Googling for More

At PETE&C on Tuesday afternoon Jana Baxter, a STAR Discovery Educator from IU3, had a full house as she challenged the audience to move beyond the simple search functionality of Google and utilize it to maximize learning and teaching while transforming us into more productive and efficient users.

Here are some highlights of her session.  To find these tools and resources, go to “more” and “even more” on your Google Toolbar.

  1. Instead of a basic search, use a Wonder Wheel to categorize your search results into a simple mind map.
  2. Help your students build their literacy skills using Google Books.  There are lots of full books available for students to use!
  3. Use Google translate with ELL students and/or World Language students to practice word pronunciation. Not only can you translate text, you can also listen to the word pronunciation and read it phonetically!  For an added bonus, automatic translation is available with the Google Web Browser, Google Chrome.
  4. Working on a research paper or dissertation?  Use Google Scholar to search for relevant scholarly literature.  This tool also has an alert function.  With this function, you can create alerts and have relevant articles automatically emailed to you daily.  This would be perfect for compiling research.
  5. Use Google Calendar to maintain your schedule.  Microsoft Outlook users can set-up their Google Calendar to sync with their Microsoft Outlook calendar.  To set this up, click here.
    • Google Calendars are also embeddable.  Educators could add their daily lesson plans to this and share it with students and parents on the class wiki.  It would be a perfect way to keep students informed!
  6. Set up a Google Reader and follow educational blogs like the DEN Blog.  On many blogs, you can click the “RSS” button and automatically subscribe to it through your Google Reader feed.
  7. Use Google Docs with your colleagues and students.   Anyone with an active email address (Verizon, Comcast, yahoo, AOL, school district, etc.) can create a Google Docs account.  The only caveat is that you only have access to Google Docs when you do this; you cannot utilize the other Google tools.  When you sign up for a free GMAIL account, you automatically have access to all of the Google tools and resources.
    • Google Docs is a great tool for collaboration because it allows multiple people to view and edit a document at the same time.  Even those without Google Docs accounts can contribute anonymously if the privacy settings are changed and the URL is shared with them.
    • Here’s an idea for classroom integration: Have students gather their research using Google Docs.  With the revision history, you can see who has contributed what information.  It is a great way to do a quick check for understanding and identify any bumps in the process.  Write in a different color so the students can see your feedback and comments.  Copy/paste a rubric directly into the document so the student scan see how they were evaluated at the end of the process.
    • Students could also use Google Docs to make presentations similar to a PowerPoint.  The video function was recently added, and now students can insert videos from Discovery Education STREAMING into their slide show!
  8. Check out Google Labs for other interesting tools including: Google Squared, Fast flip, and Google Body (need Chrome to utilize this).

Once you have explored all of the great tools and resources Jana shared, personalize your iGoogle page with gadgets that will allow you to seamlessly access the tools in a daily basis!


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