presentation tool Prezi is something entirely different, but now it allows users to upload PowerPoint files and change them into an engaging format that breaks the traditionally linear nature of presentation software. Once the file is uploaded, users are faced with several options for making their presentations come alive. Just watch…

No longer do we have to be limited by the traditional desktop presentation as monopolized by PowerPoint. The online tools mentioned above give users new options for presentation and sharing that were previously not possible with PowerPoint presentations.

What are some other ways you have found for sharing PowerPoint presentations? How will these tools inject your PowerPoint presentations with a dose of energy?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center.

Collaborative Drawings with Google Docs

Nearly a year ago, Google Docs announced the launch of the stand-alone drawing tool. Instead of opening a normal Google Doc and inserting a drawing, Docs offers the option of opening a single drawing that contains all the sharing and collaborative capabilities of the typical Google Doc application.

To create a collaborative Google Drawing, simply click Create>Drawing. The interface for this drawing tool is nearly identical to that of the insert-able Docs interface. However, there are additional saving and sharing options. To share, users simply click on the appropriate button near the upper-right corner of the window. Options are available to share with others to view or edit. One may select collaborators from their email list or simply open the drawing up to those with the link or anyone.

Once a drawing is shared, users can alter and contribute their own ideas to the drawing. The chat feature that’s available for all Google Docs is also active here. So, collaborators can discuss changes and additions to their drawing. With text, shape, and insertion tools, users can create rich diagrams that go beyond simple drawings. These drawings can stand alone with a unique URL or be downloaded for use elsewhere.

Ideas that would make this collaborative tool useful include…

  • Students collaboratively create a timeline, including images with the dates on their graphic.
  • As a fun alternative, a chess or checkers board may be set up that players can easily manipulate play pieces. Almost any simple game board could be created using Google Drawings.
  • Seating charts or other organizational diagrams useful to classroom management can be created and shared.
  • For an interactive whiteboard that’s truly interactive, share a Google Drawing with students and allow them to contribute in real time, keeping them engaged throughout a class discussion.
  • Since these docs are embeddable, teachers could embed a drawing in a blog post or on their websites as a brainstorm activity or message board.
  • Save chart paper and dry-erase board space typically reserved for parking lots or other brainstorms by sharing a Google Drawing with students to edit.
  • If you have more ideas for Google Drawings, add them by editing here and see the results below:

 

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

2012 eMINTS Conference: Google Docs in the Classroom

If you missed eMINTS Conference 2012, that means you also missed a great breakout session, Google Docs in the Classroom, presented by Google Certified Teacher, Stephanie J. Madlinger, Ed.S. Stephanie guided participants through everything from utilizing Google’s URL shortener, goo.gl, to collecting and organizing information from multiple individuals with Google forms.

When sharing Google documents or presentations, up to ten collaborators may work on the online file simultaneously; up to 50 may work concurrently on Google spreadsheets. Of course, as owner of a Google Doc, you determine what stays private, what is shared, and what permissions collaborators are granted. A tool that was new to many participants was Google Drawings. Need to create a diagram? You can do that with Google Drawings as well!

One of the best features of Google resources is that they are all free! Whether you need email for your students or collaborative docs to can access anytime anywhere, Google has the tool. Google in Education provides a nice overview.

Bottom line: it seems like there is now a Google Doc for everything! What are your hunches about how students and teachers might use Google Docs? If you need some ideas, check out Google Docs for Educators.
Stephanie graciously agreed to share her presentation resources with all of you. It’s no surprise that they’re all organized in a Google Doc!

Thank you, Stephanie!

Debbie Perkins is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist.

eMINTS Conference: Session 3 (Thursday)

Google Docs in the Classroom

Presenter Stephanie Madlinger presents online collaboration & instructional strategies using Google documents, providing a 24/7 global approach and differentiated instruction for all learning styles. Participants create, share and edit online by using the basic abilities of word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Additionally, teachers create an online form to collect information, chart and graph in a snap. As a Google Certified Teacher, Stephanie Madlinger shows us how to open up one classroom to new learning today! All one needs is a Google account to get the most out of Google Docs.

