Have you looked at Google Docs lately?

Every time I turn around they’ve added a new feature to Google Docs. It’s tough to keep up, I know. I subscribe to the Google Docs Blog, which is quite helpful.

Allow me to bring you up to speed on some of the latest additions/improvements:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have you seen what they’ve added to the Drawing features in Google since it first came out? You need to take a look! There is so much more flexibility and so many more shapes to pick from. You can also now create your own custom filled shapes.

Picture 4
Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 12, 2009

You can now share an entire folder. Apparently this was the most requested new feature. Just put all the documents you want to share into the folder and then share it with your Collaborators.

shared_flderpng
Image Source: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/

Also on this same day, Google announced that you could upload more than one document at a time. I thought this was great. Especially when bringing new teachers into Google Docs. So you want to convert all your science PowerPoints to Google Presentations?? You can now do it all in one batch. Simply click on Upload –> Select files to upload –> Select destination folder –> Start Upload. It’s that simple.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I guess after making it so simple to upload all your documents, Google decided it was time to make it simple to download your documents as well. I was excited when I read about this as I needed to remove some of my older Google Docs, yet wasn’t quite ready to part with them. This option really works for me.

You can now download your Google Docs in MS Office or Open Office Formats or as PDFs (up to 500mb at a time) in a zipped file. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the files you want to download by checking them
  2. Click on More Actions (on the right of the Google Docs screen)
  3. Click on Export
  4. If you are exporting a lot, you can select the option to have Google e-mail you when the export is done. Otherwise, you can just wait and then either Save or Open the Zipped file.

Some other features you may consider checking out:

  • The Equation Editor –> Click on Insert – Equation
  • Language Tools –> Tools – Translate document
  • Formatting –> Insert – Page break

Going Ga Ga Again

gaga

Back in January I spoke about Google Apps with Dean Shareski and Alec Couros‘s classes. There have been a few changes. We said goodbye to Google Notebook and for many Google Video. We have welcomed Drawing tools to Google Docs and Themes to Google Forms.

I’ve changed the way I am sharing some of the information with Dean’s class tonight. I’ve shared my presentation above. We’ll be meeting in Eluminate as we did back in January if you’d like to join us.

Also, if you have time to take a look at some additional resources. These are the top three I suggest:

19 Interesting Ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom

Google Tools Comic Book

Google Almanac

Rumors Confirmed – Google Teacher Academy #7 in August

Google Teacher Academy

Boulder, Colorado

August 5, 2009

cert_teacher1

Just over 300 educators in the United States have been certified through the Google Teacher Academy and they are gearing up for the 7th cohort this summer on August 5. In order to apply for the Academy you must complete an application including a one-minute video. Both are reviewed by a panel of educators from across the U.S. (Please read some excellent suggestions for your application at Kevin Jarrett’s blog.)

Should you not be prepared to travel to Colorado and you are in the New Jersey area you have another option this July. The CMSCE at Rutgers University has had to pleasure of hosting the Google Learning Institute in partnership with Cue along with fellow GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley and Jesse Spevack this past March for 40 NJ Educators ranging from 2nd grade through higher ed. We had such an overwhelming response, that we scheduled a second GLI for May 28 (coming up in just a few short weeks) where we will be joined by GCTs Erica Hartman, Andrew Gallagher and Jerry Crisci. But, we still had a waiting list of area educators looking to learn about all the Google Apps and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning.

GWE

Piscataway, New Jersey

July 15 and 16, 2009

On July 15 and July 16, Kevin Jarrett, Kern Kelley and several middle school students from Maine and New Jersey will join me to host a two-day Google Workshop for Educators. This two-day event will take you beyond the one-day fast-paced introduction to Google Apps and end in a proof of concept project. For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Center’s website.

Searching Google in a Snap

I was really honored when Lori Abrahams (SL Lor Fredriksson) asked if I would be interested in presenting at the DEN in Second Life. I had talked about it with a few fellow ed-techies before, but had never really jumped on it. This time was different.

Lori and I chose to focus on one of the Google tools, so I selected searching strategies as the focus of my first-ever formal Second Life presentation. Please consider joining me at the new DEN Auditorium on Wednesday evening, April 29 at  5 PM  SLT ( 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST). I will be talking about:

If you can’t make it, or you’re not into virtual worlds yet, take a look at the slides I posted on Slideshare so you can get an idea of all the things you can do to find the information you need IN A SNAP!

P.S. Don’t forget to bring your Google Account and password with you.

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy All The Time

knowledge

You can try though. And we did. And we’ll do it again on May 28, 2009 for the next Google Learning Institute at the CMSCE, Rutgers University.

expectations

There are a few things that we will plan to do differently. It’s tough to say since the feedback was positive, yet the participants were of two skills sets. (Compare the three comments.)

speed

I’ve had a few days to reflect on last Thursday’s GLI and the discussion that GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley, Jesse Spevack and I had afterward. I also read the evaluations several times and look forward to speaking with Mark Wagner about moving forward with a possible third GLI this summer. I’ve spent the weekend thinking about the 110% effort I give towards my preparation for a professional development event and that I expect when I go to experience someone else’s presentation I have rather high expectations.
Here’s some PD thoughts  I’d like to share:

  1. Describe your event accurately and stick to the description.
  2. Make sure when you prepare for PD that you have materials that accommodate every level of user. Have some step-by-step literature available as well as resources for delving deeper into the topic.
  3. Prepare for every type of learner. Try to provide printed materials, digital copies of those materials, video tutorial links and additional reading resources as well as any other relevant data you can provide.
  4. It’s always better to have too much prepared than too little.
  5. Make sure you come with a feeling of flexibility so that when technical issues arise, you can go to plan B. (Let’s face it: Have a Plan C and D as well.)
  6. Make sure you take an extra dose of patience with your morning coffee so that you don’t get frustrated with the attendees. They haven’t seen the presentation ten times like you have. They may need more time than you planned.
  7. You may think you are the expert in the room, but always plan that there is someone in the room who knows more than you do. Invite that person to contribute to the presentation. (This will work out nicely for you should you come across something you don’t know or that has changed since the last time you saw it ie. an updated version of software.)
  8. Thank everyone for attending your session / workshop and give them your contact information. The PD doesn’t have to end when the timer rings. Encourage your attendees to take a look at your social bookmarks, subscribe to your blog or follow you on Twitter. Go ahead, give them your e-mail. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I really do read the comments that people leave on evaluations. I try to adjust and improve my work based on those comments. Please leave a comment if I’ve left something off this list – we’d only benefit from it. Thanks!

Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute
Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute