Google offers a wide range of office automation tools, at its core offering, as well as a myriad of other tools that range from audio/video to image manipulation. I wanted to take this opportunity to cover what Google has to offer. There are some very powerful and easy to use tools that are worth noting.
As I type this blog posting in a Google word processing document I am using the menu bar to lead me through the description of the google tools. Your offerings may be slightly different depending on how your Google Apps for Education is administered or implemented.
Google+ is Google’s social networking service. Because the nature of social media, many schools opt not to enable this function for their district deployments. If you would like more information on it from the source, click here: http://www.google.com/intl/en_US/+/learnmore//
My next menu items are “Search” and “Images”. Two very familiar tools that most people have experience with.
Mail is the next item on the menu bar. Google Mail is a very powerful email package. In my 20 years in Technology I have found Google Mail to be one of the best if not the best email package...
In 1997, I was teaching 10th-grade English. I remember having a copy of “National Geographic.” The cover story was about a robotic device that was deployed on Mars. Sorry, the specifics of the device and its name escape me, but what I remember was that for the first time, pictures from the surface of Mars were published in something that was accessible to anyone who read “National Geographic.” Even better, they published the special addition in 3-D! Okay, by “3-D,” I mean the old red and blue version. Those born . . . let’s say recently, probably don’t remember the days of “red and blue 3-D.” Not so long ago, to make things appear 3-D, pictures were produced using red and blue images. I won’t suggest I understand the technical specifics, but suffice it to say, when you wore cardboard glasses with one red and one blue lens, the image appear (with concentration and patience) to be 3 dimensional. I remember sitting at my desk, looking at this magazine with my fashionable 3-D classes on, and being fascinated by the 3 dimensional images of Mars. It was the most realistic encounter anyone could experience with another planet. One of my students...
Apple’s recent announcement that they are entering the digital textbook market should not be too surprising to anyone who’s been following recent trends in education technology.
Along with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and a couple other e-readers, the iPad is particularly well-suited to displaying textbook-like content. And considering that the hardware is bound to get better and better over time (and available at lower price points), things are looking up for digital textbook publishers.
While sales of electronic textbooks accounted for only 2.8% of the $8 billion textbook market in 20101, there are quite a few companies poised to take advantage of that emerging (albeit slowly) market, including CourseSmart, Kno, and Flat World Knowledge.
Products from these firms are already being used in many pilot programs around the nation. Any why not? The advantages are obvious. Compared to traditional textbooks, digital books:
Take up little space, the hardware for storing them isn’t heavy or bulky
Are regularly updated by the publisher (with no need to repurchase)
Make searching for specific words or topics much easier
Are often cheaper per unit than their paper and ink counterparts
Allow for a more interactive and engaging experience for students
With that said, digital textbooks are...
I was reading my colleague Joe's blog titled Where do I Begin??? (which I highly recommend). He was reflecting on his experience with technology, which has ultimately played a part in his position with VARtek. This led me to consider my own path. I have a few years of, let's call it "experience" on Joe. I remember when my parents purchased a calculator from Sears! It only had 6 digits, but that was more than enough to manage the checkbook on an enlisted man's salary, even if you took three of the positions for the decimal point and cent digits! The most advanced form of technology in my house was our family microwave. We had a TV that was half as large and half as expensive as the family car. When the volume needed to be adjusted or the channels changed, I was my dad's remote. When my father wanted me back in our yard, there was no phone call or texting. He whistled, and I'd better be within earshot if I was to stay out of trouble. My first computing experience came when I was in the Air Force. I used a keypunch machine to input flight information. If you know what a keypunch machine is,...
Research firm IDC estimates that over 62 million tablet computing devices will be shipped in 2011, up from just 18 million in 2010. However the number of PCs shipped will only increase by 3% from last year.* What does that mean for us as educators? That means as students return to school in January, they'll be equipped with more mobile devices than ever before — iPads, Kindles, Nooks, Xoom Tablets, and smartphones that make early computers look like dinosaurs.
This growing trend tells us a few things:
More and more, our students expect information at their fingertips from anywhere
Students have access to tools that increase their capacity to create, research, and collaborate with teachers and peers
Our educational environments should be moving toward a model that supports mobile devices
The opportunities that come with BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology)Moving toward a BYOT environment helps offset the school's need to provide computing devices. This also opens the door for other technologies such as digital textbooks, which can enhance learning and reduce the cost of textbooks.