Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, August 8, 2008

Google 's Wedges

Google offers a fabulous suite of tools for teachers to use in their schools. They are Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picassa, YouTube, Pages (webpages), Alerts, Calendar, and lots more.

I have my scholars start with Google's Gmail account to set up the Google tools suite. By using Gmail, each scholar establishes an email account we will use for school as if it were a business account and not a personal account. Now, I have control of the names they use for the accounts. I can have them create an account using something I can devise that let's me know who each scholar is. I use combinations of their name and a school ID number. I have them use their name so they have ownership and we know who they are. In your school you will probably want to use something you and the school allow so the scholars aren't using their own crated names or handles that may not be appropriate for school. Once the Gmail account is created access to the rest of the Google tools is available and intuitive.

Once the account is established and each scholar has signed in, the link to "My Account" will appear in the upper right corner of the screen. Once "My Accounts" is click a new screen will appear that lists the tools already selected. Gmail will be there. Further down on the right hand column, the scholar will see the word "More." When the scholar clicks on "More" a list of tools will be shown. Once a tool like Docs or Blogger is clicked the tool will open and be added to the list of Tools being used by the scholar. So next time the scholar logs in and clicks on "My Account" those new tools will be visible and accessible.

"Docs" is a fabulous tool. The scholar will be able upload, share, and even work on Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents. S/he can share these documents with teachers, peers, and anyone else s/he wishes to allow read and write access. What is also fabulous is that anyone who has access can use the editing programs on Google. "Docs" is a wonderful document sharing tool and necessary for NWP projects.

"Blogger" is another tool teachers should explore for their scholars. Blogs are personal discussion boards. A scholar posts a thought, question, essay and views have the rights to comment on the post. The scholar has initiated a conversation with others. Now the scholar can have many of these conversations with all of hir class and others outside school, who find their way to our scholars' blogs.

"Pages" is a webpage editor and viewer. The scholar can either build webpages using HTML code or the editor and templates provided. Webpages are an excellent way to build the scholars' webfolios, web portfolio versions of their work.

"Picassa" is a picture sharing program. The scholar can create picture galleries used in school projects. Picassa houses all the graphics used in the Blog and Webpages, too.

As the scholars explore Google Tools, they will discover many more useful tools.

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