Google has become a household name. We have even replaced the word "search" with "Google." Kids at school are always telling me to Google something, not search for something. While Google does offer us a free search engine that can be a fantastic resource, there is much more to the world of Google than just Internet searches. For this section of the class, I'd like us to dive into our Keys and find a Google tool that you haven't had the chance to use before.

Google Information and How-to Help

Google for Educators
Announcements from Google, contests, information about Google apps, lesson plans and more are available at this site. You can sign up to get the Google for Educators newsletter here as well, and find some printable posters designed for teachers.

Google for Educators Discussion Group
This site is an online community designed specifically for teachers to share ideas and questions they have about using Google in the classroom. If you're looking for ideas for your classroom or to help with this section of the class, the discussion group may be an excellent resource to check out.

Google Teacher's Academy Crib Sheets
Google Crib Sheets #2
The Google Teacher's Academy trains groups of teachers to be Google trainers. These links provide you with educational resources on how to use Google apps. Explore what the Google apps are, then come to the crib sheets to locate a PDF to guide you through using them. Includes information on how to work collaboratively on projects using Google apps.

Google Tools

iGoogle

If you haven't found the perfect home page for your computer, iGoogle will let you customize a page to fit your needs with Google products, of course! You can choose options such as news from different sources, weather updates, and more.

Google Alerts

This is an easy to use system to let you know when something new is posted on the Internet about a topic that you choose. It will email or text you daily, weekly, or at whatever time period you select when something about your search topic is posted. I have my name set up as an alert so if anything is posted about anyone named "Kim Patton," I will get an email alert. This might be a good thought for parents of teenage kids!

For education, you could use this by putting in some specific things you teach--Read 180, Everyday Math, or any specific term. Remember when you choose a term it will be giving you everything that is posted with that term, so make sure you don't do things too general or you'll get lots more results that you want!

Blogger

If you want to try your hand at creating a blog, this video is an excellent resource to help you get started.


Google Docs

For document, spreadsheet, or even powerpoint-like presentations, Google Docs is a great resource for online sharing. Take a look at how it is set up--here are some basics to remember. From the home page, you have a "Create New" pull-down bar at the upper left hand side to choose what type of document you want to create. Once you've selected a document to create, there are basic editing tools at the top of the page, similar to what you'd find in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. When you create a new document, it is private to you UNLESS you give others access by clicking on the padlock at the top of the editing screen that says "Private to only me." If you click on that you can get some sharing options, such as emailing the link to others or copying and pasting.

At North Fairview, we use Google Docs for a variety of things as a staff. We have a list of our classroom novels set up on one for each grade level so teachers can easily look at what books other teachers routinely use in their classrooms to avoid duplication. When we need to sign up for something, such as the PTO carnival, we have set up a spreadsheet of what needs to be done and who is doing it. Even this summer, we have a teacher that had a baby last week and we have a meal spreadsheet made to deliver some food to her family over the next couple of weeks.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a downloadable application that has amazing possibilities to show kids the world. The website has beginner and advanced tutorials if you want to learn more about it.

Google Maps

How to get from here to there? How far is it from Topeka to New York? Google Maps is an online atlas that can do more than just show you distance. You can even see traffic patterns in some areas!

Google News

Google News can give you a look at all kinds of news. There is a customizable portion to it so you can tell what types of news are most important to you.

Picasa

If you would like online access to your photos, Picasa is a free downloadable service that helps you organize your photos. You can edit, tag and share your photos online.

Google Reader

This is the RSS reader we talked about in the Professional Learning section. If you need more information, refer back to that page.

Google Scholar

Beyond the basic Google search engine, Google Scholar will direct your search to more research based, scholarly results than just "googling" something.

Google SketchUp

Another downloadable application, Google SketchUp lets you make 3D models of anything. For ideas on ways other educators are using SketchUp in the classroom, view this website: SketchUp for K-12 Education

Google Tools Assignments


For using Google tools, we have a two part assignment, plus your wiki discussion post. Explore the different tools so you can see what Google has to offer teachers (and everyone!) for free. Then try the following:

1. We are going to edit a document. I have created an online spreadsheet that we will all be able to edit. You need to add your name to the spreadsheet, provide an answer to the following question, and comment on one other person's choice. Make sure you save so everyone can see your input.

On the spreadsheet, decide which era you would most want to live in and put the year in the appropriate column. Then BRIEFLY give a reason why. Others will then respond to your choice in the "comment" column.
• 1830s: Wild West
• 1920s: Roaring 20s
• 1950s: Rock ‘n Roll/Suburbia
• 1960s: Hippie Generation/Anti-War Movement/Civil Rights Movement
• 1970s: Disco Fever
• 1980s: Wild Fashion/Brat Pack
• 2025: The Future
• I am happy in 2011

Key Things Eras is the link to the spreadsheet.

2. Your 2nd assignment for this week is to choose one of the Google Tools that would be useful for your classroom, whether as a tool for you to use in planning or presenting, or a tool for students to actually go online and use for creating or presenting. On your personal wiki page, tell which tool you would choose, what type of lesson you would incorporate that tool into and what results you would expect from using that tool. Put this under a heading named "Google Tools" on your personal wiki page.

3. From the "Unlocking the Keys" main page, go to the discussion tab and respond to the question about what you've learned. Give us a brief overview of what you've liked or not liked about the Google Tools.