Thursday, October 20, 2011

Content Collaboration and Google Docs

Google Docs is an effective content collaboration tool that allows it users to simultaneously view and edit a document and save it in the "cloud" space of the Internet.  I can think of a number of ways Google Docs can be used among students, teachers, and staff/administrators, including having them use this tool whenever there is a group project that requires collaboration to write/type a document and/or report.  This may seems like a very basic concept, but it is not always thought of when groups are working together to complete a project; many groups still waste time trying to get together to write everything down on a piece of paper.  That's not to say the social interaction of physical collaboration is overrated, but when you're trying coordinate 4+ people's schedules to complete a project, etc., then maybe you should consider Google Docs.

Another idea for using Google Docs, which I will admit to "stealing" from Mrs. Michele Babbie, the LMS at the Sauquoit Valley High School, is while showing a class of students databases (for example) for a new class project, have your students think about and then add to a Google Docs some of the "key words or phrases" they will use to search for their projects on those databases.  While this is going on, have the Google Docs page up on the projector screen of everyone to see and then everyone will see simultaneously what their peers are thinking!  Mrs. Babbie tried this a couple of weeks ago and it was interesting to see some of the responses, although I think we decided that it would have worked a little more efficiently if the document had some more organization (like Team #1, write their thoughts under "Team #1", etc.), instead of students just typing all over the place.  There was also a problem with students erasing the words/phrases of some other students and then more students were just typing funny stuff like "Hello, everyone!", so establishing the ground rules are important as well.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thoughts on Websites for the Visually Impaired

This week we took a look at, which is an online digital library that provides books to people with print disabilities.  It is free to for individuals and organizations provided you can provide proof of your disability.  The organization seems to constantly be updating its books and materials (newspapers, etc.) and the website is pretty easy to use.

I also checked out, which I like, because it gives volunteers to the opportunity to create audio files of books, newspaper, etc. for the visually impaired, which gives it more of a personal touch other than the material being read by an text-to-audio machine.  People can then download those files online and listen to them; however, there is a charge for it, unlike the program.

Are there any other programs/website that you know of and/or would recommend?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Exciting News to Share

My apologies to everyone for my overall activity waning over the weekend, but I have some very exciting news to share ...


That's right!  Shawn, my boyfriend of 3 years, proposed to me on Saturday and naturally, I accepted :)

I have to admit that my pinkie finger is feeling a little naked right now, since I dropped it off at the jewelers to be re-sized; it was a little small as you can see from the picture, so I had been wearing it on my pinkie for the past 3 days :)