Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 6 - 'Boo'gle Apps

Happy Halloween!

The theme for the week's Web 2.0 Challenges is Productivity Tools and today we're starting things off with Google Apps. (Sorry if the title for the post threw you off!)

Google Apps is a suite of communication and collaboration tools developed by Google that are accessible through any computer's web browser via the Internet.  Google Apps is a type of computing where everything done in the web browser lives and breathes in the cloud... and Google was doing this before the term Cloud Computing became popular.  There are tons of apps available in the suite including the one we're using right now (Blogger), but for this post we are going to focus on the five main apps in the suite which are Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs, Groups, and Sites.


GETTING STARTED
Here are some jumping off points to get you logged into the Google Apps suite.
  • Create an Account (for anyone that doesn't have an account)
  • EVSC Google Apps Login (All EVSC teachers and Grades 6-12 students have an evsck12.com account)
  • Gmail Login (if you are a Google Apps for Education user, you will need to use your full email address to login)
GOTTA LOVE THE GOOGLE APPS!
There are so many things that I could point to that Google Apps makes simple for people to do, but I will leave that for you all to discuss in the comments section below.  I am going to highlight one of the things that I love most about Google Apps and that is on how easy it is to share and collaborate with others in Google Docs.

How many times have you created a document on your computer and then needed someone to look it over and possibly add to the document?  Many times, right?  So, here's what you end up doing... you spend time working on the document and then email the document as an attachment to one of your colleagues.  Now the waiting game begins.  Now you spend time waiting for them to email it back to you.  And then when you get the email back with their edits and additions applied to the file, you save the new file to your computer, give it a different file name because you don't want to overwrite the first version of the file just in case you later decide to go with the first instead of the second version.  Are you lost yet?  Just imagine how crazy this would sound if you had done this with five people!  (which some of you have probably done at some point in your career)

Google Docs makes this process easy.
  • Share a Google Doc with up to 200 simultaneous viewers and editors, 50 of which can be editing the document at the same time.  200 people looking at the same document sounds extreme, but it's good to know the limitations.
  • Sharing is simple and you can do it while you're working on the document or from your Docs list. Simply push the Share button at the top of your screen and start typing in the names of people you want to share.  You can set their rights to Editor, Comments Only, or View Only. Google Docs will even send them an email letting them know the document is being shared to them.  It's that easy! 
  • Are you worried about people accidentally deleting information? Google Docs has Revision History so you can always restore the document to a previous date and time.
  • As you're editing a document, you are able to see a list of individuals who are viewing/editing the document at that moment. The user list also has a chat feature so you can communicate live while you work.
  • Did you create a document, spreadsheet, or presentation using another program? No problem. Upload it to Google Docs and then share it.
  • Do you want to share the information in a doc on a web page?  No problem. Google Docs can help you to share a web link with users and even allow you to embed the doc in another website so as the document changes, the website stays up to date.
RESOURCES
VIDEO TUTORIALS
YOUR CHALLENGE: 
Explore the possibilities of using Google Apps at your school. What impact might this tool make on your classroom? with the school as a whole?  with the school corporation? with the community?  Do you presently use Google Apps at school and if so, can you share your experience with us?

CHECK THIS OUT!!! 
30 Day Web 2.0 Challenge Tally Spreadsheet - this is a Google Doc spreadsheet we are using to track everyone's progress through the Challenge.

40 comments:

  1. I use Google Docs to do all of my writing for class. Like Jerrad said in the post, I can work at school and then continue working on the same document at home without the hassle of e mailing the document or remembering to put it on a flash drive.
    I also use it to cut down on my printing for class. I can put a document on my website, have the class save it to their Gmail accounts and then they can work on it from their computers at school and at home. No more excuses for lost papers or missing writing because they can access the document from anywhere they can access the internet.
    Its also fantastic for collaboration. If I have an idea for a project or activity, I can write it up, share it on Twitter, and get comments from other educators from around the world. Usually, they highlight problems before they come up in class.

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  2. In hindsight, I am thinking how I should have used this when we were working on our integrated thematic unit maps last spring. I was responsible for typing them for each of the seen grade levels. Then I would send them out to the teams to review, and just like the post indicated, I would save them under different names each time and get so confused. I won't be making that mistake again! As far as in the classroom, I think Google docs would be great for doing peer editing and collaboration in writing. All of our students K-6 have netbooks, and this would be a great way for all grade levels to incorporate collaboration and technology.

