Here’s a summary of great applications and tips from the Google Academy at TCEA. Of course, there were three sessions at a time, so I missed more than I attended.
Also, before the actual post, here are my annotated pictures from our trip to Peru (Lima, Cusco, and Maccchu Picchu) and the Galapagos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mweisburgh/collections/72157625955459774/. If you watch the slide shows, be sure to click on "Show Info." I also want to add that, for the Peru part of the vacation, we used Fiesta Tours and they were fantastic.
Leslie Fisher on Google for Education
This is a mobile app for smartphones (iPhone and Android). Take a picture, and the app will try to
Image via Wikipedia
recognize it, and offer a page of further description. This can be valuable during class field trips.
Student, “what’s that?”
Teacher, “Let me show you something cool. I take a picture, and voila, that building is where George Washington …”
Great features for this online telephony application:
- You take out a phone number, and then you control where that phone rings. If you are in the office, you have it forward to your office number. If you are away, have it ring on your cell phone.
- Have the phone number take messages, transcribe them, and then email the text and the recording of the call.
- Have different responses for different groups
- It’s free
Google Art Project
Image by rosefirerising via Flickr
Virtual tours of great museums from around the world. You can tour the museums, or view the artworks. When viewing the artworks, you can zoom in and out, and display additional information about the pieces, such as dates, viewing notes, and information about the artist.
Just a fun program that tries to predict what you will type next. As you type a word or sentence, it offers choices, and as you select from the choices of continue typing, it continues to guess.
Google News Timeline
This site mashes different news sites. You can set up a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly timeline. You can specify the news sources or take the defaults. You can set up a query on a topic. Great for showing how the perspectives of an event have changed over time.
Google Fast Flip
Image via Wikipedia
Shows images of websites, based on a topic, and allows you to flip through them. You can view the pages as thumbnails, or view page by page, and you can zoom in to any specific story. You can vote on the page, which moves it up or down the listing.
Some choices are politics, business, US, world, and technology. You can refine the pages by searching for a phrase.
Sets up rows and columns based on a query. The rows are items that meet the query, and the columns are attributes of the item. For example, if you queried “animals of the galapagos” each animal would be a row, and there would be a column for the name, a picture, genus, species, and description.
Some of the results are suspect, but if you click on a cell, you generally have replacement values, plus an option to search further, and you can add columns for other attributes.
You can export the results to a Google Doc.
This is a great program to get students started on a research project. For example, “Go to Google squares and look up the cities in the country you are researching, then write three paragraphs about each city.”
Graphic search engine for images; search for an image and see links to similar images.
Catherine Moak on Integrating Tech in the Classroom
Catherine pointed out that too often we a lot of classroom time is spent on teaching application, instead of using those applications to spur creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and fun. Her suggestions included:
- Have students use Google notes to collaborate on note taking during the class. This allows you to focus the students on summarizing and identifying similarities and differences.
- Use non-linguistic ways to present information, using programs like sketchup, the new google drawing application, and graphic organizers. Graphic organizer templates can be found in Google docs by Create New, from template.
- Generating and testing hypotheses, like having groups of students collaborate and accumulate data in Google spreadsheets, and then analyzing and reporting on the results.
Catherine ended by having the group play a simple game that had the groups create strategies and test out hypotheses around place value and probability. Each group accessed a google spreadsheet, with a row for each group or team, and a column for each place. She then used a random number generator to generate numbers, and the group had to place the number in the column that would give them the greatest chance of their group coming up with the largest number. During the game, each group discussed the odds of higher or lower numbers appearing, and where they would make the best placement. A template of the spreadsheet is available here: http://3.ly/trashcanmath
Juan Orasco on Some of his Favorite Google Apps and Tips
Juan’s presentation, and links to his tips are at http://tinyurl.com/aisdgoogle
Austin has adopted Google Apps, which means that they integrate Gmail, Calendaring, Sites, Google Docs in a branded environment, free.
Teachers can use Google Docs to create or edit documents, view the revision history of any document, collaborate with students or peers (restricting access to certain groups). On his website he shows how to use Google Spreadsheets with forms to create surveys or quizzes, and then analyze the data.
One really cool set of techniques he demonstrated:
- if you type in a few cells, you can use autofill to fill in the rest of the column or row; by typing in a few countries, he had Google recognize the pattern and fill in the entire column with names of countries.
- you can use the googlelookup spreadsheet function to do a Google query to populate a cell, he had Google automatically populate the capital city for each country, and could have looked up population or other attributes of the countries.
- you can incorporate gadgets to chart, summarize, or display the results. He had Google generate a map on the spreadsheet to show where the capital cities were for each country.
Note that the googlelookup function does not always work. I had it look up the population of different countries, for Italy, the population came up as .01%, because the source it found was “number of professional hockey players as a percentage of total population.” But when it does work, it really is cool.
He also showed how, you can have Google documents automatically translate a document from or to 25 different languages. While the translation is not perfect, it’s a great way to communicate with parents who are not fluent in English.
Finally, the website shows an example of setting up a survey, and then having Google generate a summary of the results.
Amy Mayer on How Does Your Google Grow
Amy’s presentation was on how to get Google adoption from teachers, students, parents, and staff. She pointed out that Google lays out the steps for a district adoption at http://3.ly/YcWr which includes the technical integration plan, the outreach plan, professional development, and launching. She also showed screencasts of different Google techniques here: http://3.ly/fqEV, a link to Google’s page of application PD: http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home, and a link to a youtube channel of Google app instructions: http://www.youtube.com/googleapps#g/p.
There is a Google site containing searchable lesson plans: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/lesson_plans.html