August 2007, Volume 8, Issue 2

Google Document Sharing

How often have you wished that you could work on a document collaboratively with your colleagues or students? Have you ever wished that you didn't have to take all of that writing home, mark it up, and return it to the student, who has to redo the work and start you on the same process again?

There are applications that can make your life easier. Adobe Acrobat Writer (my favorite) and Word allow others to mark up a document, but the document still has to go back and forth between editors.

Google has a number of amazing tools for collaboration. In the last issue, we discussed blogging, which is a type of sharing although you are sharing ideas rather than writing or math documents.

The document-sharing options in Google or other sites, such as Yahoo, allow several people to edit a document at the same time.

Imagine posting a math problem or a discussion question, which you want students to solve together. I post my views; someone else questions my conclusions and offers a different path; another provides a different look at the problem. Together we come to a solution. Problem or challenge solved.

Imagine writing a grant that needs input from several players. Post the draft, and let others contribute their parts. Write an essay with mistakes or with faulty reasoning, and have students improve the essay  together. Add words, phrases, pictures, shapes, and have students define them. Add a crossword in Excel, and have students provide the cues or solve the puzzle. On and on.

Go to Google. Log in (or open an account if you haven't done so). On the top left hand menu, click on Documents. (You may need to use the little arrow that give more options.) Once the Documents page opens, examine the menus and options. You may upload or create..

  • HTML files and plain text (.txt)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc), Rich Text (.rtf), OpenDocument Text (.odt) and StarOffice (.sxw).
  • Spreadsheets with Comma Separated Value (.csv), Microsoft Excel (.xls) files, and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods)

Once the file is there, you may leave it open for anyone to share, or you may specify those you want to access it. You cannot do harm to the program, so get in there and play. Then have your students do the same.

And..If you want to have your own Google home page, click on the iGoogle link (see arrow), or simple do a search with that name. You can have a home page with a large number of options, from your local weather, time, date, games, favorite site links and more.  I love mine. I added a To Do list on mine, which I can access from any connection. I know that  your students will enjoy designing their own home page!

As Promised

When the site opens, click on Pay Attention Video, under Keynote Speaker. Please, please take less than eight minutes to listen to this clip by Dareen Draper, keynote speaker at the TTIX conference mentioned below. The music helps make the point, so I hope you can turn up the speaker although there is not talking, just thoughts. Think, consider, and reflect on its message. Who are the new kids on the block?

Online Quizzing

The kid who designed and runs this free site may be too young to be your student. That hasn't kept him from giving educators a very handy tool. I created a list with three words in American Colonies in five minutes and had it running in three formats: fill the blank, multiple choice, and true/false formats. This kid makes learning concepts fun! Go to...

Sign up for free and play with the quiz. Radical! Your students will think so, too!

Hybrid Learning When YOU Want It!

The last three issues of TechBeat announced the availability of short segments discussing six topics taken from your survey responses last year. Why would you want to grab this opportunity?

1. The sessions respond to your needs and are free.
2. The sessions are short: 3 hours each, covered in a week, at your convenience.
3. The segments offer PD points and, if all are taken, one-graduate credit from Adams State.
4. The segments give you one week to experience different media: Internet, online classroom, and interactive Web Conferencing with phone connection.
5. The segments are engaging and informative!

I will be making an announcement on Click, so stay tuned. Segments will be offered all year long, each being offered when a minimum of five people sign up.

Teaching with Technology Idea Exchange (TTIX) 2008

Mark your calendars if you want to pick up some wonderful ideas and inspiration for using technology with students. This year's conference was outstanding: informal, informative, and free! Next year, there will be a Professional Development pre-conference workshop. Get the details at

Please send me your ideas for future issues!