Sites Worth Quacking About!

Glenda Admire and Ashley Sutherland of Lebanon R-III show us how using technology to enhance existing lessons doesn’t have to be difficult. Quick and free sites easily adapt for classroom use in a matter of minutes. Sites shared range from classroom management to tools that will help enhance lessons through use of technology.

Journals, Blogs and Wikis to Enhance Reading and Writing

Presenter Denis Knight helps participants gain a better understanding of various web-based instructional opportunities to use to enhance reading and writing skills. Educators learn how to use online journals, blogs and wikis to develop innovative ways to not only communicate with your students, but provide an avenue for creative written expression. Teachers generate online journals for students to reflect on classroom activities; blog for addressing constructive response questions and article reviews to address reading comprehension. They learn to create a classroom wiki to provide opportunities for interactive discussion and peer evaluation. When used with appropriate assessments, these online sources give the teacher the flexibility to use internet sites as a way to move from the paper and pencil past to a new and exciting learning experience.

SMART Board: More Than Just a Fancy Whiteboard!

Heidi Beatty of Horace Mann Laboratory School demonstrates how to make one’s SMART Board/SMART Notebook work for teachers to motivate students, promote peer interaction and independent success! In this workshop, participants explore SMART Notebook and how it can work to enhance lessons and engage students. Students should be comfortable using the SMART Board and by attending this presentation, teachers are more confident in their own skills as well as letting a 6-year old or a 12-year old use this expensive piece of equipment! The presenter models and assists in guided practice.

Tuesday’s Tool: Google Presentation

Collaborative presentations used to be a headache when students worked on a single PowerPoint (or equivalent presentation software) presentation. They either had to wait their turn to input their content or struggle with merging separate files. The end result was usually that one student took over and created the presentation on his or her own.

Getting past the obvious faults in cooperative learning design, Google Presentation provides an easy alternative to the scenario above. Multiple users can have access to the same presentation at the same time. Ideally, all members of a team can have their own slide or set of slides to contribute. Editing can happen in real time, simultaneously instead of downtime creating opportunities for classroom management nightmares.

Google Presentation has several other great features that makes it an ideal collaborative tool:

  • The “View Together” feature allows audience members to chat during a presentation, possibly adding to the presentation through viewer participation.
  • Hyperlinks can be inserted as a way to create a rudimentary website housed on Google’s servers.
  • Slides from other presentations can be added to a current presentation.
  • PowerPoint files can be uploaded and edited using Google’s interface.
  • A presentation can be embedded onto a blog, Moodle course space, or any site that incorporates HTML coding.

So, how could one use these features in the classroom? I have a list for that as well:

  • Collect content gathered for the purposes of a Jigsaw activity on one presentation.
  • Open up editing rights as a way to collaborative gather ideas, much like Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ways project.
  • Collect scientific data to share with classrooms in other schools, towns, states, or countries.
  • I use Google Presentation to provide an agenda for the teachers I train.
  • Organize a WebQuest on a single presentation.

How have you used Google Presentation? Are there other collaborative presentation tools that work as well as Google’s? What other uses can you see for Google Presentation?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Thursday’s Tip: The Power of Online Collaboration

Goodbye Power Point…Hello Prezi!

One night this past spring I witnessed my 15 year-old daughter hard at work on a group presentation for her Freshman Honors English class. We all know how painful completing group projects can be, and she moaned and groaned at the prospect of collaborating on an essay and visual presentation with two of her peers. Once she finally got going, it was amazing to see the collaboration between these three students – who were each in their homes working from their computers.

They worked simultaneously with two online tools. They used Google Docs to work on the essay and to chat about what they were doing. They also used Prezi to create an amazingly cool, interesting, and informative presentation. This tool is like a giant white board that lets you zoom in and out and set a sequence of your choice for the words and graphics to be shown. The result can be striking.