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  3. I would like to learn more about the Google Calendar.

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  4. I use Google Apps all the time. I mainly use docs. It is a great tool when working with a team for projects. My team is using this for posting our team meeting minutes. It allows comments for immediate feedback and you never have to upload another document the rest of the year!

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  5. Looking back at the beginning of the year, this would have made it so much easier to get all of my parent information into one place. Rather than send out a printed information sheet, I could have used Google Docs. This way, I never would have had to imput the information anywhere, it would already be there! There's always next year.
    I think Google docs could be a valuable tool because students can work on projects across subject areas and classroom lines. They can work with students in other classes without ever having to meet face-to-face. I can also keep track of students to make sure everyone is contributing.

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  6. One of my favorite tools in Google Apps is the calendar. I recently discovered that you can attach a document to an event on the calendar. I created a calendar for each class where I post the agenda each day, and attach any additional documents needed to complete the assignment. I have Angel set up so that this calendar comes up in the calendar tab. This makes it really simple for students to keep track of their work for my class, especially if they are absent.

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  7. Google Apps are fantastic just for the collaboration piece. I love the fact that users can work in real-time on the same shared document. While I've used many of the apps myself, I have yet to introduce them in class. I plan on trying it out later this year with my sixth graders as they should already have email accounts created through our EVSC Google Apps portal. This is a great alternative to using Open Office on the netbooks. Students never have to worry about if they saved it or where they saved it on their netbook. The revision history is a great feature as well that isn't an option in Open Office. I'm looking forward to trying it out with my students later this school year.

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  8. Our building is using Google docs for team notes and collaboration between groups of teachers. I can see us cutting down the time with after school meetings if we can read and edit at different times during the day-an online meeting. For netbook night at our school, my partner and I worked on our presentation without ever meeting since we have two different plan periods.

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  9. I love GoogleDocs!!!

    This is the standard for my journalism classes; everything they do they have to do on Docs. It is a great tool for them to share and collaborate, plus it solves some common problems. There is no more "I don't have my files" or "my netbook lost my file" or "I emailed to you from my home computer where it is saved, you didn't get it???".

    My editors will first create a Doc and share it to the reporter, the copy editor and myself. The editor will then add notes, people to talk to, angle and thoughts. From there, the reporter is to do their notes and drafts on that file so we all can see where they are at and where they are going with the story.

    As they work, they can trade comments and thoughts. A couple even use Google Voice to Google Talk to chat while editing the file.

    Personally, I use Docs to archive my files. I had a hard drive crash last year and lost a lot of files, so I have taken to Docs as an easy way to protect my stuff.

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  10. We use Google Docs all of the time to collaborate in the iTeam. Our weekly meeting agenda is in Google Docs. Anyone can add an agenda item up to the time of the meeting. During the meeting, everyone takes notes/minutes in the Agenda to be reviewed as needed later.

    I also thought that the Google Spreadsheet might be a good way for those of us in the 30 Day challenge to share our Skype names. We can easily create an EVSC Skype Directory that can help us connect our PLC. Here is a link. Please add your name and Skype handle if you are willing to share this information with your colleagues:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag_-ZMkyNryWdE5mYWZLN1phc0hlMGVIcS1zZnpfZ2c

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  11. I've been using Google gmail for a long time, and have always thought the apps were well made and for free, can not beat them! I have used the form builder recently to attach a quiz to my website and then my 5th grade students take the quiz in class in the lab, and the results are automatically in my google docs with all the info to sort, organize and grade! I haven't figured out how to have it automatically score them, but maybe that could be done with another resource!

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  12. This year the EVSC honor choir has moved its registration for participants to Google Apps. Students and parents fill out the form and then all of the info is populated on a spreadsheet.
    We are starting to use a google form at one of my schools to track netbook misuse and discipline issues throughout the school. Teachers enter through a form and administrators and tech can see the data that has been entered.
    I plan to use google docs for meetings and allow participants to be collaborators contributing throughout the meeting and afterward.

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  13. I love Google Docs! When I first started using it, I would sometimes lose things, or collaborate with others who couldn't exactly grasp how it worked. Now I have gotten a lot more efficient in how I use it, and often use it in place of Ether/TitanPad, which I used in the past for collaboration. I especially like GoogleForms, which can be accessed through the spreadsheet. I made myself a daily worklog form. It is customized and perfect for tracking my time (now ask me how often I forget to use it!) if you do create a Google Form, you can also add it to your iPad/iPhone as a bookmark, and it becomes your own personal app! I have used the form to do surveys with teacher teams and other groups, and the results are saved in a spreadsheet that I can keep track of. It works very well.

