Some Cool Google Tools

Last week (11/18-20/2008) I attended the annual conference of MassCue in Sturbridge, MA.  Each session I attended was an incredible learning experience for me.  I connected with educators and presenters; I learned about new tools, websites, and groups; and I realized that I am not the techno-dinosaur that I thought I was.  I am certainly not a tekkie, and I will probably never know what an instructor in technology knows, but I am certainly increasing my knowledge at a rapid rate.  Even though I was out of my element at this conference (there were very few higher ed faculty present), everyone was pleasant, welcoming, and eager to share what she/he knew.

Where to start?  I’ll begin with Carol Larow‘s session on Google Earth. Carol believes that Google Earth is a “treasure chest of information from any age group.”  Her enthusiasm about the site abounds.  She illustrated how teachers are using the site in teaching science, social studies, and literature.  Although I have Google Earth sitting on my desktop, I have only used it to locate my residence or a possible vacation site.  Clearly, there’s lots more that can be done which can really make learning come alive and in 3D too!

Carol’s session about Google Tools focused on iGoogle, Google News, and Google Docs.  I have certainly heard these terms and seen them when I log onto Google to search for something, but I haven’t used the Docs or the iGoogle.  iGoogle seemed a lot like the netvibes site that I have working (slowly) to populate.  But now I think I will switch to iGoogle.  Carol demonstrated how to set up a start page with gadgets and tabs, and it seemed so easy that I promised myself that I will set up a site (although I have not done it yet).

Google Docs seems like a great way to do collaborative writing which looks a lot easier that working with a wiki because the word processing feature functions like MS Word.  I’m sure that I could tinker with these Google tools for months to come and still not know all of the unique features that they hold.  But I will do what I can to at least be able to use them in a rudimentary way so that I can pass on what I know to my students and then add more knowledge as I progress (or they progress which is probably what will happen).

Thanks Carol for your engaging and informative presentations and all of your helpful tips and tricks!


1 Response to “Some Cool Google Tools”

  1. 1 B Hoakensen December 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I also attended Carol Larow’s Google presentations at MassCUE. They were fantastic!!!!! This lady was such a dynamic presenter I sat through all of her Google presentations that day. Her room was packed each time – standing room only. Not one did she show us tools that I had no idea I could use but she sprinkled her presentation with integration ideas and a lot of how tos. What was good about this presenter is that she was a classroom teacher and she knows what teachers and students need. Best of all she knew her stuff. The pace was good. The information was fantastic and her energy blew me away. I’d like to thank her too. Hope MassCUE has her back again next year.

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November 2008

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