The most exciting part about this tool to me (as a parent and a teacher) is the enthusiasm the students have for using it and therefore, the enthusiasm they have for working on a group project. My daughter and her peers worked for hours and all three of them had an equal part. They could each see what the other was doing to both the essay and the presentation in real time. They could ask each other questions…”Hey, I need a quote for this part, who has one?” and “What do you mean you broke up with him?”…just like working in person. However, since they were working online, and there is somehow more freedom to say more personal things than you would in person, they really got to know each other in a way that they never would have in the school building as these are three students who would not choose to interact with each other and don’t share common friends.

So instead of a presentation tool…maybe Prezi could boast itself a tool that also breaks teenage social barriers! Cool stuff either way!!

This post was submitted by Tami Chappel, a special education teacher for Kirkwood Schools here in Missouri. You can read more from Tami at her blog, Pioneer Prep.

Thursday’s Tip: Top-10 Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

Created at Wordle.

For this week’s tip, we’re bringing you a list of top-10 ways you can use social media in your classroom.

10. Social bookmarks like Delicious (still around), EverNote, and Diigo are great ways for groups of students researching a topic to gather and organize their resources. You can set up an account for an entire class, a small group, or one for individuals who share and follow their peers’ research.

9. As mentioned earlier this week, there are many new uses for YouTube (and other social video sharing sites like Vimeo). Channels can be created. Response videos and creative annotation and tagging can add another interactive level to the video sharing process.

8. Google Reader (H/T Brooke Higgins) can be a great way for teachers and students to follow particular resources as well as share in a community. A teacher can create a bundle of important resources to which he wants his students to subscribe. There is also the share feature where students and teachers could share interesting articles or blog posts they find in their own readings. The comment and search functions can also come in handy with Google Reader.

7. The new Groups on Facebook make it even easier to communicate with students and parents without having to give up privacy via friending. There are many more privacy safeguards for the new Groups, but there are also several new features that make Groups more community-friendly. Now, when comments are made on the new Groups’ walls, that same content shows up on every member’s feed and sends a notification. This insures that every member sees all the wall posts. Also, there is a group chat that allows more than one participant at a time, great for online class discussion. Documents, pictures, videos, links, and events can all be managed in one place.

6. Teachers and schools often complain about the cost of out-dated textbooks that don’t match student needs as closely as they should or are limiting in their scope. A great way to combat this is to write our own textbooks using wikis. Not only could a wiki be used to display a teacher’s notes, but there are multimedia capabilities as well as commenting options. Even better, students can be involved in writing their own textbooks. A wiki-created text could be revised and edited from year to year without the cost of a new textbook series eating up valuable space in a school’s budget since wikis are often free or very cheap for premium, ad-free packages. Oh, and there’s a wiki out there with directions for writing a textbook.

3.-5. Google Docs provide several great options for collaborative classroom work. Here are three:

  • Google Docs has its own presentation feature, much like PowerPoint. In fact PPT files can be uploaded to Google Docs and converted to an online presentation. Students working from different computers or locations can easily contribute to the same presentation. When presented to the class, students can chat during the presentation and the discussion shows up on a side panel.
  • Collaborative writing has never been easier than with Google Docs. Using the word processing feature, students can contribute to the same document, insert comments, chat about the direction of the document, and access older drafts. Plus, the document can easily be converted to a PDF or website.
  • Data collection and online tests quizzes are easier now with the addition of Google Forms to the Docs suite. A form can be set up to gather any data (surveys, quizzes, blog submissions ;) ) and it’s all gathered in a tidy spreadsheet that can be easily converted to charts and graphs. Plus, multiple users can gain access to the results, as with any Google Doc.

2. Photo sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr offer great opportunities not only for sharing and commenting on one another’s images, but also several other useful features. Tagging and/or annotation images is a great way to demonstrate understanding and to encourage contributions. Both offer some editing features and allow video uploads.

1. Blogs. Well, what else would you expect from a blog? Blogs are a tremendously underused social media tool. Collaborative writing, online publishing, interactivity between readers and writers, easy to manipulate HTML code with multiple options for embedding media… The possibilities for blogs is endless. Plus, blogs can be used alongside many of the tools already mentioned above.

How do you use social media in your classroom? Feel free to comment below or link back to this post.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.