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  14. I wish I would have had this in college! I can see using this with not only my students but fellow teachers as well. We do a lot of collaborative work and with our crazy schedules we do a lot of work at home. This would be a great way to share that work! It would also be a great tool to use with the other teacher that I split kids with. We could share data very easily with this tool!

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  15. Firstly, I'm a Googler. My phone is run by Android, I use GMail, Google Docs, Calendar, Google Talk, the worldly popular search and Google backs up all my contacts from my email and phone. I find the integration of all the apps to be simple and they help me to stay organized. The only aspect I haven't used is sites. Since I currently use Weebly, I find it a little redundant to use the Google version as well.

    I have been using Google Docs in my classroom for 2 years. I primarily use it with my upper levels to share homework answers, files, and presentations that would normally be used during direct instruction. My students like to see and comment on the work of others through the use of this collaborative cloud-ware. It helps me too by keeping track of my files. Nothing to email, save, or port from a flash drive. It will be there until I delete it.

    Google has definitely made my classroom and personal life easier with the creation of these great tools.

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  16. Being able to collaborate on line to create or revise a document is great. We revise documents/forms on a yearly basis and circulate big piles of paper to do revisions by getting input from every staff person. So it is definitely time to modernize and improve the effeciency of this practice. I have been using Dropbox for my personal files and dropbox has been a big help since I do my work from various locations. Seeing the benefits of Dropbox motivates me to start using Google Docs.

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  17. I use google forms to create surveys and forms that my students fill out each week. I link them on ANGEL and the students submit them to my Google account. It puts their answers in a sortable spreadsheet for me to grade. It is much easier than using the form functions in ANGEL.

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  18. Where has this been?! I do not use but I am going to start. I am always starting documents and then needing to finish at a later time and need to either email or thumb drive, this will prevent me from having to do this. Was the google spreadsheet that you are using to track this 30 day challenge created on one of the noted items we need to try? If so I can see this being very valuable for tracking students progress on the many things that we are to collect data on to help drive instruction. I can also see it being helpful in collaboration between teams and using for team minutes great idea. We could start what we were doing in the team on one of these and then everyone could get to. Just if all of our students and teachers had the technology or access to I could see using more.

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  19. I use google docs to create vocab quizes for my students to take. It is not that hard to create and the students like being able to take a quiz online. I also use Flubaroo to grade. That makes everything even better. Not only do I not have to grade it, but my students get instant feedback as to how well they did.

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  20. I use Google Docs as a communication tool between myself and my coworkers. If I need their input on something, I share it with them and get their advice. Our school also uses it to communicate what we discuss during our team plans. I have used Google Forms to respond to meetings and have created some for use in my classroom. I have not used them widescale yet, but I plan to do so in the future.

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  21. Our building coach, Dianne Matheis, recommended using Google Apps at the beginning of the school year. She met with us and showed us several ways to use it. My students wrote their first essay in Google Docs and it was wonderful. The kids wrote their papers and shared them with their teams. The team members then asked questions and gave feedback. They loved that they could do it all at the same time. I love it because I don't carry 120 essays back and forth from school and home. Every essay is in a Docs folder and I can make comments and suggestions and attach their graded rubric.
    My students type their own agendas into Google calendar. They add reminders and upcoming events.
    I am interested in creating a spreadsheet for my next project.

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  22. I use Google Docs almost daily in my classroom. My students keep a reading journal through Google Docs and have shared it will me so I can read over their entries and make comments on a daily basis. I have also experimented with the forms application to make tests and quizzes. Google Docs has simplified presentations and other documents that I share with my students because I travel. I am able create my documents and save them through Google Docs and then I can access them in in any of the rooms I visit.
    My team has started using Google Docs to keep team notes and share them with administration.

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  23. I have not used Google Apps yet. However, I would like to try it in team meetings. My team and I recently worked with the math CCSS. I had a spreadsheet of all the CCSS for the year. I sat in the middle of two groups. One group was telling me what chapters covered the standard and the other group was telling me when the standard was addressed on the report card. I was recording the information. By the end of the 4th quarter, I was becoming very frustrated. It would have been great if both groups would have been working on the same spreadsheet. I am really going to look into learning more about Google Apps.

