Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thing 14 - Productivity Tools

1. Word has made it easy to save as a PDF file. Just do a "save as" and choose PDF. Portable Document Format may be necessary as an accessibility piece. Some students don't have Word or the same version of Word, so PDF allows them to open the file since anyone can download a PDF reader for free.

2. Zamzar was very easy to use. There are many output possibilitiesof different file types for Images, Documents, Music, Video, Ebooks and other types such as zip. The biggest issue this will solve is compatability. It won't matter the platform on which you may need to view a file, Zamzar can convert whatever file you need to a format that your platform can read. You could also convert a web page to a PDF or other document type for easier access or emailing. It was very useful today when a student emailed me a current events report as a .pages file and it wouldn't open. Zamzar converted it to a .doc file that I could open, and it was very easy to do.

3. I've created and shared multiple Google Calendars with my family so that any of us can add events and know instantly if one or all of us have an event. Our school uses the Moodle calendar for homework, and the course page of Moodle to highlight topics of study and coursework and study guides. Parents can sync the homework calendar with their Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar etc. To create another calendar would be redundant and perhaps be just another site parents would need to check in order to stay informed. They already need to check PowerSchool for grades and Moodle for course information, I don't think adding a Google Calendar would be helpful but redundant. That being said, because we share course information on Moodle with a sync-able homework calendar and grades on PowerSchool, there is no reason for parents to be uninformed about the education of their child. I think access to how a child is doing is better than ever, but it does take motivation and effort on the parent's part. As for communicating with colleagues, we us Google Docs often and effectively to get things done and communicate with each other (though we are a small enough staff that we often still communicate the old fashioned way: face to face!)

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