Friday, September 28, 2012

Student Bloggers Can Change the World!

I recently was reading the TED Blog and was excited to see this article about a Scottish school girl who created her own blog and began to effect change in school lunches and the nutrition for many young people around the world.
In April of 2012, Scottish schoolgirl Payne started the blog, which documents her school dinners (otherwise known as school lunches in the United States) with ratings like “number of mouthfuls” and “pieces of hair” found in food. The idea was to raise money for the charity Mary’s Meals, while at the same time showing the world the low nutritional value of school meals.
The most revealing piece of this article is Martha's response to the question,
What have you learned from your blogging experience?
I don’t know why adults teach us to write and think then get embarrassed when we do it outside class. I love kids sharing their meals with me and I like sharing back. The internet isn’t just for adults — we can use it too. When everyone chips in, you can help children around the world like with Mary’s Meals.

Below is a TED Video of Clay Shirky talking about How the Internet Will (one day) Transform Government as he uses the 9 year old blogger as an example. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gooru Offers Another Great Google Tip

Gooru Tip on New Google Spreadsheets Feature

Gooru once again provides us with a clear and useful tip on using a Google Tools. In this video they highlight the many new features in Google Spreadsheets, particularly in the ability to quickly edit charts. For those of you use use Google Charts its an update and for those that don't, maybe it will provide incentive to do so.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Google Drive Updates: Finally...

Finally, Google has made changes to improve tablet and mobile device computing. With the Google Drive App things have moved from simply being able to read a Google document on an iOS or Android device (iPad/iPod/iPhone or Android tablet or phones) to having enough functionality to actually create and edit documents. You can also create new folders and organize your documents from a mobile device. While it's not the full editor that you have on a computer, it's a lot closer than it was and enough to make it worth using as a collaborative writing tool.

The functionality on the Android devices is a little better as it has the "commenting" feature while on the iOS tablets/mobile devices commenting is not there. But like on a computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made which takes collaborative writing to another level of cloud computing. You can now also watch Google Presentations on a mobile device.

This upgrade makes me think that using Google Apps in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) learning environment is much more feasible and affordable for schools. Or, setting up a classroom as blended environment using a combination of devices for students to allow both full functionality/creative tools to handheld mobile devices~ with some full suite laptops or desktops in the room that are priced in the $500-$600 range combined with Nexus 7 tablets at $199 (you could use iPads but at $500 each the Nexus 7 is more affordable). In addition, in the blended classroom students could use their own smartphones or hand held devices for the less intense creative work as well. Things like; document editing, reading, Internet searches, watching videos, recording short video/audio, managing their calendars, checking email, and leveraging some of the many mobile device apps for learning.

read more on the upgrade

Organizing Class Google Docs

gClassFolders - EdListen-Resources

Bjorn Behrendt (aka Bj) has created and shared a Google Script that automates the creation of a classroom management system in Google Drive.  For those who don't have a third party Google Extension like TeacherDashboard, and have the patience and where-with-all to create their own system by hand making folders for each class and student and setting permissions to allow the right kind of sharing this script will save a lot of time.  

Thanks Bjorn for sharing your work and making the Google world a better place!