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  24. I'm just beginning the exploration of Google Apps. I wish I had more time to really think about how I can use it. Probably will look at it closer during winter break.

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  25. I am just now getting into google docs.

    A co-sponsor and I have put our member registration list on google docs so when a student joins, we can add it to the list ourselves...it has really cut down on the post it notes we leave each other!

    I am planning to start a google site to display student work. So often, in Web Design and Interactive Media, my students ask to take work home and it is all saved to flash drives that I like to keep in the room so they don't disappear. With google sites, they could view them at home with the Internet!

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  26. I wish I had taken the time learn more about this before, there have been so many assignments that would have benefitted from using google docs...Kara Hartz....how do you set up your angel to have your google calendar show up?
    I have a couple of things planned for later this year that will involve a lot of back and forth among students and I want to group them with students from different periods so this will be ideal

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  27. I too am just now getting into google docs. I really like google forms. I have created several surveys on it and I love all of the fun templates they provide.
    We have several documents on Angel for our professional development that were created on Google docs.
    @ KaraHartz.. I would love to know how to link the google calendar to Angel. Personally, I can't stand the Angel calendar.

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  28. Teaching Math, I should take a closer look at the google apps to see what there is to make homework/info sharing easier for me and my students. I do not currently use it in class, but i can see several advantages to using them.

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  29. I love the google sites app. What a great way to collaborate on projects that involcve lots of people. ALso, Laura Lockyear has created a data site with all the high school data points for each school. Great resource! I have struggled a little with formatting--it seems time consuming for me, but still worth it!

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  30. Google apps is a great time saver. You don't have to wait for a document to be sent, edited, then sent back etc. it becomes a time consuming circle.

    It is very simple to share it with only those you want have access.

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  31. We have been learning how to use google apps during our PLCs at school. We use them to see what people in other PLCs in our school thought about the topic we are discussing. Although I have not used them in my class just yet, I think it would be ideal for group projects. It is great that all students in the group would be able to contribute and edit a document at the same time from their own computers. I am really excited to play around with google docs some more.

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  32. I learned about Google Docs from Missy Feller at Bosse. One way I have used it is during a Socratic Seminar. It gives the kids a way to keep track of questions and responses and keeps the discussion moving. At the school level, I could see using it for faculty meetings as a way to save paper and keep more staff involved. I have used it at the APEX training and could see it being a helpful tool for corporation to use to get faculty input.

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  33. LOVE google apps! They're very convenient. I use them to fill out behavior logs for a student when I work with him. I just open it up, take the little survey, and it gets sent into a graph for his TOR.

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  34. I just started using Google Apps a few months ago. It is just so easy to use. I have created a doc to use when I am out observing students. This allows me to quickly mark things off on my checklist. I love the fact that I can share the same doc with other memebers of my team to use. We then can all look at the data we have collected together.

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  35. I am a student council sponsor at Central. One of my officers developed a google doc to keep track of spirit and service points. This is definitely a better way to track them. I really need to learn more about the apps. I will try explore these more over Christmas break or maybe go to an after bell session. I am definitely interested in the calendar and the assessment feature. I can also see using assessment feature and the spreadsheet to keep up with student progress on conceptual understanding.

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  36. The coaches use Google docs to share materials and communicate rather than traditional email. I am trying to move over to Google doc from Office but I find I revert back to Office when I get started instead of learning google docs

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  37. I love google docs! I have used the form creator most often which is so easy to create and use! It is great to share resources with staff. It is also great to use to create simple data collection sheets.

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  38. Google Aps are excellent tools for colloboration. I've used Google docs in order to compile class-wide lab data, so that we could then create graphs based on the data of the entire class. It worked out well.

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  39. Google Docs is excellent for group work. Students could upload/create documents that can be shared with another. Thus, if someone is absent, he/she cannot use the excuse, "I don't have it" or "So and so has our stuff."

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  40. As far as how I already use Google Apps and will continue to, I am the Technology Coordinator at my school and need to manage the entire school using/ sharing the computer lab, 2 separate carts of netbooks, and a cart of iPads. I don't want them to have to use them only at the same day and/or time each week or get to the cart only to find them already checked out. So I created a Google calendar for groups of 10 for each type of machine. Teachers can create & share a future or current event that is visible to everyone that lets us all know who is using them, for how long, and where. If I need to work on them, I can create that event, showing them as being unavailable. Also, as a classroom teacher I could have students create writing samples, share them, and we could have their peers edit the work or myself and use this as a publishing process.

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