Sunday, 9 November 2008

Google Docs for Classroom Collaboration

The point about GDocs is that it is a versatile sharing and collaborating system.
Okay, it's editing facilities may not be as good as Word, but it is as good or better than what I am using here.
But it does need to be set up - either as a school based GApps site or the individual teacher using the open GApps.
Here is a slideshow showing one approach:

The end of the electronic whiteboard

The electronic whiteboard promises much but is a clunky and imperfect technology.
The main problem is that it relies on a digital projector for the image. The teacher/presenter gets in the way and worse, the room's light level has to be kept low so as to see the dim projector image.
LCD flat panels are a pretty good substitute for the digital projector, and now the multi-touch lcd panel is going to supercede the electronic whiteboard. Let it happen! And fast!
The CNN coverage using this technology was impressive. John King's fingers did the work and awed everybody. However, the credit must go to inventor Jeff Han who first demonstrated this to a very impressed audience at
Keep up to date in this area following the Multitouch blog.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Google mail with Google Apps

This has been a long standing question - when do we switch the mail system over to Google?
There are several problems, the main one is to do with mailing lists.
We use mailing lists to send mail to groups of people - staff, 7th grade, mathematics department, etc. Our system allows us to write rules, the most important one being "do not allow anyone from outside the primary domain to send a mail to the mailing list".
This prevents the reply to all fiasco from outside or the spammers from getting hold of a group of (or indeed all) people.
GMail in GApps cannot do this (Lauren from Google confirmed this although said that they might do this in the future).
So we will have to revert to a dual system....

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Inauguration of the Learning Resources Centre

Such a pleasing event. Finally inaugurating the Learning Resources Centre.
Many people had put in a great deal of work so as to have all the displays and indeed the books on the shelves on time and the place looked great.
As I said in my speech, a building alone does not provide the vision that we have. People do, but the building does provide the focus and facilities for a modern, forward looking school.
I quote a little from the inauguration speech I gave:
But what of the Learning Resources Centre? What is this building?
You will see three clip-art symbols on its logo, depicted on the programme - which gives some indication of function: a book, a computer screen with an i in the middle, and a group of people in front of an image of the World.

The book - because it is a library. We value reading, we value access to books, periodicals and magazines. We live increasingly in a technological world but know that our comfort and strength comes from the pleasure and functionality that books can give us.
The computer screen with an i because computers, the internet, digital technology and digital information are our access to knowledge, our ability to create new knowledge, our ability to communicate, our ability to collaborate.
Communication, cooperation, collaboration are the ideas behind the group of people and the World seen on the logo. Besides the technology, the LRC has seminar rooms, meeting rooms and recording rooms, enabling group work to be undertaken.
The Vision of the Academia Britanica Cuscatleca is to create responsible and outstanding citizens. Citizens of the school, of the community, of El Salvador, of the World. From this comes our Vision for the use of Information and Communication Technology in our school: Our students will be responsible digital citizens who will learn effectively and live productively in a digital world.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Google Docs Course

Did a week long Google docs course which finished today. It was delivered using Moodle so I wanted to see what it was like learning through that medium.
It was run by 21st Century Information Fluency and Dennis O'Connor and we had a cohort of 8.
It was very worth while. I did not learn much else about GDocs (except about using comments for class participation and collaborative posting) but I did get to know Moodle a little more.
The forum work was okay, although it seemed a little contrived.
It was certainly light-touch and you had to make what you needed to make of the course....