Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thing 3 - GoogleDocs

I've used GoogleDocs for a while. My staff puts working documents on GoogleDocs so that all of us can access it and make adjustments to it. We've collaborated to plan chapels, to plan how to show appreciation to support staff, and brainstorm how to publicize our school more effectively. I have a language arts colleague who has students hand in stories on GoogleDocs (all our students have Gmail and our school uses Google Aps for Educators) and she would add comments on the Doc for editing purposes, and then final copy comments before they received a grade. That is something I would like to try this year. I'm our yearbook adviser, so I share a GoogleDoc spreadsheet with my yearbook staff to track advertising sales and who is calling whom. See the examples below.

Thing 2 - Face of the Classroom

That was fun...and easy to use. Here's the link: http://ccmssocialstudies.weebly.com/index.html
Right now it has general information related to school. Much of it is what I have on my webpage on our school's website, but I see this site as being more versatile and easy to use. I look forward to adding content related to the actual classes I teach (7th grade Eastern Hemisphere studies, 8th grade U.S. History).

Thing 1 - Diigo

Here's the link to my Diigo site: http://www.diigo.com/user/bboyhaags . I love that you can search through other people's bookmarks. It's also great that you can search using multiple tags to narrow down your search. I'm still in the process of tagging the favorites I imported from my browser. I also enjoyed stealing some of Ron's favorites. At this point Diigo will not make me more productive because I spent so much time looking through other people's Diigo sites (some really cool ones - I looked through one, clicked a link that looked interesting, spent time on that site, then try another and it leads me somewhere else... 2 hours later - back to my Diigo) . Once I get it organized it will help greatly because it won't matter whether I place the bookmark on my computer at home, my laptop, or my desktop at school. And the ability to search by multiple tags will help me find the site I'm looking for much more quickly. I also love the ability to highlight and add post it notes to websites. That will come in handy for my own research, but also when I begin to use it with students, helping them locate the most important information.

Thing 1 - Shortcuts

I already knew the staple control shortcuts of A, C, V, X, Z, P, but I didn't know the triple click one (as seen in the image). That one will help when I need to quickly copy a paragraph to paste (especially from a website into a document). I also really like the paint format option. I never knew what that brush would do. That saves a lot of steps depending on how complicated the format you are painting is.
Having the shortcuts reference card might be nice at first, but for the shortcuts really to be shortcuts require that they become more second nature. So I focused on a couple that can instantly become part of my repertoire (triple click, paint format) because they were easy to remember. I also added Control-K to my control shortcut memory to add a hyperlinK. It always frustrates me to watch others use Word without using shortcuts because they could be more efficient. I probably frustrate more proficient Word users because there were more ways to be efficient that I didn't even know about. Here's to becoming even more efficient.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Blogging

  • What makes a good blog?


  • I think "good" might be in the mind of the blogger. If you are blogging about something you are passionate about, for you it is a good blog. Chances are there will be others who feel the same way. I think a good blog should have correct spelling and be straight forward. Don't mess it up with "bells and whistles" that don't enhance what you are trying to say.

  • How could a blogs enhance your classroom?


  • A blog could enhance my classroom by "knocking down the walls" and allowing students (and their teacher) be more self-reflective learners. Collective knowledge and encouragement could be shared and self-directed learning might be more likely. In a classroom setting, some students might be reluctant to share their thinking or opinion, but a blog might allow the reluctant speaker to open up. At the very least, I would have a peek into the mind of all of my students, not just the ones who were called on in class.

  • Are blogs an easier way for people to self-publish?

    Absolutely. It is free and available almost anywhere. It might not get a lot of readers and it would be hard to make money on it, but the main purpose of a blog is not to make money, but to share your ideas and experiences with a group of like-minded people (or relatives).
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    First Day

    I've created a blog on the first day of this 21 things course...mission accomplished. What I want to get out of this course: Learning new technologies that can become a useful tools for me and my students.