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Monday, March 05, 2007

Google More…an Introduction to Google in Education

CUE Conference-Palm Springs, California

Presenter: Mark Wagner
Presentation Resources (wiki format and outstanding)

Links to all help docs for Google resources can be found here.

Mark began by talking about Google News and using Google News as a platform for viewing the same news/information from a variety of sources to help kids get multiple perspectives and to learn about detecting bias.

He then introduced a phrase I would here several more times in different presentations: when at Google, click on “More, even more.

This, of course takes you to the Google page that hosts its ever-increasing suite of tools, ranging from Google Desktop, to Google Earth to Picasa and Sketchup. I don’t spend that much time digging through GoogleNation, but the tools listed there certainly are impressive. Mark also introduced the other stuff Google was working on over at Google Labs.

Google for Educators:

This page has three areas: Tools for the Classroom, Google Teacher Academy, and a Teacher Community Section with a discussion board. The home contains a section on the Infinite Thinking Machine and a subscription box for a Google Educator Newsletter.

Google Notebook: Mark then demonstrated the note feature within Google Notebook and the Notebook itself. This has application to student research as a tool for paraphrasing and/or distilling content and the notebook sharing feature makes it a natural for collaboration. I also like that you can create as many notebooks as you would like. The presenter also suggested making your notebook public and posting the URL so that others could see your notebook.

Google Home Page

When you get a Google account, you can add widgets to your page. This is done by clicking on the Add Stuff button. There are quite a few widgets available but I like PageFlakes better, as the flakes are more appropriate for my work, with del.icio.us, furl and box.net flakes available. A set of del.icio.us widgets were available, but I didn’t really like any of the results.

I did like the ability to input any RSS feed into the Google Home page. This is done by clicking Add Stuff>Add by URL and then adding the feed URL. Nice feature.

Searching with Google Tools

Mark began his searching by using “21st Century Skills”

Google Book Search

Mark entered the search string above along with Prensky and searched through Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research and Development Frameworks - Page 59 by David Gibson, Clark Aldrich, Marc Prensky.

Google Scholar

He then continued the same search with Google Scholar and showed how you could use the cited by feature to see who had cited the particular work in another. He then showed how to get this information into Google Notebook, which was a nice touch. I don’t remember how exactly how he did this, but I highlighted a component of the search return and clicked on the icon for the Notebook extension for Firefox in my browser and in it went. Very cool.

http://scholar.google.com/

Mark then continued his search by showing the same search in the Google Blog Search, the Image Search, the Video Search and even the Google Map Search.

The important thing to remember here was not forgetting the multiple methodologies for locating information with a variety of tools. Who would have thought to look at a 21st Century Skills search in Google Map Search?

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Google docs allows for multiple and simultaneous authorship-I didn’t know that. I’d like to see how that would work with kids…

An audience member had an interesting question. Can multiple authors be logged in as the same user? (it doesn't appear so)-some teachers and parents of elementary kids may not wish to them to have a Google account, which is necessary for access to Docs. Someone mentioned that you could create accounts off a master Gmail account.

The interesting point here is that there was much expertise in the room, but how many will add content to his wiki? It’s public, but we are just not there yet…

He finished up with demonstrating Calendar and Blogger. Only about 10 of 110 had heard of Blogger, if you can imagine that…at least that’s how many raised their hands.

All in all, an interesting hour and a fine job by Mark, who has a very confident approach to presenting, not to mention an outstanding presentation voice. It's easy to just use the typical Google Search and not all the other tools-this presentation reminded me of all the tools that I potentially could use for myself, along with helping the teachers and kids I work with become more effective learners.

I was impressed with the all the tools available, and I need to spend more time wrapping my head around the possibilities.

tags: cue cue2007 cue07 markwagner davidjakes

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